By Sam Willie

The Washington Post has hosted a conversation with an expert on investor treaties to explain the significance of leaked documents concerning the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement. The TPP, which has the potential to be the largest free trade agreement in history, has come under severe criticism from both the left and right since Wikileaks released the documents. At the center of the controversy are two features of the ISDS system. First, the ISDS system would empower multinational corporations to sue countries in which they are invested in for violations of their property rights . Second, the ISDS system would allow companies and investors to challenge rules, regulations and court rulings of countries in which they are invested in before World Bank and United Nations tribunals. This would be the first time companies, rather than their host nations, have standing in multi-national trade agreements. With the left and right united in their disdain for the ISDS it will be interesting to see how the Obama administration will proceed with TPP negotiations.
By Derek Hunter

In October 2014, China launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) -- an Asia-focused, and less United States-dominated, version of the IMF, or World Bank. As one might imagine, the United States was skeptical of the AIIB and viewed it as an attempt to displace American economic influence in the region. But, as the Economist reports, the AIIB would help to quench the nearly inexhaustible demand for infrastructure investment in Asia. As more of the United States’ European and Asian allies opt to join the AIIB, it appears that it will become a financial force in Asia, with or without the United States.
By Sam Willie

Reuters reports on a potential banking law in Afghanistan that would create a new framework for Islamic banking in the country. Traditional banks are shunned by an estimated 90% of households in Afghanistan for violating Islamic law by earning interest on investments. To date there are no standalone Islamic banks in Afghanistan, only limited Islamic banking products, offered by a few lenders through aptly named Islamic windows. These Islamic windows are not widely accepted because customers have doubts over their religious permissibility. It is hoped that the new Islamic banking system with religious compliance will increase deposits and in turn boost financing in a country that desperately needs economic growth.
By Rick Mendenhall

Why should every law student study international law? The Guardian recently suggested that the increased threat of terrorism, piracy, and increased global interconnectedness makes international law more relevant to law students. For instance, international law increasingly regulates every-day items, like breakfast cereal. To those aspiring regulatory attorneys, international law might be the class for you. 

If you like or you think you might like international law please join the American Society for International Law as they host a one day workshop on current debates in international law. Panelists will tackle the evolving nature of the discipline in North America.
By Sam Willie

With €450 million of debt due to International Monetary Fund on April 9th, Greece has been forced to take drastic measure to round-up the cash needed to stay afloat. The Guardian reports that Greece’s government has postponed all payments for state supplies in an effort to stave-off default. It has also seized money from pension funds and EU subsidies destined for farmers. Greece’s former Finance Minister Stefanos Manos has told the Guardian the his country is “scraping the bottom of the barrel for everything they can find.” Adding insult to injury, Greece is simultaneously experiencing a sharp decline in tax revenues as investors are withdrawing their funds and sending them to perceived safer havens abroad.
By Derek Hunter

As Ukraine’s financial and security situation deteriorated, it became clear that it needed additional financial support, which it received through a $17.5 billion loan package from the IMF. However, the terms of the IMF’s package require Kiev to persuade private creditors to accept $15.3 billion in write-offs or deferred payments over four years. Nonetheless, in ongoing negotiations private creditors like Franklin Templeton have refused to take a loss on their Ukrainian bonds and only offered to extend the maturity of the bonds but not write-off any principal payments. As the New York Times reports, Ukraine’s finance minister launched the latest salvo in these negotiations when he warned in a series of interviews in London that private creditors should not “hold out” against a settlement.
By Craig Tarasoff

Over the past few months, the United States and Cuba have taken great strides to normalize their relationship. On December 17, 2014, U.S. President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced that they would be lifting many of the decades-old restrictions between the two countries. After 54 years, some of the hostility and separation between US and Cuba may be heading toward an end. At the very least, by easing some of the travel and commerce restrictions, the two nations can distance themselves from the rigid policies of the past half-century. 
By Craig Tarasoff

Unfortunately, Vietnam continues to struggle with its illegal wildlife smuggling industry. As one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, thousands of illegal hunters prowl the forests of Vietnam looking to cash in. The pangolin, which is almost extinct, is a prized capture, selling for $60 per pound. Unlike in other countries of the world, those caught trafficking wildlife in Vietnam often evade punishment. The founder of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, Nguyen Van Thain, has worked to intercept poached animals before they reach the black market. He has helped rescue 20 pangolins, in the past three months. Read more about his story at the New York Times.
By Craig Tarasoff

