Foreign & International Blog
The Library of Congress compiled a resource guide to finding translations of the laws of Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, and Russia. There are also two international guides on International Organizations and International Courts.
The Library of Congress prepared the guide for the American Society of International Law (ASIL) 106th Annual Meeting Pre-Conference: "Conveying Meaning: Legal Interpretation, Translation, and Publishing." The Yale Law Library collects the ASIL Proceedings both in print and online.
The World Bank announced that it will implement a new Open Access policy for its research projects and related publications and products, effective July 1, 2012. As the first phase of this policy, a new Open Knowledge Repository was launched and a set of Creative Commons copyright licenses was adopted.
The Open Knowledge Repository currently contains works from 2009-2012 (more than 2,100 books and papers), including the World Development Report, country studies, analytical reports, and other flagship publications. The repository also contains journal articles from 2007-2010 from the two World Bank journals, World Bank Research Observer and World Bank Economic Review. Datasets associated with the research projects will be made available starting 2013.
On April 10, 2012 the BBC reported that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has backed the extradition of Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad, and two other terror suspects from the UK to the US. The case of one suspect is facing further deliberation because of mental health issues. The court approved extradition after determining that US maximum security prisons meet human rights qualifications.
Assuming extradition takes place, most of the convicted terrorists in this case would most likely "be held in solitary confinement at ADX Florence, a Federal Supermax jail in Colorado," known as the Alcatraz of the Rockies. "Solitary confinement is a regular way of life in supermax regimes, with prisoners locked up for at least 23 hours each day."
Abu Hamza (Associated Press)
Abu Hamza is "wanted in the US on 11 charges related to taking 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998, promoting violent jihad in Afghanistan in 2001 and conspiring to set up a jihad training camp in Oregon."
Although an appeal in the Grand Chamber is still possible for the next three months, it is highly unlikely. After this time, extradition can take place. Babar Ahmad, who was held for a record of eight years before put on trial, insists on fighting extradition to the US because his crimes were committed in the UK.
Babar Ahmad (2003 mugshot)
According to a BBC Broadcast replayed on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" on April 9, 2012, Ahmad claims that he has never been shown the evidence supposedly implicating him or questioned about the allegations held against him. "US prosecutors accuse Ahmad of leading a terror suspect cell from his South London home, channeling funds to jihadist groups and creating one of the first and more influential of the Islamist extremist websites." Because the site originated in the UK, Ahmad argued that extradition to the US is unnecessary.
“The US claims jurisdiction because the British-based site used an American service provider,” making this a cross-border terror case that allows for speedy extradition thanks to a treaty signed between the US and the UK just days after 9/11.
Babar Ahmad was indicted in the District of Connecticut because one of the servers for the website was located in the state. Access the District of Connecticut Grand Jury indictment and the warrant/complaint for Ahmad’s to appear before a magistrate judge in the District of Connecticut, here in New Haven.
The following is an excerpt from the case:
For both indictments, the material support is alleged to have been provided through a series of websites, one of whose servers was based in Connecticut. The charge of conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure persons or damage property in a foreign country is based on two allegations: first, that the websites exhorted Muslims to travel to Chechnya and Afghanistan to defend those places; and second, that classified US Navy plans relating to a US naval battle group operating in the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf had been sent to the website. The plans are alleged to have discussed the battle group’s vulnerability to terrorist attack.
“Pursuant to Article IV of the Extradition Treaty Between the Government of the United States and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Government of the United States hereby assures the Government of the United Kingdom that the United States will neither seek the death penalty against, nor will the death penalty be carried out, against Babar Ahmad upon his extradition to the United States.
The Government of the United States further assures the Government of the United Kingdom that upon extradition to the United States, Babar Ahmad will be prosecuted before a Federal Court in accordance with the full panoply of rights and protections that would otherwise be provided to a defendant facing similar charges.
Pursuant to his extradition, Babar Ahmad will not be prosecuted before a military commission, as specified in the President’s Military Order of November 13, 2001; nor will he be criminally prosecuted in any tribunal or court other than a United States Federal Court; nor will he be treated or designated as an enemy combatant...”
In a decision given on 17 May 2005, the Senior District Judge ruled that the extradition could proceed and that, inter alia, the first applicant’s extradition would not be incompatible with his rights under the Convention. The Senior District Judge found that, on the basis of the Diplomatic Note, there was no risk that the death penalty would be imposed, that the applicant would be designated as an enemy combatant, or subjected to extraordinary rendition. The Senior District Judge found the application of special administrative measures to be the greatest ground for concern but concluded that, having regard to the safeguards accompanying such measures, there would be no breach of the applicant’s Convention rights.
On 15 November 2005, the Secretary of State (Mr. Charles Clarke) ordered the extradition.
At the material time, the applicable bilateral treaty on extradition was the 1972 UK – USA Extradition Treaty (now superseded by a 2003 treaty). Article IV of the 1972 treaty provided that extradition could be refused unless the requesting Party gave assurances satisfactory to the requested Party that the death penalty would not be carried out.
