Go On! Workshop on “Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflict – Beyond the ILC”

Call for Engaged Listeners to attend an international workshop on “Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflict – Beyond the ILC” in Hamburg, 7 – 8 March 2019.

The workshop is organized by the Institute for International Affairs of the University of Hamburg School of Law and Faculty of Law of Lund University in cooperation with the Environmental Peacebuilding Association’s Law Interest Group.

The purpose of this workshop is to review the work of the International Law Commission on the topic of Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts on its future program of work and assess and address issues that have not been dealt with yet. The International Law Commission has so far adopted 18 draft principles which address questions of environmental protection in the three phases of armed conflict: before, during and after.

The workshop will be attended by the current Special Rapporteur of the topic Marja Lehto as well as the former Special Rapporteur Marie Jacobsson and other members of the commission and international experts.

The workshop is open to a limited number of engaged listeners – apart from the speakers. If you are interested in participating in the audience (not as a speaker) and thus contribute to our discussion, please send an application with a short motivation letter explaining your interest in the conference (maximum 400 words) along with a short bio (150 words) to Anne Dienelt (anne.dienelt@uni-hamburg.de). The deadline for applications is 30 January 2019. Successful applicants will be notified in the beginning of February 2019. Participation is free of charge, but at your own expense. You can find the workshop draft program and more information below.

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Go on! Human Rights in Theory & Practice in Leipzig

The University of Leipzig’s Faculty of Law announces its First International Summer School on Human Rights Protection under the ECHR. The program will run from September 1-7, 2019.

Interested applicants may register by email to law-summerschool@uni-leipzig.de. Early bird registration fees will apply until March 31, 2019. See below for more information.

An Interview with Diane Marie Amann by ATLAS

Diane Marie Amann is the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law. A dual Irish-US citizen, she has served since 2012 as International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s Special Adviser on Children in & affected by Armed Conflict, and helped research and draft the ICC OTP Policy on Children. Having founded the IntLawGrrls blog in 2007, Amann served for the next five years as its Editor-in-Chief, and has contributed posts to many other US and international law blogs. 

Her academic publications–in English, French, and Italian–examine issues related to transnational and international criminal justice, human and child rights, constitutional law, and collective/national/human security governance. Keenly interested in women as creators and shapers of international law, she is writing a book on the roles that a multinational cohort of women played–as lawyers and legal aides, journalists and artists, interpreters and translators–during the post-World War II trials at Nuremberg. To that end, in the first half of 2018 Amann was a Research Visitor/Visiting Fellow at Oxford University Faculty of Law’s Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Mansfield College, at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European & Regulatory Procedural Law, and at the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research. Her professional affiliations include service as a Counsellor and past Vice President of the American Society of International Law, as well as membership in the European Society of International Law.

Follow her @DianeMarieAmann.

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What drew you to working in international law? And what were your first steps?

Two things have always been true about me. First, I am fierce when confronted with what appear to be abuses of power. This extends well beyond my sympathy with victims (with whom I do sympathize, of course), and encompasses a broader core motivation, which is triggered by and focuses on structures of power that work to marginalize and mistreat specific individuals and communities. (This, in large part, was why I was a criminal defence attorney early in my career.) The question I asked myself was, “If I want to work to combat injustice, what profession would best allow me to do so?” My first choice was in journalism. I was a newspaper reporter, covering people engaged in civil rights work and environmental rights advocacy. I liked the work but felt like too much of a bystander. When I thought about shifting my career, I realised that the people whom I found most interesting all had law degrees. Law, I felt, would put me on the frontlines of fighting injustice. I would have a different and potentially stronger set of tools at my disposal. It was that realisation that propelled me into law school. 

Second, I like solving problems. If there’s something I don’t know or something that confuses or intrigues me, I like to follow the rabbit down the hole and see where it takes me. I didn’t study international law in law school. There was only one course and I considered taking it. I already had some German and French by that point, and had studied abroad in Austria, so I was drawn towards the international sphere. However my course advisor scoffed that international law wasn’t ‘real’ law, and I wouldn’t use it in practice. He seemed very authoritative. So I accepted his advice and didn’t take the course. But he was incredibly wrong, because I found myself needing to know international law immediately after law school. I clerked for three years, two years at the US District Court and one at the US Supreme Court. Some of our cases challenged the juvenile death penalty, as well as use of the death penalty on developmentally challenged defendants. The briefs cited international law, including treaties to which the United States was a party. I had to learn very quickly, and largely autonomously. Early on, therefore, I saw the utility of international law as a tool to confront abuses of power.

I became an assistant federal public defender in San Francisco, a US border city. Between 30% and 40% of my cases had a transnational element: my client was not from the United States, or the conduct alleged involved crossing of borders, or the federal government was investigating part of case overseas or producing evidence that it had gathered abroad. To litigate those cases properly, I had to increase my understanding of international law on the fly.