As Ethiopian Airlines continues its expansion, Africa is seeing an increase in trade not only within the continent, but also in the global economy. The lack of transportation options in Africa has caused a trade deficit far below that of other regions. However, this is about to change. Ethiopian Airlines is in discussions to set up national airlines in Nigeria, Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda. Find more details at the National Law Review’s website.
By Catherine Kent

Reuters reported on April 6, 2015 that Russia does not fear that the preliminary deal with Iran on Tehran’s nuclear program will lead to a new arms race. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the delay in the deal-making is the fault of the United States and Europe. The deal, reached –between Iran and the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia–involves curbing Tehran’s nuclear research for at least 10 years and slowly lifting the Western sanctions. Lavrov commented that lifting these sanctions will help Russia, as Iran can now pay in full for deals with Russia’s nuclear agency.
By Craig Tarasoff

The International Trade Commission launched an investigation into claims from Ericsson that the iPhone and iPad infringed on up to 41 of its technology patents. The disputes between these two companies go back to 2008 when a licensing agreement expired. A new agreement on the patents was never reached. Apple filed a complaint alleging Ericsson was demanding excessive royalties. According to Macrumors, if the ITC finds that Apple infringed on the patents, it could prevent the products from being sold in the US until the case is resolved.
By Catherine Kent

Reuters reported on April 6, 2015 that lawyer Gary Osen filed an amended complaint in federal district court in Brooklyn against six Western banks for conspiring with Iranian banks to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran. The plaintiffs, over 200 former U.S. soldiers and their families, claim to have been victims of Iran-sponsored attacks during the Iraq war. The six Western banks have allegedly masked wiring of $60 million worth in transactions with Iranian banks designated by the US to be terrorist organizations.
By Jieying Ding

The United States is in the negotiation with eleven other countries to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP), which, if successful, will become one of the biggest trade deals in history. However, a message from the Congress, reported by the Guardian, expressed strong disapproval of the exclusion of Congress in the negotiation process. Rep. Grijalva and Ellison, co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called for provisions protecting workers’ right to collectively  bargain.  The letter urged the U.S. to use the trade agreement to improve the bottom lines of all Americans, not just American corporations.
By Catherine Kent

On April 6, 2015, The National reported that due to a preliminary deal last week between the United States and Iran, oil prices have bounced back. The world benchmark North Sea Brent crude oil futures are trading up 2.7% from the close of the previous day, at $56.47.  While a deal was reached, it was not the final deal, and both parties also agree that this is just the first step down a long road. The plan is for the sanctions to be lifted slowly in congruence with Iran’s meeting certain milestones within the agreement. This bounce-back in oil prices might be short-lived as, Iran has 700,000 barrels per day of spare capacity that it has not been able to sell since the sanctions were put in place.
By Rick Mendenhall

Just last week, the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) upheld the conviction of former Serbian General Tolimir for genocide. The former general is expected to remain incarcerated for the rest of his life. Although the decision was delivered without much fanfare, not every recent decision by the ICTY has been free from intrigue. The New York Times covered a heated row among court judges along national lines. The spat resulted in a judge being disqualified from a case.

With national ties playing a role in international courts, the question becomes how should judges be selected to avoid international disagreements? Please join the American Society of International Law on April 24, 2015 as they answer that very question. The panel includes a former judge of the International Criminal tribunal for former Yugoslavia, and the executive director of the Center for Justice and International law. Try not to miss it!
By Jieying Ding

China has launched an aggressive campaign to internationalize the Yuan since 2008, and its initiatives have included setting up currency swap pacts with other countries and opening up parts of its capital markets. The road to becoming a big player in international trade hasn’t been smooth though, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The overall use of Yuan by global companies has dropped five percent over the past year. The drop is largely due to a weaker Euro because European companies generally prefer a weaker Euro to an expensive Yuan. Although outside the Asia-Pacific area there’s a slightly declining in terms of future usage intent, it still shows that Yuan is becoming part of the global economy.
By Monika Mehta*