Accordingly, the Court finds that these applicants have not demonstrated that there would be a real risk of treatment reaching the threshold of Article 3 as a result of their sentences if they were extradited to the United States. The Court therefore finds no violation of Article 3 in their cases.
Access the judgment.
The French official legal portal Legifrance opened a new chapter on April 6 featuring mulitple translations of French legal texts.
French Legislative Assembly
Available translations to French legal texts include English, Italian, Arabic, German, Spanish, and Chinese. Legifrance has also released a list of French legal texts or websites translated by institutional bodies into 30 foreign languages.
Lavender fields in French countryside
Additionally, these resources may be accessed from the France section of the Country-by-Country Guide to Foreign Law Research.
Iconic Eiffel Tower
The law library and the University library provide a wide array of resources which can assist with your research on constitutions of foreign countries.
Two major subscription databases are HeinOnline’s World Constitutions Illustrated and Oceana’s Constitutions of the Countries of the World Online. Both resources consist of primary materials, texts of constitutions as well as useful secondary materials such as commentaries and bibliographies. They also consists of print components owned by the law library which are particularly useful for researching constitutional history:
- Constitutions of the countries of the world – The print looseleaf consists of quality English translations and scholarly commentaries relating to national constitutions of the world. While the online version includes most contents of the print set, the law library has archived looseleaf updates since its inception in 1971. They can be recallled from the Library Shelving Facility.
- Peaslee’s Constitutions of Nations (available online in HeinOnline’s World Constituions Illustrated): The law library has all four editions of the original multivolume sets: 1950 (1st ed.), 1956 (2d ed), 1974 (rev. 3rd ed.) and 1976 (4th ed.) and its reprints. Each country entry consists of a summary of the constitutional development of the country, English translation of the texts of the constitutions and an annotated bibliography.
- Other noteworthy sources:
- The four-volume Constitutiones Africae consists of French and English texts of constitutions of African states. All country entries are made up of five parts: Basic Data, Political and Constitutional Evolution, Analysis of the Constitution, Text of the Constitution and Bibliography.
- Foreign Law Guide – The online research guide provides snapshots of legal systems of the world but under the subject section “Constitution and Political Legislation” in each country entry, one can also find series of constitutional amendments and repealed provisions
- Texts of constitutions are generally published in official gazettes of respective countries. Here are portals for locating official government gazettes:
- For other pint sources, search in Morris and Orbisby subject headings:
- “Constitutions—Country/Region” or “Country/Region—Constitution” for texts of constitutions
- “Constitutional law—Country/Region” for commentaries
- “Constitutional History—Country/Region” for secondary materials on constitutional history
Last but not least, here are selective open-source websites:
- University of Richmond: Constitutions Finder
- ICL International Constitutional Law Project
- National Constitutions
- Constitutions: Treaties and Declarations
- Worldwide Constitutions
- Rise of Modern Constitutionalism, 1776-1849
- Universität Trier: Constitutions (Welt)
Some years ago, when I was teaching Research Methods in International Law Professor Reisman strongly suggested that we should have a session on interview technique. Unfortunately, this did not happen as it was outside my education and expertise.
Now, Justice Antonio Cassese, who recently died of cancer in October, 2011, has published a book aptly using this method to interview five distinguished international jurists and lawyers. Justice Cassese’s wide ranging experience has allowed him access to these renowned individuals. Professor Cassese was not only a Professor of International Law at the University of Florence (retired 2008), but he served as judge (1993-2000) and President (1993-1997) of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Chairman of Inquiry into Crimes in Darfur, Independent Expert appointed by the UN Secretary-General to review the efficiency of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and most recently (2009-October, 2011)Judge and President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. He has authored numerous books, which are held by the Yale Law Library.
By employing the questionnaire which he has included in the volume, he interviewed Renè-Jean Dupuy of France , Eduardo Jiménez de Aréchaga of Uruguay, Sir Robert Jennings of Great Britain, and Louis Henkin , and Oscar Schachter of the United States between 1993 and 1995 . He explored their education and early practice, their understanding of international law, especially as it relates to positivism, their relationships with other international legal jurists, and their understanding of the international community, as well as asking them some personal questions. Of special note to Yale readers are the occasional references to Professor Myres McDougal and the New Haven School of International Law in the interviews.
In addition to the conclusion, Justice Cassese includes an index of names, as well as a general index.
Five Masters of International Law: Conversations with R-J Dupuy, E Jiménez de Aréchaga, R. Jennings, and L. Henkin, O. Schachter, by Antonio Cassese, Oxford: Hart, 2011.
Daniel L. Wade
A series of decisions and awards have been released in recent months dealing with the astronomical judgment against Chevron in Ecuador. According to the Second Circuit, “The story of the conflict between Chevron and residents of Lago Agrio region of the Ecuadorian Amazon must be among the most extensively told in the history of the American federal judiciary.”
