Saturday, July 11, 2020

International courts ‘more needed than ever’, 25 years after Srebrenica

The now-defunct war crimes tribunal that convicted Bosnian Serb leaders like Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic over the murder of 8,000 Muslim men and boys was hailed at the time as a new era of post-Cold War accountability.

Yet the numerous courts set up in its wake now face a litany of problems like low conviction rates, attacks by US President Donald Trump and antagonistic governments, and accusations of racism.

They also need to start giving justice to victims of a new generation of crimes such as the war in Syria, the repression of the Rohingya people in Myanmar and the persecution of the Uighurs in China, experts said.

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Monday, April 27, 2020

Hungary prepares to end legal recognition of trans people

Hungary's rightwing government looks likely to push through legislation that will end the legal recognition of trans people by defining gender as "biological sex based on primary sex characteristics and chromosomes" and thus making it impossible for people to legally change their gender.

Trans people and rights activists say the law, which has been introduced into parliament as attention is focused on the coronavirus pandemic, will increase discrimination and intolerance towards trans people. Many will try to leave the country, while those who do not have that chance will face daily humiliations.

"In Hungary, you need to show your ID to rent a bike, buy a bus pass or to pick up a package at the post office. It basically means coming out as trans to complete strangers, all the time. The good version is they are nice about it, but there are situations where people turn quite hostile," said Ivett Ördög, a 39-year-old trans woman living in Budapest.

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

What is particularly scary about the coronavirus? The chaos it has caused.

Unless you have been living in a well-ventilated cave with no internet, you have heard about novel coronavirus or COVID-19. While coronaviruses have been around for a long time, this newly discovered version has no cure and can be fatal, particularly to the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. While some may find this analogous to the flu, this novel virus is serious enough for some cities and even a country to quarantine their entire population in order to try to control the spread.

It has caused a global panic. While I have tried to stay calm, educate myself, and even joke about the virus, I must admit that it is starting to concern me.

I am not scared of the virus itself. I have done my best to minimize the chances of exposing myself to the virus. That means spending more time working from home. I have encouraged clients to send paperwork via email and the cloud. For those who prefer the old ways, I accept regular mail and offer to reimburse them for postage. Since this is tax season, I and other tax professionals have voluntarily self-quarantined ourselves for the next month and a half.

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Sunday, December 8, 2019

‘Our sense of belonging within a legal system derives from our relationship to property, real or personal.’

The provocative title statement is approached from two perspectives in this critical discussion. In Part 1, the title statement strengths are reflected by the different ways that property rights have attracted such extensive England and Wales (EW) legal system attention. The accepted real and personal property definitions (as supplemented by modern-day Intellectual Property (IP) rights) lend seemingly compelling support to the view that property rights of all kinds dominate how individuals (persons and companies alike) are connected to the legal system. It is suggested that no sensible person can doubt that property-based relationships have been a core legal system feature for centuries (Choo, 2018, p.394).

In Part 2, an alternative, competing proposition is advanced that raises significant doubts concerning present day title statement accuracy. It has become apparent that human rights concepts are now a dominant (and seemingly pervasive) connection that many people rely upon when claiming a contemporary legal system 'sense of belonging'. European Convention on Human Rights 1950 (ECHR) Article 8 privacy and family life guarantees, Article 9 religious belief, and selected EW case law examples are used to support this human rights-based counter-argument. The different property based relationships that exist between the EW legal system and its society remain important. However, these Part 2 examples illustrate how human rights' universality ensures that anyone (including persons without any property rights to assert), can secure effective legal system recognition and rights enforcement in a much wider range of circumstances than more limiting property-based relationships.

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Sunday, September 1, 2019

New Issue: Journal of Conflict Resolution

The latest issue of the Journal of Conflict Resolution (Vol. 63, no. 9, October 2019) is out. Contents include:
  • Articles
    • Richard Traunmüller, Sara Kijewski, & Markus Freitag, The Silent Victims of Sexual Violence during War: Evidence from a List Experiment in Sri Lanka
    • Shanna Kirschner & Adam Miller, Does Peacekeeping Really Bring Peace? Peacekeepers and Combatant-perpetrated Sexual Violence in Civil Wars
    • Emily Kalah Gade, Michael Gabbay, Mohammed M. Hafez, & Zane Kelly, Networks of Cooperation: Rebel Alliances in Fragmented Civil Wars
    • Ursula Daxecker, Jessica Di Salvatore, & Andrea Ruggeri, Fraud Is What People Make of It: Election Fraud, Perceived Fraud, and Protesting in Nigeria
    • Patricia Justino & Bruno Martorano, Redistributive Preferences and Protests in Latin America
    • Marina G. Petrova, What Matters Is Who Supports You: Diaspora and Foreign States as External Supporters and Militants' Adoption of Nonviolence
    • Yoram Z. Haftel & Stephanie C. Hofmann, Rivalry and Overlap: Why Regional Economic Organizations Encroach on Security Organizations

    • Click to read

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Supreme Court OKs Retaliatory Arrests For Engaging In Protected Speech

The Supreme Court has declared it's cool with cops engaging in retaliatory arrests… just as long as they have the probable cause to do so. Given the thousands of obscure laws we've been cursed with by legislators, most law enforcement officers will be able to find someway to shut up someone by putting them in cuffs. (Whatever they're wrong about can be salvaged by the good faith exception.)

In this case, plaintiff Russell Bartlett was arrested after not talking to police and telling other winter festival attendees to not talk to the police. The officer who arrested Bartlett claimed Bartlett was drunk and disorderly, hence the supposedly-justified arrest. Here's the background, as summarized in the Supreme Court's opinion [PDF]

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Law Student Makes Astute Points About Law School Before Just Going All Racist

In a now-deleted Reddit post in the law school subreddit, a soon-to-graduate Rutgers Law School student offers some advice for aspiring law students about the problems with the school. To the poster's credit, there are some good points in here that law students should take into account during the law school selection process. Then… things get all weird and racist.

The post was titled "AVOID Rutgers Law School at all costs. Extremely bad employment prospects." This isn't really true — at least compared to a lot of options out there.

That's not how this poster sees it:

Rutgers Law Student class of 2019 here to say that if you want to be employed when graduating (unlike 80%+ of our graduating class currently), or if you want to find employment beyond the 1 year state clerkship experience, avoid our school at all costs.

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