In an increasingly disturbing global trend, governments are creating legal barriers for civil society to access resources, particularly foreign funding.  For example, recently enacted registration laws have designated non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving foreign funding as “foreign agents” or similar terms that undermine the organization’s perceived legitimacy or independence, others have limited the total amount of their funding which can come from foreign sources. In most cases from the way these laws have been used, these laws are violating citizens’ right to freedom of association.  The human rights community has been reactive in its response to government crackdowns on civil society, which has led to the ratification of such laws as Russia’s Foreign Agents Law and India’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.  Now that these laws are trending around the world, the question becomes, why have they not been more holistically challenged in court? 
By Derek Hunter

When a domestic corporation becomes insolvent – whether in the United States or any other developed country – a detailed set of laws spring into action. In the United States, domestic bankruptcy law supersedes state causes of action, and automatically stays creditor actions against the assets of the debtor. Then, a collaborative process is imposed on the parties in which every creditor will have voting rights, but ultimate decision-making rests with a neutral judge. Congress and the courts are continually honing the bankruptcy process, but the need for such a process has been evident for at least a century. 
By Jieying Ding

Bitcoin is in its nascent stage in Middle Eastern countries where most people are still trying to grasp the concept of Bitcoin, but some businessmen in the region have begun to accept Bitcoin as payment, reported by the Newsbtc. The importance and timing of the new trend is interesting because the U.S. dollar is being slowly nudged out as the standard currency for international trade. The Chinese yuan and the Russian ruble are two strong contenders. The U.S. dollar, in the eyes of Middle Eastern countries, represents aggression and destabilization to the region. Using bitcoin in petroleum trade sounds intriguing; yet the viability remains questionable.
By Stephen Levy

The U.S. Senate voted 100-0 on March 26th for a bill amendment to ensure sanctions could be applied to Iran should the country violate any upcoming agreement. The vote represented a rare moment of unanimity after weeks of divisive rhetoric on the talks with Iran. The amendment, attached to the Senate’s budget bill, was written by Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), and would set aside the money needed to impose sanctions if Iran failed to comply with the ongoing Joint Plan or a future permanent agreement with the P5+1. The amendment was non-binding, and the budget passed by the Senate serves as a guide rather than a requirement. However, the bill might indicate support for future Congressional action against Iran, should the P5+1 fail to reach an agreement with Iran, or Congress prove skeptical about the provisions designed to ensure Iran complies.
By Huiyu Yin

Human Rights Watch reported that in recent weeks, there has been an increase in arbitrary arrests and violence against journalists by Ansar Allah, the Zaidi Shia armed group known as the Houthis that now control the capital, Sanaa. Headquarters of three media outlets were crushed. A supporter and critic of the former government was killed near his home.

Joe Stork, the deputy Middle East and North Africa director, called all sides in Yemen to send a clear message to their forces to stop threats and attacks against journalists.
By Stephen Levy

The Treasury Department lifted sanctions on 45 entities related to Cuba on March 24thaccording to Reuters, but few of them were still functioning. The Treasury Department said that the adjustments to the Specially Designated Nationals List were not driven by recent moves by the Obama Administration to improve relations with Havana. Instead, it was merely to update the SDN List. Two of the people removed from the list had been executed in 1989 by the Cuban government, raising questions about how often the Treasury actually analyses the SDN List.  Additionally, the lifting of any sanctions, regardless of the fact that most of them are either dead people and sunk ships, will likely raise eyebrows among the Cuban population in the United States.
By Huiyu Yin

The updated “VotesCount” website published the voting records of United Nations Human Rights Council members, organized by their votes on situations in individual countries during 2014.

“Countries often hide behind their regional groups or the political dynamics at the Human Rights Council, but each has a role in the council's successes and failures,” said John Fisher, the Geneva director at Human Rights Watch. “Each council member should be held accountable for its votes and for its leadership, which our VotesCount website makes easily accessible.”

Journalists in Yemen need support and protection.
By Nestor Gounaris and Limin Zhang

Over twenty years ago, the groundwork for a wholly domestic intellectual property dispute started its long, slow brew. A branded herbal tea product achieved tremendous commercial success, generating significant good will in the design patent and trademark, which were each owned by separate parties. When the commercial relationship started to unravel, each party argued that their respective intellectual property had generated
more value than the other.

The dispute recently came to a head in December 2014 with a decision issued by the Guangdong High Court. However, the fight is not over yet, with the losing party filing an appeal. This case reflects the organic growth of intellectual property in the People’s Republic of China and the increasing domestic need for recognizing, defining and protecting intellectual property. Furthermore, the case also reminds contracting parties to a license agreement to anticipate and clearly articulate how to share the good will that may arise from the licensing of intellectual property.

