Archive for September, 2010
I just wanted to link to a fascinating debate I watched yesterday on counter-terrorism policy: namely, a debate around the motion “treat terrorists as enemy combatants, not criminals.” The participants were former President George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen and former CIA Director Michael Hayden (in favor of the motion), and David Frakt, an Army lawyer who represented Guantanamo detainees, and Stephen Jones, a criminal lawyer who defended Timothy McVeigh (against the motion).
The debate was organized by an organization called Intelligence Squared US that organizes “Oxford-style” debates. I had never heard of them before, but apparently they are broadcasted on NPR and Bloomberg TV, and they have also podcasts available on iTunes. Something to definitely watch out for in the future.
Also, there’s a vote on the motion by the public at the end of the debate, whether for or against. It’s interesting because they poll people on the motion before the debate, and after the debate, so it’s interesting to see how they progress.
But enough talk – well, by me anyway – here’s the video:
I just wanted to post a quick heads-up to all our readers in The Hague right now. This coming Wednesday, there’s an interesting event in the Supranational Criminal Law Lectures series, organized by the Grotius Center for International Legal Studies, the T.M. C. Asser Institute and my current employer, the Coalition for the ICC. Here is the presentation of the lecture:
Lecture on the occassion of the publication of the book:
Command Responsibility and Its Applicability to Civilian Superiors by Maria NybondasTitle of the lecture: The Purpose of Command Responsibility under International Criminal Law?Speaker: Maria NybondasDiscussant: Judge KourulaThe lecture is followed by a reception.Registration not needed, seats available on a first come first serve basis
The Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, the T.M.C. Asser Institute and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court invite you to the Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series.The Supranational Criminal Law Lecture Series (SCL Lecture Series), aim to contribute to information-sharing and public discourse on contemporary legal issues, while benefiting from the input of distinguished practitioners and experts in the field. The lecture series are particulary interesting for all professionals working with, or interested, in international legal activities in The Hague. These include lawyers, journalists, diplomats, NGO representatives, LL.M-students, and academics. However, everyone who is interested is welcome to attend.
The event is located at the T.M. C. Asser Institute, at R.J. Schimmelpennincklan 20 in The Hague. It starts at 19H30. I’ll be there to attend, so if anyone is going as well, I look forward to meeting you there.
For the past 10 days or so, there’s been a flutter of activity regarding France and the Islamic terrorist threat – in particular Al-Qaeda au Maghreb Islamique (AQMI). The French intelligence and counterterrorism services have been particularly wary, even nervous, regarding risks of a terrorist strike on French soil. According to Reuters, French authorities are currently investigating and attempting to prevent a supposed kamikaze attack on the transportation system by a suspected female terrorist. Jewish synagogues and other religious sites have been under increased surveillance by security forces, especially during Yom Kippour. Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, perceived as a “moderate” by both his supporters and his detractors, is under police protection.
Last week, the Eiffel Tower and the metro station Saint-Michel, the same that was the object of a terrorist attack in July 1995 killing 8 and wounding over a hundred, were evacuated following an anonymous tip.
All this following an interview of Bernard Squarcini, the head of the French counterterrorist agency – the DCRI (Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur) – in the Journal du Dimanche on the eve of 11 September, claiming that the terrorist threat against France has never been greater. Jean-Louis Bruguière, one of the most famous and mediatized former anti-terrorist magistrates, stated on France 24 that the level of threat was similar to that of 1995, with the difference that today AQMI exists, which was not the case 15 years ago. Needless to say, AQMI’s recent apparition in Algeria and expanding in the entire Sahel is not a positive factor for France’s security.
Talk about nervousness. And yet, on the Home Front, the French are taking all of this with a surprisingly British phlegm.
However, to make things worse, seven employees of the French company specialized in nuclear energy Areva and construction firm Vinci have been kidnapped from their homes in Niger last Wednesday, five of them being French, the two others being from Madagascar and Togo. AQMI is suspected of being behind the attack. The French government has reacted swiftly and firmly to the kidnappings, immediately arranging to deploy 80 troops in Niger along with several aircrafts, and set up a temporary base there to search and rescue the hostages. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s no secret that the majority of sexual abuse claims regarding the Catholic Church have failed to be investigated by either legal authorities or the Church itself, but the Pope’s recent trip to the UK has spurned a debate of, shall we say, almighty proportions.
In a letter to the Catholics of Ireland dated 19 March 2010, Pope Benedict XVI wrote:
“To priests and religious who have abused children: You betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals.”
What “tribunal” is he talking about? Can the Pope himself be charged with anything? What about the entire Holy See, or a representative, as suggested by Patrick Wall, an American lawyer and former Benedictine monk? Read the rest of this entry »
Just a quick update regarding the Niqab debate in France: last week, the French Senate voted overwhelmingly and as expected the law banning the wearing of full-face veils that had already been voted by the lower house of the French Parliament, l’Assemblée Nationale, in July.
The law still has to face the scrutiny of the French Conseil Constitutionnel (France’s Constitutional “Court”), and eventually, challenges before the European Court of Human Rights. The outcome of each of these tests is uncertain, as there are arguably good arguments on both sides of the debate. Read the rest of this entry »
I apologize for not having posted anything in what appears to be way too long, even though from my perspective it feels as if it was just yesterday. I have been busy here and there, with work, The Hague, and finishing my LLM dissertation. Now that most of that is behind me, I can get back to this blog, and boy, there’s been plenty to talk about these past few weeks: the UN Mapping Report regarding crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the 1990s, a delicate political situation in Sudan, and some worrisome news from the front lines of the global struggle against terrorism. And let’s not forget the Pope’s visit to the UK, and the temptation by a certain number of people to put him on trial for crimes against humanity.
I will write on some, if not all, of these issues in the following days (again, forgive me for my lateness in reacting to these events), but I want to start off with a post on a NGO project called Darfurian Voices that I came across a few weeks ago. Read the rest of this entry »
An interesting piece of legislation was signed by the New York governor entitled the Dignity for All Students Act. The basic terms of the legislation is to protect students from bullying and harassment. The reason I mention this legislation however is because it is the first New York piece of legislation that directly refers to gender identity, and expression.
I just want to welcome this important piece of legislation that thanks to the tireless efforts of state lawmakers, and Governor Patterson makes students more safe. Due to this legislation students can now be protected legally for having to put up with relentless bullying for a characteristics they can not help. Finally, New York has recognised these consequences that leave young individuals emotionally and/or physically damaged, with no option but taking their own lives. So I welcome this important piece of legislation.
However I would ask the question why has it took so long ? How long have individuals worried about expressing who they are in a so-called democracy. How many people can not express their true self? And how many lives have been taken under pressure of relentless abuse?
So thank you New York, but next time don’t take so long.