- Message from John Riccardi
- Feature Stories
- School News
- Faculty Updates
- International Law Events at BU Law
Greetings from BU Law.
The world of BU Law continues to spin at an exhilarating – some might even say dizzying – pace, both at home and abroad. I hope this edition of our International Law Newsletter gives you a sense of this energy – and of the remarkable range of international expertise taking root in the law tower and recognized around the world.
You’ll read an interview with Professor Susan Akram, an internationally recognized human rights expert and director of BU Law’s International Human Rights Clinic, in which she shares her insights on the treatment of hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. You’ll find updates on the recent international activities of our faculty and alumni, including Professor Lily Faulhaber’s appointment as an advisor to the OECD and the nomination of Robert A. Sherman ('78) as the next U.S. ambassador to Portugal. And you’ll learn the latest about our expansive international programing, including our Executive LL.M. in International Business Law Program’s inaugural presence in Budapest, Hungary; a new collaboration in Lahore, Pakistan; and the launch of a new Two-Year LL.M. Track and Legal English Certificate Program, specifically designed for foreign-trained lawyers.
The scope of our international activities reflects the kind of school we are – a vibrant, diverse and engaged community, with faculty and students passionate about making a difference on the global stage. I hope this newsletter – a mere snapshot, frozen in time – gives you a sense of this spirit. For real-time updates, I also invite you to stay connected with us through our social media presence. Just click on the familiar icons on this page.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
John N. Riccardi
Assistant Dean for Graduate and International Programs
Faulhaber to Advise OECD on Ways to Curb Tax Avoidance by Global Companies
Associate Professor of Law Lilian Faulhaber will bring her tax law expertise to an international effort to curb the practice of corporations paying little or no taxes in the various countries in which they conduct business. In fall 2013, Faulhaber began a two-year leave of absence from BU Law to serve as an advisor to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The Paris-based organization brings together 34 member countries and six partner nations — a group that accounts for 80% of world trade and investment — to address challenges facing the world economy. Faulhaber will serve as an advisor to the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Programme, which has been tasked by the G20 to address the growing problem of multinational companies avoiding taxation in their home countries by pushing activities to other jurisdictions.
"This is a fantastic opportunity, and I'm excited to be part of the project," Faulhaber says.
Faulhaber, who won the Michael W. Melton Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013, has taught Introduction to Federal Income Taxation, International Taxation and International Business Transactions at BU Law since 2010. An expert on federal income taxation and international taxation, she has published articles on international taxation, tax avoidance, and charitable giving. Her recent work includes an article on international charitable giving in the Yale Journal of International Law, as well as an op-ed in the New York Times about the tax treatment of childcare costs, and.
Before joining BU Law, Faulhaber clerked for Senior Judge Robert E. Keeton and Judge William G. Young, both on the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and was an associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York. She is a graduate of Harvard College, Cambridge University, and Harvard Law School, where she was the editor-in-chief of the Harvard International Law Journal.
The School of Law’s Asylum and Human Rights program was one of 15 human rights organizations that signed a joint letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, urging him to intervene to end the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Other prominent groups, including the American Medical Association and Amnesty International, have also publicly opposed the force-feeding.
Now, in the wake of President Barack Obama’s speech at the National Defense University on May 23, there is new hope that many of the prisoners could be released soon. Renewing his vow to close the prison, Obama told the nation he will lift a moratorium on transferring many of the detainees to Yemen, and he called on Congress to end restrictions on steps to close the prison and establish a U.S. facility for remaining detainees.
Of the 166 detainees still held at Guantanamo, 102 are on hunger strikes, with some having refused food for more than 100 days. Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a Yemeni prisoner at Guantanamo Bay since 2002, described the experience through an Arabic interpreter to his lawyers, calling the insertion of the force-feeding tube while he was tied to a chair as the worst pain he’s ever felt. “As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up,” said Moqbel, whose story appeared in an April 2013 op-ed column in the New York Times. “There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach.” Moqbel, who has been on a hunger strike since February 10, described the situation at Gitmo as desperate. “I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone,” he said.
BU Today asked Susan M. Akram, a School of Law clinical professor of law and former executive director of Boston’s Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project, to explain the questionable legality of force-feeding under international law, and why the remaining Gitmo prisoners have not been tried.
Professsor Akram directs BU Law’s International Human Rights clinic. She oversees law students representing clients in political asylum, anti-trafficking, special immigrant juvenile status, convention against torture and other immigration cases. She also supervises students doing international human rights advocacy at the UN and other international human rights mechanisms and teaches international human rights and refugee law.
BU Today: If President Obama concedes that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay “needs to be closed,” why hasn’t he done so already?
Akram: There are a number of reasons for President Obama’s public position that he cannot close the facility, but none is justifiable as a matter of domestic or international law. First, although Obama declared when he took office that he would close the facility within a year, he also adopted the George W. Bush administration’s “global war on terror” paradigm under the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which makes indefinite detention “lawful” as a matter of U.S. policy and allows the executive branch to determine the legality of such detentions, not the judiciary. After the U.S. Supreme Court held that federal courts had jurisdiction to determine the legality of Guantanamo prisoners’ detention, the Bush administration set up Combatant Status Review Tribunals and signed the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA) to avoid allowing the detainees the right to trials in U.S. federal courts. Again, the Supreme Court struck down the DTA as unconstitutional, and detainees have prevailed in about 75 percent of the habeas cases.