By Courtney Cox
The Associated Press conducted an investigation that uncovered modern day slavery in Benjina, an Indonesian island. NPR reports that some of the laborers, many from Myanmar and Thailand, were coaxed into slavery by promises of a job. Others were kidnapped or coerced to work. Many of the enslaved individuals were told that they must pay a broker fee, for food, and shelter as they work twenty to twenty-two hour shifts fishing. This fabricated debt became impossible to repay.  The slaves are fed “a few bites of rice and curry” and are locked in cages to prevent escape. The Associated Press tracked the final destinations of the seafood caught by the forced laborers. Some of the seafood went to ports in Thailand; others sailed much closer to home. In the U.S., much of the seafood is found in common cat food brands and is sold to distributers that sell to Safeway, Wal-Mart, and Kroger.
By Huiyu Yin

Earlier this month, a documentary called Under the Dome garnered more than 100 million views in less than 48 hours (available on YouTube with English subtitles).  It was financed by Chai Jing, a former China Central Television journalist and put the long-debated issue of air pollution in China in the spotlight again.

The documentary is a combination of scientific lectures, descriptions of an investigation she conducted, and the personal story of Ms. Chai and her daughter. Considering the Chinese government’s strict censorship laws, many were surprised that this documentary was not blocked since it is somewhat critical of the government.
By Courtney Cox

The U.S. refused to discuss Israel’s human rights record during the annual U.N. Human Rights Council forum. Reuters reports that the debate focused on alleged abuses occurring in the Palestinian territories. The U.S. has not spoken on the issue in the forum since 2013. That same year, the U.S. and Israel entered into an agreement (essentially a gag clause) when Israel resumed its participation in the U.N. Human Rights Council. The Israeli Foreign Ministry justified the agreement because the debate “negatively singles out Israel.” The U.S. was not the only country that remained silent. Israel’s other allies, including France and Great Britain, also refused to participate in the debate.


By Courtney Cox

Chinese Human Rights Defenders allege that the government has begun to infiltrate “thought police” into universities to monitor instruction that promotes Western ideals like freedom of speech. To that end, despite the abolition of re-education through labor camps (camps designed to punish minor offenders for up to four years without a trial) allegations of security agents arresting and detaining government critics, academics, and journalists pervade human rights discourse. Aljazeera reports that detentions are occurring in “secret gulags and psychiatric facilities” and often involve torture. China has ratified the Convention Against Torture.  However, the Committee Against Torture has condemned the Chinese government for regularly violating the treaty. For example, the Chinese government has never comprehensively investigated the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, which involved an armed assault on peaceful pro-democracy protesters.
By Huiyu Yin

Every year in March, the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress (the NPC) opens in Beijing. It is the largest legislative body in the world, with about three thousand representatives from all over the country. During this meeting, the NPC passes laws, and approves the government budget and appointment of senior government officials. For the rest of the year, the NPC’s 175-member standing committee in Beijing is in charge of legislative issues.

The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference’s (the CPPCC) annual meeting is held simultaneously. This advising body with no legislative power is composed of independent representatives and members of political parties other than the Chinese Communist Party (the CCP). Its role is somewhat analogous to a top advisory legislature.
By Kristen E. McCannon

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement moved to deport General Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova of El Salvador last week. The deportation is fueled by allegations that General Casanova participated in human rights abuses in El Salvador in the 1980s in violation of jus cogens. General Casanova retired to Florida in 1989 and is a legal U.S. resident.
By Ena Cefo

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea recently found a “very clear pattern” of human rights abuses in Eritrea, concluding that “most Eritreans have no hope for their future.” Eritrean men and women face indefinite national service from the age of 17, frequent detentions, torture, forced labor and suppression of expression. Exemplifying the dire human right situation, the number of Eritrean asylum-seekers in Europe drastically increased in 2014 to a total of approximately 37,000 from 13,000 in 2013. The Eritrean government wants the focus on the positive healthcare improvements in the country, but the reality of mass (and increasing numbers of) Eritrean migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea in dangerous conditions remains a blatant sign of the difficult life under the repressive regime.
By Kristen E. McCannon

The United Nations announced on March 18 that the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime would move forward on a plan to fund an anti-drug trafficking program in Iran, despite objections from some human rights observers. The plan would provide millions of dollars to Iran’s counter-narcotics trafficking program, which pursues the death penalty for some convicted drug offenders.