When I made the pivot from practice to academia, it was transnational questions–for example, “Does the US Constitution’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure follow a defendant when the search is done outside the US?”–that most interested me. I started teaching in the same year as the first decision in ICTY’s Tadić came down. Soon after that, Pinochet came to the fore. Those two cases became a springboard for my thinking, for my teaching and scholarship. It seemed to me that international law was developing, finding its way in a new era–and in so doing, providing grist for academic thought and writing.

What have been the high points of your career thus far?

If there’s such a thing as a continuing high point: I love teaching. It is my longest career, after having been a journalist, political campaign worker, and practising lawyer. Initially, I was surprised by how much joy and purpose I get out of working with people at the beginning of their careers, helping them realize their potential and aspirations. The US law school system is a great incubator, as it’s a three-year curriculum, with a relatively small group of students entering each year. I meet people as they begin their time at law school, often with only a vague notion of what they might want to do and what it means to be a lawyer. I watch them leave three years later, having witnessed this incredible learning curve, and proud to have contributed to it.

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In passing: Judge Patricia Wald (1928-2019), IntLawGrrls contributor and inspiration

Over the last decade it was my honor on occasion to invite Judge Pat Wald to join in a project, to contribute a writing or to speak at an event. Invariably she accepted with the same wry caveat: “Yes, if I am still here by then.” Happily she always was still “here,” enlivening every project to which she contributed. But now she is not. News media reported that Patricia Anne McGowan Wald died in her Washington home yesterday, having succumbed at age 90 to pancreatic cancer.

Many obituaries will focus on her prodigious and inspiring career in the United States: her journey, from a working-class upbringing in a single-parent family, to practice as a lawyer on child rights and in the Department of Justice, to service, in the District of Columbia Circuit, as the 1st woman Chief Judge of a U.S. Court of Appeals, and quite recently, as an Obama appointee to the Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

We international lawyers also will recall Wald’s fierce service as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. There, she took part in noted judgments, among them a genocide conviction in Prosecutor v. Krstić and a “turning point” appellate ruling in Prosecutor v. Kupreškić.

Even after retiring from the ICTY, Judge Wald championed international criminal justice, placing particular emphasis on women. It was my privilege to welcome her interventions on these subjects, and at times to aid publication of her contributions (Pat’s computer savvy was, it must be said, rudimentary).

Just last year, the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law was honored to publish Pat’s essay “Strategies to Promote Women’s Participation in Shaping International Law and Policy in an Era of Anti-Globalism,” based on remarks she’d given here at my home institution, the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center. They were a highlight of our 10th birthday conference for IntLawGrrls blog, not least because Pat referred to us assembled scholars and practitioners as “you ‘young people’ in the room.” She traced the beginnings of international criminal justice, then said:

“I do not suggest that the process of integrating women as upfront participants in international courts, let alone the inclusion of the crimes most commonly committed against women as worthy subjects of international criminal law jurisprudence, has been completed. More accurately, these developments had just gotten off to a reasonable start at the moment that global politics seem to have begun to shift toward a so-called anti-globalist populism. My central point, therefore, is that we must strategize in the face of a desired, yet elusive future.”

Her strategies: ally to strengthen international law, international legal education, and global-mindedness in many sectors, including the arts; “protec[t] the venues in which women have had significant impact,” including the International Criminal Court and related forums; and work globally to raise women’s awareness “about educational opportunities, rights to land ownership and profits, how to start a small business, how to farm efficiently, how to participate in voting or run for office, and about legal rights to divorce or separation.”

Issues like these were prominent in a special issue of the International Criminal Law Review, “Women and International Criminal Law,” dedicated to the Honorable Patricia M. Wald, for which I served as a co-editor along with Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Beth Van Schaack, and Kathleen A. Doty. Wald herself wrote on “Women on International Courts: Some Lessons Learned” for vol. 11 no. 3 (2011). And as shown in that issue’s table of contents, additional contributors included many whom Judge Wald’s life and work had touched: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Harvard Law Dean Martha Minow, along with Kelly Askin, Karima Bennoune, Doris Buss, Naomi Cahn, Margaret deGuzman, Katharine Gelber, Laurie Green, Nienke Grossman, Rachel Harris, Dina Francesca Haynes, Jennifer Leaning, David Luban, Rama Mani, Jenny Martinez, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Katie O’Byrne, Lucy Reed, Leila Nadya Sadat, and David Tolbert. The issue stemmed from a 2010 roundtable (pictured below) that then-Executive Director Elizabeth “Betsy” Andersen hosted at the American Society of International Law, an organization Judge Wald long supported.

Pat’s support for IntLawGrrls predated this event. In 2009, she had contributed a trilogy of essays to the blog: 1st, “What do women want from international criminal justice? To help shape the law”; 2d, “What do women want? Tribunals’ due attention to the needs of women & children”; and 3d, “What do women want? International law that matters in their day-to-day lives”.

