April 4, 2013 |
Alarmed by reports that Saudi Arabia will paralyze a man as punishment for allegedly stabbing a friend who ended up paralyzed, Britain urged the kingdom Thursday to abandon the “grotesque punishment.” The Saudi Gazette reported last week that Ali Khawahir was sentenced to be paralyzed if he could not pay 1 million riyals - roughly $270,000 - to the friend he allegedly stabbed a decade ago. Khawahir was reportedly 14 years old when he...
January 24, 2013 |
A United Nations expert has launched an investigation of drone attacks and targeted killings, scrutinizing a deeply controversial tool in the United States' battle against Al Qaeda. “The plain fact is that this technology is here to stay,” U.N. special rapporteur Ben Emmerson announced Thursday in London, “and its use … is a reality with which the world must contend.” Drones are not the only way to carry out targeted killings, but the relative ease with which they are used and their devastating effects have spotlighted the legal unease around them, the U.N. expert said.
October 16, 2012 |
A federal appeals court in Washington overturned the conviction of Salim Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden, and ruled military tribunals were not authorized to try prisoners suspected of providing material support to terrorist groups before 2006. In a 3-0 ruling, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that material support for terrorism was not a crime under international law when Hamdan worked for Al Qaeda. “If the government wanted to charge Hamdan with aiding and abetting terrorism or some other war crime that was sufficiently rooted in the international law of war at the time of Hamdan's conduct, it should have done so,” wrote Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
October 12, 2012
Re "Alien torts in America's courts," Editorial, Oct. 8 Your editorial on whether the Alien Torts Statute applies to human rights abuses occurring outside the United States makes the mistake of assuming that the issue of piracy, which clearly and unmistakably is subject to universal jurisdiction, is necessarily a "logical extension" of that tried-and-true policy. But piracy has been around for ages, and this kind of lawlessness has for eons been considered the enemy of mankind.
October 11, 2012
Re "She's on the front lines in drone battle," Oct. 9 Professor Mary Ellen O'Connell and political activist Imran Khan contend that the U.S. strategy of covert targeted drone strikes against militants outside Afghanistan is illegal under international law. The U.S. finds itself at war against a stateless band of Islamic militants who kill innocent civilians with explosives and launch attacks against Western embassies and civilian targets outside...
October 9, 2012 |
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O'Connell was in her office last month when Imran Khan, a former cricket star who could be Pakistan's next prime minister, phoned to ask for help. Pakistanis are furious about the CIA's covert campaign of drone missile strikes, Khan told her. Was she aware that the CIA often doesn't know who it is killing? "Yes, of all Americans, I think I have a pretty good handle on the facts," she replied, recounting the call. O'Connell, a fierce critic of America's drone attacks outside a war zone, insists the targeted killings are illegal under international law. "We wouldn't accept or want a world in which Russia or China or Iran is claiming authority to kill alleged enemies of the state based on secret evidence of the executive branch alone," O'Connell said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 14, 2012 |
A routine Los Angeles City Hall meeting Wednesday showed how volatile Middle East politics can erupt in unexpected places and around the most seemingly mundane of issues - awarding a shuttle bus contract. The five-year, $160-million agreement involved operating part of Los Angeles' popular DASH shuttle bus service. A coalition of groups showed up at a rally and City Council transportation committee session to loudly denounce the recommended contractor, Veolia Transportation, a subsidiary of an international firm they say is responsible for discrimination against Palestinians.
March 27, 2012 |
President Obama on Monday pressed Chinese President Hu Jintao to do more to persuade North Korea to scuttle plans for a rocket launch, asking the North Korean regime's closest ally to push Pyongyang's new leaders toward internationally acceptable behavior, but getting no immediate commitment, according to senior U.S. officials. China has expressed concerns about the impending launch, which the U.S. and its allies call a violation of international law and a cover for testing a missile as part of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
March 5, 2012 |
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington has provoked a broad debate over the military and political wisdom of an attack on Iran. But so far, there has been little attention to the legal issues involved, which are crucial. American support for a preemptive strike would be a violation of both international law and the U.S. Constitution. Article II of the Constitution requires the president to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed," and Article VI says that treaties are part of the "supreme law of the land.
February 6, 2012
Last week, a Haitian judge ruled that former dictatorJean-Claude Duvaliershould not stand trial for human rights abuses - not for lack of evidence but because the statute of limitations had expired. That decision must be overruled. Of course Duvalier should be prosecuted for atrocities committed during his brutal 15-year rule. There are plenty of victims willing to recount the beatings, arbitrary arrests and prolonged detentions they suffered. There is a trove of evidence detailing how Duvalier's army and shadowy secret police force, the Tontons Macoutes, killed and tortured untold numbers of civilians.