Almost half of the 753 prisoners that were executed in Iran last year were executed for drug-related offenses. Drug executions in Iran are increasing. The rate of execution for drugs offenses has quadrupled over the previous three years, to an average of roughly five hundred executions per year.

Many Western human rights organizations, particularly those in Europe, have opposed the United Nations plan to support Iran’s anti-trafficking program. Maya Foa, an anti-death penalty campaigner for Reprieve, noted “A lion’s share of this funding is set to come from European governments, who…condemn the death penalty while funding drug raids where those caught are hanged from cranes in public.” A number of governments, including Britain and Denmark, have recognized the moral implications and have publically withdrawn their support for the plan. 
By Ena Cefo

In the recent October 2014 human rights atrocity in Sudan, the Sudanese army committed mass rapes of at least 221women in the Darfur town of Tabit. Human Rights Watch found that the Sudanese army carried out military operations of entering homes, arresting and beating residents, and raping women and young girls. The Sudanese government has routinely impeded human rights investigations in Darfur by not cooperating with the International Criminal Court (ICC), blocking UN investigators, journalists and humanitarian workers from entering and investigating, and pressuring the peacekeeping mission to withdraw from areas it deemed “stable.” In a hopeful move for Sudanese victims of governmental abuses, on March 9th, 2015, the ICC declared Sudan uncooperative and referred the matter to the UN Security Council to undertake all necessary measures. 
By Kristen E. McCannon

Pakistan lifted the moratorium on the death penalty on March 19.  Pakistan emphasized that capital punishment does not violate international law. The European Union previously issued a statement expressing concern that the death penalty in the Pakistani criminal justice system does not conform to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). However, a spokeswoman for the Pakistani Foreign Office rebutted the claims of the European Union, arguing that the death penalty does conform to the ICCPR.
By Stephen Levy

A subsidiary of Schlumberger reached a record-breaking settlement with the Department of Justice due to its violations of U.S. sanctions and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, reported The Wall Street Journal. The plea deal, released on March 24th, requires Schlumberger to pay $155.1 million dollars for violating the sanctions, a record fine for violating U.S. sanctions, as well as surrendering $77.6 million in profits. Schlumberger, the largest oil services company in the world, was accused by DOJ of exporting drilling equipment to Iran and Sudan, both oil-producing countries sanctioned by the United States. In particular, Schlumberger had relied on its non-U.S. registration to export goods to the sanctioned countries, but had American employees work on the exports. The settlement will potentially end a long investigation for the DOJ, who have pursued similar actions against Commerzbank, HSBC, Barclays, BNP Paribas, and Standard Chartered.
By Ena Cefo

Since the Russian occupation of Crimea began in February 2014, the U.N.’s monitoring mission and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe identified numerous human rights violations: abductions, unlawful detentions, and forced disappearances. Over the past year, human rights on the peninsula have deteriorated further and Human Rights Watch documented extensive intimidation and harassment of occupation criticizers, Crimean Tatars, activists and journalists. Crimean residents were forced to take up Russian citizenship; minorities or others who refused to become Russian citizens lost the right to continue residing on the peninsula, the right to free medical care, the right to register property and the right to be admitted to school or work. Acknowledging the continuing demise of minority rights during the past year, on March 16th, 2015, the U.S. Department of State called on Russia to end the brutalities and announced its intentions to continue the U.S.-imposed sanctions until Russia withdraws from the occupation.

The Georgetown Journal of International Law presents “World Cops without World Courts: The Role of the United States in Shaping Public International Law” this Friday, April 10.  Check out the agenda below—we have panels running all day! We hope to see you there.

By Nathaniel DeLucia

A recent seminar, which included both technical and legal experts as attendees, hopes to prompt China into adopting laws designed to protect trade secrets.  Although there has been discussion in China for over twenty years, the legislature has never passed any substantial trade secret legislation.  Currently, China has no law protecting trade secrets, leaving a substantial amount of intellectual property rights exposed.

China’s lack of trade secret protection has huge implications for international businesses, who conduct a significant amount of their business within China’s jurisdiction.  Should any of their trade secrets become known in China, those companies would have a very hard time protecting that information.

