Sunday, 28 February 2010

YJIL Online Symposium: Glennon’s “The Blank-Prose Crime of Aggression” and Blum’s “The Laws of War and the ‘Lesser Evil’”

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:58 PDT

This coming Monday and Tuesday, Opinio Juris will be hosting its fourth online symposium in partnership with the Yale Journal of International Law. Each day, we will be hosting a series of posts revolving around Articles published in YJIL’s most recent Vol. 34-2, which is available for download here.

On Monday, Michael J. Glennon of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy will be leading a discussion around his timely Article The Blank-Prose Crime of Aggression. In his Article, Glennon addresses the draft definition of the crime of aggression that was released in early 2009 and is set to be voted upon by the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) this coming May. This crime has remained undefined since being included in the ICC’s underlying Rome Statute, for what Glennon maintains are good reasons. He argues that the crime of aggression is subject to too much disagreement among strong and weak states to reach the level of specificity necessary for imposing individual criminal liability.

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Red tent campaigners seek Guinness World Record

Filed under: Human Rights,Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:04 PDT

Housing activists experimented with a novel protest strategy Saturday: they attempted to set a Guinness World Record while raising awareness of national housing issues.

Supporters of the Red Tent Campaign gathered in downtown Vancouver to wrap 1,700 metres of red banners around the block surrounding the Canada Pavilion on West Georgia and Beatty…

The protesters hope to increase support for Bill C-304, which will be reviewed by Parliament in the spring. The bill would establish a constitutional right to housing in Canada, while providing the foundation for a national housing strategy with funding commitments and timelines.

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Children Inspiring Peace

Filed under: Art of Peacework,children and youth — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:52 PDT

Children Inspiring Peace (ChIP) is a character education project by students in Grades K-6 at Leslie Park Public School [Nepean, Ontario]. The message of ChIP is that we can come together as a community and get along when we learn about one another and listen to each other’s story. ChIP’s goal is to gather stories from children and youth around the world. Already, ChIP has been shared with students in Israel and in Palestine. We invite classes across Canada to participate in our project and add your story to the ChIP album.

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Fallacious Argument of the Month: the fallacy of the fallacy of the ad hominem

Filed under: Dispute resolution and negotiation — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:35 PDT

In my ongoing one-woman effort to contribute to the improvement of public discourse, each month I discuss an example of a Fallacious Argument. In December I chose a particular favorite of mine, the ad hominem.

This month I revisit it. Why? Because accusing someone of committing a fallacy of the argumentum ad hominem can itself be a fallacy.

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On the Value of Quantitative Analysis of Conflict

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:34 PDT

Yesterday, Andrew Exum—a person who admits his own ignorance of the current state-of-the-art in political science literature—presented his “manifesto” on the quantitative analysis of conflict. While Exum’s bonafides in counterinsurgency and military strategy go without saying, given that he knows almost nothing about quantitative analysis I found this manifest rather disingenuous. Furthermore, since he has referred to me as a quantitative “hired assassin,” I felt an additional duty to respond…

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Barred U.S. peace activist seeks entry to Canada

Filed under: Nonviolence,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:34 PDT

A former U.S. army colonel who has been barred from Canada for her peace activism will make another attempt to enter the country on Monday.

Ann Wright will attempt to cross the border at Windsor and if successful will attend a speaking engagement at the University of Toronto’s International Student Centre on Tuesday, organizers of the event said.

An outspoken critic of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Wright was blocked from entering the country on three prior attempts in 2007.

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Historic Reconciliation Between Rwanda and France Offers More than Hope

Filed under: Rwanda — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 12:02 PDT

A new chapter in Euro-African relations was opened today [26 February 2010] as French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited Rwanda in an effort to mend severely strained ties; and by all accounts the diplomatic envoy was successful.

During Rwanda’s 1994 genocide of Tutsis, France backed the Hutu Habyarimana regime which carried the genocide out. Then, in 2006, a French anti-terror judged issued warrants for nine associates of current President Paul Kagame, alleging that they helped spark the genocide. This visit by Sarkozy aimed to mend wounds and offer more than hope, perhaps building on Kagame’s acceptance of the World Technology Award for Policy last year.

“For us there is no doubt that this is reconciliation,” said Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, according to AFP. “That said, there are still some very tough issues to discuss. I think President Sarkozy is sincere. For us that is the main thing.” Not quite.

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From Rebel Disunity to Segmented Peace in Sudan

Filed under: Africa files — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 11:59 PDT

If you follow Sudan or American diplomacy you’ve heard about Khartoum’s deal with the Darfur rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) signed in Doha. Wow, it sounds terrific, that peace is upon the region. And yet fighting between Khartoum and other Darfur rebel groups like the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) persists even while those talks continue.

How does this bode for the future of diplomacy in Africa?

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The Year of the Drone: An Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2010

Filed under: International Law: War,South Asia — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 11:55 PDT

This research was last updated on February 25, 2010. For a full analysis of the repercussions and results of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, please click here for “The Year of the Drone,” by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann, February 24, 2010.

The research on these pages… draws only on accounts from reliable media organizations with deep reporting capabilities in Pakistan, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal, accounts by major news services and networks—the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, CNN, and the BBC—and reports in the leading English-language newspapers in Pakistan—the Daily Times, Dawn, and the News—as well as those from Geo TV, the largest independent Pakistani television network.

Our study shows that the 114 reported drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, including 18 in 2010, from 2004 to the present have killed approximately between 834 and 1,216 individuals, of whom around 549 to 849 were described as militants in reliable press accounts, about two-thirds of the total on average. Thus, the true civilian fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 32 percent.

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Olympics can’t mask country’s human rights record on indigenous peoples

Filed under: Human Rights,Indigenous Peoples — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 11:54 PDT

The opening ceremonies at the Vancouver Winter Olympiad were flush with aboriginal motifs: hundreds of costumed indigenous dancers, giant illuminated Salish house poles, and the broad smiles of representatives from the “Four Host First Nations.”

It was a perfectly choreographed display of Canada’s multicultural grace for an international audience. Ever sensitive about their reputation as a land of the fair minded, Canada’s Olympic planners have gone to lengths to showcase the nation’s respect for aboriginals. They made an Inuit design the official logo. They ran the torch-relay through scores of reservations. They bought the support and participation of local First Nations with a few million in bonds, business ventures and gleaming buildings. An absolute bargain, if this aboriginal gilding can blind Canadians and the world to the country’s secret shame: the true state of its indigenous peoples.

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The Torture Lawyers

Filed under: Human Rights,International Law: War — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 11:54 PDT

Is this really the state of ethics in the American legal profession? Government lawyers who abused their offices to give the president license to get away with torture did nothing that merits a review by the bar?

A five-year inquiry by the Justice Department’s ethics watchdogs recommended a disciplinary review for the two lawyers who produced the infamous torture memos for former President George W. Bush, but they were overruled by a more senior Justice Department official.

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