Archive for category Blog Review

Only Legal Scholars Could Have A Debate About Legal Blogging

I have just finished reading Jean d’Aspremont’s latest post over at EJIL: Talk! on the value of legal blogging and, feeling particularly conflicted on the matter, I cannot resist the temptation to put in my two cents.

Jean d’Aspremont’s post, titled ‘In Defense of the Hazardous Tool of Legal Blogging’, is a very well-written piece on the limits and the value of legal blogging, with an emphasis on the latter. It would appear that there is an ongoing debate in legal scholar circles about the purpose, effect, and merit of legal blogging, in particular over at the Yale Law Journal website (see this post in particular).

Dr. d’Aspremont makes very interesting points, and juggles certain ideas and purposes of legal blogging that I have toyed with since I created The International Jurist now more than six months ago, although admittedly in a far more eloquent and thought-out manner than I ever did.

I particularly appreciate certain arguments he puts forward, such as the usefulness of blogs to share and experiment with certain ideas at an earlier stage than possible with peer-reviewed publications, to inform each other of developments in each blogger’s area of expertise, and all in all, create a place for informal discussion and debate among ourselves and whomever wishes to join us that is not limited to the coffee breaks of a conference on international law at the Peace Palace or elsewhere (I sometimes get the impression that lawyers and academics come to such conferences more for the coffee break to meet colleagues than for the conferences themselves).

And yet, on the other hand, I have a deep feeling of irritation that certain legal scholars take themselves so seriously and yet are so insecure to feel that legal blogging threatens their realm of scholarship that they need to debate and criticize the value of legal blogging. (I am obviously not talking about Dr. d’Aspremont here.) There is no rational reason why this debate is having place, and I have a feeling that only legal scholars could entertain such a thing. As Jean d’Aspremont very rightly quotes and supports another participant in this surprising debate, Ann Althouse, let the law journal be the law journal and the blog be the blog. End of story.

Speaking for myself, I have no pretension of any sorts writing this blog. When I created it, I was a modest Public International Law LLM student in Leicester a little too enthusiastic about the issues and challenges of the subject-matter of my studies. Today, I am a humble legal intern working in the International Criminal Justice system. I write this blog because I encounter in my readings and work thought-provoking items and events that I enjoy sharing and discussing. I enjoy writing. I test different styles. I think about different themes. I experiment with ideas – yes, even half-baked ones. The International Jurist has no aspiration to compete with expert blogs such as EJIL: Talk! or Opinio Juris or any other similar websites, let alone legal journals, and I’m sure most other legal bloggers feel the same way.

So why are we having this debate?

And honestly, is it a problem if I put out a half-baked idea once in a while? Because after all, when that happens, I trust fellow legal blogger, regular commenter, and altogether far more knowledgeable jurist Dov Jacobs will be there to call me out on it. Right, Dov?

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The Wasat & My Guest Post On The African Union and Terrorism

I have been meaning to make the promotion of a recently created blog on North Africa and the Middle East, al-Wasat, edited by my good Twitter friends Andrew Lebovich (@tweetsintheME) and Aaron Zelin (@azelin) for a while, and I can think of no better occasion (although, at the risk of appearing slightly self-interested, I must admit) then now that they have published my first guest post there on the African Union’s recent efforts to put together a comprehensive counterterrorism regional treaty and what it could mean for the international law of terrorism.

Regardless at the exercise of shameless self-promotion I just indulged in, I would like to say a few words about the blog al-Wasat, regardless of the fact that they have been crazy enough (I mean, kind enough) to publish one of my posts. al-Wasat, which means ‘The Center’ in Arabic, is a blog recently created by two friends and experts in the field of counterterrorism and North Africa (Andrew) and radical Islam (Aaron). They have managed to gather other experts (PhD students and others) to contribute to their blog which covers the news coming out of these regions of the world, offering pertinent and refreshing analysis of what happens there.

This kind of blog is interesting to follow, even for lawyers. We have to remind ourselves – well, I sometimes do anyway (French law students are the worse on that matter) – that we do not operate in a vacuum, and reading these blogs written by experts give us the material necessary to reflect on what we are trying to achieve and how to apply our knowledge to reality. Because, after all, that is what law is really about.

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A First Blog Review

These days, I’m a little overwhelmed with my work at the CICC and my LLM dissertation that is due in two weeks. So instead of giving you a full-fledged entry tonight, I thought of doing a little blog review. I’ve been reading a lot of interesting stuff lately, and for lack of reflecting on an entire issue, I thought I’d share and comment a little on a few posts out there in the blogosphere.

First of all, Alex Lobov’s post at Zeitgeist Politics is an interesting read and sums-up well Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s ordeal in Iran, sentenced to death by stoning, and culminates with a plea against the death penalty in the United States and in the world. Here is an excerpt:

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is a young Iranian woman who was sentenced to death by stoning in Iran, a sentence that sparked an international outcry over  a practice that many see as archaic and barbaric. Since the initial sentence was handed down, the twists and turns in events since then have moved rapidly.

The initial sentence was handed down by a court in Tabriz in May 2006, she was charged with committing adultery (despite the alleged incident occurring after the death of her husband) and was sentenced to 99 lashes, which was carried out. Then, in September she was convicted by another court, the details of which are still rather shaky, of adultery and of being an accomplice in the murder of her husband. But wait, is she being put to death for adultery? Or for murder? Or for both?

I’ve been thinking of using this story to write a post about international law and the death penalty, but I have not had time as of yet. Stay tuned: maybe I’ll find time this weekend.

Secondly, a very interesting story by Colum Lynch in his Foreign Policy Turtle Bay blog about the Tea Party in the United States and their rather “hostile” (something of an understatement) attitude towards the United Nations. Going far beyond the obvious, Colum Lynch tracks back the roots of the American heartland’s hostility to the UN and multilateralism in general, ever since the days of Founding Father George Washington. Read the rest of this entry »

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