In a talk entitled “Institutional Structure of the U.S.-Mexico Relations and Key Bilateral Issues: Mexico’s Legal Case Against U.S. Gun Manufacturers,” Ambassador Javier Díaz de León began by outlining ways that Mexico and the United States – often along with their neighbor to the north, Canada – discuss and seek solutions to common problems.
One concern, of course, is security; in Mexico’s case, the southward flow of firearms and money that enable drug cartels to operate. After providing statistics on the high proportion of weapons confiscated in Mexico that have been manufactured or distributed in the United States, Ambassador Díaz turned to what he rightly called the “landmark” step that his government took on August 4, 2021, when it filed Estados Unidos Mexicanos v. Smith & Wesson Brands et al. in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. That civil tort suit alleges that Smith & Wesson and 10 other firearms manufacturers or distributors unlawfully permitted U.S. weapons to enter Mexico, where firearms are, for the most part, prohibited. According to Ambassador Díaz, a federal judge heard argument on defendants’ motion to dismiss last spring, but has not yet ruled on that motion, and discovery is under way.
Following his presentation, Georgia Law Regents’ Professor Diane Marie Amann, one of our Center’s Faculty Co-Directors, moderated questions from the audience, composed mostly of students.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments last week in an immigration case involving the Convention against Torture – a case prepared by a team of students in the Appellate Litigation Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.
Georgia Law 3L Jason N. Sigalos argued on behalf of client Graciela Arellano Herrera in Case No. 19-72750, Arellano Herrera v. Barr. On account of the covid-19 pandemic, Sigalos’ argument was delivered virtually (video here), to a panel composed of Ninth Circuit Judges Margaret M. McKeown and Lawrence James Christopher VanDyke, along with U.S. District Judge Virginia Mary Kendall, sitting by designation. (Sigalos, who spoke from Georgia Law’s Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom, is pictured above at bottom right.)
Together they represent appellant Arellano Herrera, the mother of seven children and grandmother of another seven, all U.S.-born citizens. The client herself has lived in this country since her parents brought her to the United States three days after her birth in Mexico.
Her appeal seeks reversal of a Board of Immigration Appeals order that she be removed from the United States. Relying on non-refoulement (non-return) obligations the United States took on when it ratified the 1984 Convention Against Torture, she argues that prior forced involvement with a drug cartel makes it unsafe for her to relocate anywhere in Mexico. She contends that if she were she to be sent back, it is more likely than not that cartel members would torture her, with the acquiescence of one or more public officials.
Díaz de León is Mexico’s Consul General in Atlanta. A career diplomat, his prior postings have included San Diego, New York, Washington, and Raleigh.
This event is presented as part of the Dean Rusk International Law Center’s Consular Series, which brings to campus perspectives on international trade, development, policy, and cooperation during the 2018-2019 academic year.
The Consular Series is co-sponsored by the International Law Society, Georgia Law’s chapter of the International Law Students Association.
We at the Dean Rusk International Law Center are delighted this week to host a distinguished Visiting Scholar: University of Georgia School of Law alumnus, Dr. Javier Dondé Matute.
He earned his LL.M. degree from Georgia Law in 1998, and is now a Professor of International Criminal Law at Instituto Nacionale de Ciencias Penales (National Institute of Criminal Sciences – INACIPE, for short) in Mexico City, Mexico.
He’ll be resident at our Center all week, pursuing his sabbatical research on the post-World War II trials at Nuremberg. Additionally, he’ll present a work in progress, entitled “Criminal Responsibility as a Founding Principle of International Criminal Law,” this Wednesday, March 15, as part of our International Law Colloquium Series led by Georgia Law Professor Harlan G. Cohen.
Professor Dondé has written and published widely on issues such as international criminal law, comparative criminal law, human rights, and extradition; his books include Derecho penal internacional (Oxford University Press 2008). He also has served as an adviser to Mexico’s Supreme Court and to various other judicial, prosecutorial, law enforcement, and human rights agencies. He is a member of the editorial boards of two leading Latin American law reviews, the Revista Iberoamericana de Derechos Humanos and the Anuario Mexicano de Derecho Internacional.
In addition to his Georgia Law LL.M., Professor Dondé holds a Ph.D. in international and comparative criminal law from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and completed his undergraduate studies at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).