In keeping with the blog’s practice at that time, Pat dedicated her IntLawGrrls posts to a transnational foremother, “a wonderful German/Jewish woman, Gisela Konopka,” a University of Minnesota social work professor with whom Pat had collaborated in a lawsuit against the Texas Youth Authority. In her lifespan of 93 years, Konopka, Wald wrote, “fought in prewar Germany for children’s rights, was put in a concentration camp, managed to get out and work her way through occupied Europe to America, where she became the champion of children, especially girls, who got in trouble with the law.” Explaining how Konopka had influenced her, Judge Wald penned a sentence that today does service as her own epitaph:

“She inspired me as to what an older woman can do right up to the point of departure to help those behind.”

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Write On! EIU Doctoral Forum on Int’l Law

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The Law Department of the European University Institute (EUI) is delighted to share this call for papers for an intensive one-day Doctoral Forum on international law, taking place in Florence, Italy on June 10, 2019, and sponsored by the European Society of International Law (ESIL).

The Forum allows PhD candidates to present their research and receive feedback from peers and EUI faculty members. The Forum welcomes submissions on any sub-field of international law, especially human rights, international economic law, and international dispute settlement. Researchers performing multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary analysis are in particular encouraged to apply.

To apply, please send an abstract of maximum 600 words and your CV to euidoctoralforum@gmail.com by February 15, 2019.

Born into Statelessness: Unintended Consequences of the End of Birthright Citizenship

In October 2018, in response to growing Central and South American migrant population fleeing violence and approaching the United States, President Trump made a drastic statement that he would seek to end jus soli, or birthright citizenship, through an Executive Order. Lindsey Graham, a Republican Senator from South Carolina, lauded the President’s statement, and indicated that he intended to introduce legislation to the same effect. If successful, this new citizenship law could have a devastating impact on children born in the United States to Central and South American individuals, leaving thousands of them stateless.

As a matter of international law, states are free to determine who is or is not a national of their country without interference from the international community or international law, except in the case of stateless persons. The 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness are the two primary international instruments guiding the rights of individuals and the actions of states with regard to nationality. Many international instruments affirm the right an individual has to nationality. Specifically, the 1954 Convention defines a stateless person as someone “who is not considered as a national by any State under operation of its law.” The 1961 Convention requires that states grant nationality to those born on their territory who otherwise would be stateless, and prohibits states from withdrawing nationality from an individual when that individual would then be rendered stateless. Accordingly, under international law, the United States government is free to end, or further restrict, birthright citizenship but only in accordance with the provisions in the 1961 Convention.

Issues arise in practice when the domestic laws of nations conflict, leaving individuals in situations of de facto statelessness. According to the Pew Research Center, about 250,000 children were born in the United States to non-citizen immigrant parents in 2014, with many born to parents who lacked legal status. Because of the domestic laws of the countries from which these immigrants originate, children born to immigrant parents in the United States may lack citizenship of their state of origin. They would therefore be rendered stateless if the United States were to curtail birthright citizenship, in contravention of the 1961 Convention.

For example, the law of Brazil stipulates that individuals born abroad to a Brazilian parent are eligible to acquire citizenship after becoming an adult only if their parent registered their birth with the Brazilian authorities or if they returned to live in Brazil as a child. If the individual is not registered or does not reside in Brazil before the age of majority, he or she is not entitled to Brazilian citizenship, regardless of the nationality of his or her parents. As of 2014, there were approximately 336,000 Brazilian immigrants in the United States.

There are several issues with these requirements of affirmative action on the part of the parents or child. First, to register a child with the authorities of their own birth country, parents must first demonstrate their own citizenship, which may prove problematic. Parents could do this by showing a passport, birth certificate, or identity card. However, these individuals may have fled their homes quickly without such documents, and would therefore risk being unable to register their children even if they desired to do so.

Second, even if the child of Brazilian parents wished to acquire Brazilian citizenship, the decision is entirely in the hands of his or her parents. His or her parents must be the ones to register the child’s birth with the relevant authorities; no other adult is eligible to do this and the child himself cannot make himself known to authorities later in order to qualify for citizenship. If this is not done, the child must return to reside Brazil before the age of majority. For most children, this is a decision entirely out of their control.

Therefore, should the U.S. end birthright citizenship, children born in the U.S. of Brazilian parents would be at risk of de facto statelessness by no fault of their own. This example is meant to be illustrative, though not exhaustive. Many groups of immigrants in the United States would be forced into similarly precarious positions. The domestic laws of many Central and South American countries require parents located out of the country to register their children’s births with the national authorities in order for them to be eligible for citizenship. There are many reasons why parents fleeing violence, persecution, and economic crises may not wish to register the birth of their children. Whatever the reason, innocent children without a choice would suffer as a result of this change of law. Without careful consideration of the potential impact of this change to US birthright law, many children residing in the United States would be rendered de facto stateless and vulnerable as a result.