There are plenty of places to research the factual, legal and procedural issues surrounding the pollution controversy aside from the traditional resources of caselaw and legal periodicals. First is the film Crude, the documentary by Joe Berlinger. Controversy surrounding the film itself has played out in the courtroom, with the Second Circuit having ruled that Mr. Berlinger was required to turn over unused footage to Chevron that may have been useful in its case in Ecuador.
Earlier this week, The Guardian reported that over 200 ancient forests and woodlands in the UK are being threatened by development. According to the Guardian, ancient woodlands “are areas that have been wooded continuously since 1600, often forming the UK's richest land habitat, which is home to a wide array of wildlife including more than 230 rare or threatened species.” Read the complete article here.
The Guardian has also reported that the wild boar is making a strong – but potentially problematic –comeback to the English countryside after the animal's reintroduction twenty years ago. See the article here.
If you're interested in reading more about environmental laws and regulation in Great Britian, Europe, or the EU, see these books:
- Richard Macrory, Regulation, enforcement and governance in environmental law (2010).
- Philip Lowe and Stephen Ward (eds.), British environmental policy and Europe : politics and policy in transition (1994).
- Elli Louka, Conflicting integration: the environmental law of the European Union (2004).
- Pål Wennerås, The enforcement of EC environmental law (2007).
- Eberhard Bohne, The quest for environmental regulatory integration in the European Union: integrated pollution prevention and control, environmental impact assessment and major accident prevention (2006).
Loooking for more resources on Foreign and International Law, see these Research Guides:
And to stay current about domestic, environmental laws and regulations, Greenwire is a great resource.
Today, March 8th, is the annual International Women's Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day.
The first national Women's Day was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.
Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday quickly folded in the cultures of many countries, primarily Eastern European, Russian, and those of the former Soviet Block. In many regions, the day has lost its political flavor and become simply an occasion for expression of appreciation for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother's Day and St. Valentine's Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out, examined, and recogized.
The day has been seen as a time for asserting women's political and social rights, for reviewing the progress that women have made, or as a day for celebration. In keeping with its early radical traditions, Lena Lewis, U S. socialist, declared in 1910 that it was not a time for celebrating anything, but rather a day for anticipating all the struggles to come when "we may eventually and forever stamp out the last vestige of male egotism and his desire to dominate over women."
This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic, and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents many decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace, and development.
Here are the recent library acquisitions relating to the subject:
- Women's regional rights. Asia
- Man's dominion : religion and the eclipse of women's rights in world politics
Relevant subject headings include:
- sex discrimination against women
- women's rights
- women's rights - interntaional cooperation
- women in development
The 2012 Bernstein Human Rights Symposium to be held on March 29-30, 2012, will focus on the recent political changes in the Middle East and North Africa. The four panels of the symposium will explore the development of human rights in the regions from multiple perspectives: from the onset of Arab Spring to toppling of regimes, and the revolutionary role played by social media in facilitating social and political changes.
The law library collection includes a wide range of print and electronic resources which can further assist scholarly research in these areas. Selections of recent print acquisitions are as follows:
Contemporary works on human rights in the regions:
- The lingering conflict : Israel, the Arabs, and the Middle East, 1948-2011 / Itamar Rabinovich (2011)
- The Arab awakening : America and the transformation of the Middle East/ Kenneth M. Pollack ... [et al.] (2011)
- Human rights in the Middle East : frameworks, goals, and strategies / edited by Mahmood Monshipouri (2011)
On the interplay between Islam, legal systems and human rights:
- Understanding Islamic law : Sharīʻa / Raj Bhala.(2011)
- Islam and human rights : selected essays of Abdullahi An-Na'im / Abdullahi An-Na'im ; edited by Mashood A. Baderin (2010)
- Sharia incorporated : a comparative overview of the legal systems of twelve Muslim countries in past and present / editor, Jan Michiel Otto (2010)
On related issues concerning individual countries of the regions:
- Between feminism and Islam : human rights and Sharia Law in Morocco / Zakia Salime (2011)
- Competing fundamentalisms and Egyptian women's family rights : international law and the reform of Shari'a-derived legislation / by Jasmine Moussa (2011)
- Gender and Islam in Africa : rights, sexuality, and law / edited by Margot Badran (2011)
- Chaos in Yemen : societal collapse and the new authoritarianism / Isa Blumi (2011)
Looking forward, on constitutionalism in the regions:
- Constitutionalism in Islamic countries : between upheaval and continuity / edited by Rainer Grote and Tilmann J. Röder (2012)
- Revolution and constitutionalism in the Ottoman Empire and Iran / Nader Sohrabi (2011)
- Fostering constitutionalism in Africa / Charles Fombad and Christina Murray, editors (2010)
On the role of social media as an agent of political change:
- Media matters in the cultural contradictions of the "information society" : towards a human rights-based governance / Divina Frau-Meigs (2011)
- Human rights and a changing media landscape / contributors, Thomas Hammarberg ... [et al.] (2011)
- You are not a gadget : a manifesto / Jaron Lanier (2010)
- Here comes everybody : the power of organizing without organizations / Clay Shirky (2008)
The Library of Congress has a comprehensive bibliography on recently acquired works on Islamic law published in English.