Full the full story, check out Bloomberg’s article, located here.
By Nathaniel DeLucia

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a major UN agency which focuses on international IP law.  However, after the implementation of the TRIPS (trade related aspects of intellectual property rights) more than twenty years ago, which made the World Trade Organization (WTO) the main international IP body, many have questioned WIPO’s future.  Today, WIPO’s main function, and its main source of income, is to help handle PCT applications.  PCT applications consist of standardized forms, and are the main means through which patent seekers file international applications in multiple foreign countries.

The organization has experienced several scandals over the past few years, however, and this recent meeting is looking at ways to improve the management and leadership at WIPO in order to both reduce future mistakes and increase the organizations role in the international community.

For the complete story, see IP-Watch’s article, located here.
By Jenny Park

Earlier this month, the U.S. imposed sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials suspected, by the U.S., of committing human rights abuses in an executive order. President Obama explained in the order that these human rights abuses pose an “extraordinary threat” to U.S. national security. Venezuela and its regional allies, including Cuba, criticized the executive order as Venezuela never had, has, or will have any plans to attack the U.S., let alone “hurt anyone.” Nicaragua and Ecuador accused the U.S. of hypocrisy, viewing the U.S. as the true threat to global security. 
By Nathaniel DeLucia

Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic recently decided to create a centralized patent office, the Visegrad Patent Institute (VPI), which would allow patent seekers to file a single application in order to gain protection in all four countries.  Western Europe has been enjoying success with a similar centralized patent office, the  European Patent Office (EPO), for years.

The VPI is representative of the larger trend toward greater centralization and harmonization of the world’s patent laws, and promises to provide many benefits to potential applicants and central Europe.  These benefits include increased number of international applications, reduced cost, and ease of filing in a centralized location.

For the complete story, check out IP-Watch’s article located here.
By Jenny Park

The EU’s foreign policy chief will prepare an action plan to increase media freedom, which is of particular concern to the EU as its counter-arguments to Russian propaganda are often regarded to be unconvincing. Russia is increasing its propaganda regarding the EU, thus undermining the importance of a legitimate government and free speech. The general view is that each member state should carry out the action plan, but on a coordinated basis. This action plan is a long-term blueprint, and will supplement the upcoming EU discussion as to whether and when to extend sanctions against Russia.
By Rick Mendenhall

Fasten your seatbelts, fellow international law enthusiasts! Your very own Georgetown Journal of International Law is hosting a symposium next Friday April 10 on the Gewirz 12th Floor. The theme of the panel discussion will be World Cops Without World Courts, but topics will also include: the foreign affairs power and modern Supreme Court jurisprudence, practitioners before international institutions, and alternate venues for international law. A reception will follow closing remarks from 4:45 until 5:30.

To the avid SCOTUSblog follower, the foreign affairs power is no stranger. Just last November SCOTUS heard arguments in Zivotofsky v. Kerry. While the case dealt with a relatively tame statute that regulated the Secretary of State’s conduct, the foreign affairs power may have larger significance in the coming months due to the multilateral Iranian treaty the United States is negotiating as we speak. If issues like these interest you, be sure to join us next Friday!


By Rick Mendenhall

Two years ago, the EU passed a resolution to harmonize the conflict-of-law rules governing inheritance across the European Union. The hope was to simplify the conflict-of-law procedure so that each jurisdiction knew which nation’s rules applied without jeopardizing the substantive law. In addition, the EU re-forged the rules of evidence governing inheritance to further standardize this area of law. This August, that resolution comes into effect.

To learn about the intricacies and the effects of this resolution, please join American University’s Washington College of Law on March 25th when they host a panel on EU regulation 650/2012. Speakers hail from France, and should provide an instructive discussion.
By Craig Tarasoff

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to be played in Qatar, but conditions underlying the necessary construction have been problematic to say the least. Migrant workers from Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh are being paid low sums to perform incredibly dangerous work. They are not even able to go home without their employers permission. According to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), when the project is finished, an estimated 4,000 workers will have died the extreme working conditions. The ITUC has implored the British subcontractor responsible for parts of the construction that it is not enough to simply abide by the employee safety standards of Qatar's laws. Contractors have received over £200 billion in construction contracts in Qatar, and 790,000 petitioners have called upon these companies and the Qatari government to give basic rights to these workers. Read more about this situation at Independent.