Second, in 2010 the Obama administration announced that four dozen of the Guantanamo detainees could not be prosecuted or released, but would remain in indefinite detention without charge or trial. And third, the administration has claimed that it cannot close the facility because of Congress’ passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which Obama himself signed. The act prohibits transfer of any Guantanamo detainee to a country where returnees have reengaged in terrorist activity and requires certification from the receiving country that it has taken steps to prevent such activity. The administration has the authority to waive such restrictions; however, no prisoner has been released under the NDAA restrictions.
How many of the detainees have been legally cleared for release or transfer?
The president established a Guantanamo Review Task Force, staffed by professionals from the Departments of Justice, Defense, State, and Homeland Security and the FBI, the CIA, and the National Counterterrorism Center, which issued its final report in January 2010. They arrived at unanimous decisions about what should happen to the remaining detainees, finding that 126 should be transferred to other countries, 30 of the Yemenis could be transferred to Yemen or other countries under certain conditions, and 36 men should be referred for prosecution. That leaves only 48 men who have been determined too dangerous for transfer and not subject to prosecution. Of the 166 detainees, only 6 face any formal charges. Thus, more than half of the individuals remaining at Guantanamo have been cleared for transfer, but the president has failed to act to release them.
How could the detention center be legal at all if Congress has blocked funding for any trials for those still imprisoned there?
There’s no clear answer. The U.S. Supreme Court, in four important decisions, Rasul v. Bush, Boumediene v. Bush, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, held that international law applies to Guantanamo detainees, that they cannot be held indefinitely without trial, that constitutional habeas corpus protections apply to them, and that the combatant status review tribunals were unconstitutional and violated the Geneva Conventions. Yet Congress and the executive branch have, through policy and legislation, strenuously avoided implementation of these decisions. The United States has also been chastised repeatedly by other states and the United Nations and its human rights organs that its interpretation of the laws of war concerning the detainees is wrong and against international consensus. Since 2002, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States has issued and reextended precautionary measures against the United States (the equivalent of domestic law injunctive orders), requesting that the United States take urgent measures necessary to have the legal status of the detainees determined by a “competent tribunal.”
Why are the detainees’ rights so different from those accorded by our constitution and international law?
The Bush administration took the position that laws of war and humanitarian law under the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 did not apply to the armed conflict the United States was engaged in with al-Qaeda in the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. The Bush policy was that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to “unlawful enemy combatants,” such as al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld(2006), the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, finding that Article 3, common to all the Geneva Conventions, did apply to all individuals in the conflict, providing minimum guarantees of fair and humane treatment. The court found that Article 3 requires fair trials for all detainees, prohibits torture and indefinite detention, and binds both the United States and Afghanistan. This is the overwhelming consensus under international law of the applicability of the Geneva Conventions.
UN and international bodies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, have consistently stated that the four Geneva Conventions apply to the Guantanamo prisoners as well as international human rights treaties. These prohibit torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, and indefinite detention without trial, and require prompt and fair trials for all prisoners before impartial tribunals. The problem is not the law; it is that both the Bush and Obama administrations have failed to apply the substantial body of law that does apply to the Guantanamo prisoners.
Isn’t force-feeding of hunger-striking detainees a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions?
The ICRC has taken the position that force-feeding hunger-striking detainees is a violation of Common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions, which, as noted, prohibits cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 also prohibits cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. The UN Human Rights Council previously found that force-feeding used in earlier hunger strikes was torture under the Convention Against Torture, a treaty to which the United States is a party.
In fact, the World Medical Association (WMA) has condemned force-feeding of prisoners who are competent to decide to hunger strike. The WMA has said that “feeding accompanied by threats, coercion, or physical restraint is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment.” Debilitating risks of force-feeding include major infections, pneumonia, collapsed lungs, heart failure, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
How would the detainees’ legal situation change if Congress allowed their relocation to U.S. prisons?
They would be entitled to all the rights the Supreme Court and the federal courts have said they are entitled to under the U.S. constitution and tried in Article 3 courts. However, this is the least likely of the scenarios available with this administration and this Congress.
Do you think estimates are accurate that a significant percentage of released Gitmo detainees have participated in terrorism since their release?
There are conflicting statistics of the recidivism rate of the detainees, as well as what is meant by returning to terrorist activity. In 2009, the New York Times reported that an unreleased Pentagon report claimed that one in seven of the detainees released from Guantanamo was involved in terrorism upon return. If that number is accurate, that represents about 14 percent of the released detainees. However, in two comprehensive studies of Defense Department information, Seton Hall Law School professor Mark Denbeaux concluded that the government’s definition of terrorist activity was so broad as to include “anti-U.S. propaganda” and giving press interviews. And in 2012, John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief, stated that of the approximately 50 detainees the Obama administration released, none was suspected or returning to terrorist activity. It is also important to remember that 92 percent of the Guantanamo detainees were never al-Qaeda fighters in the first place, so if they return to terrorism, it is likely that it is their treatment at Guantanamo that radicalized them.
Among those in the legal profession, what do you think is the biggest concern about the Gitmo situation and its implications?
An Amnesty International report published in 2011 titled “Guantanamo: A Decade of Damage to Human Rights” encapsulates the key concerns of the majority of the international legal community. There has been deep and perhaps irreparable damage done to the bedrock norms of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, not just by Guantanamo, but the entire paradigm of the U.S. engagement of its so-called war on terror. The United States has thrown out or rewritten fundamental provisions of the laws of war, including the prohibition against torture and cruel treatment under treaties that it has been instrumental in drafting and then promoting around the world. Aside from the damage to U.S. treaty and customary international law obligations, the executive branch and Congress have also deliberately and systematically violated bedrock constitutional rights, such as the right to due process, fair trial, impartial tribunals, and the rights to be free of torture and indefinite detention.
What are the legal implications if the hunger strikers die?
Nine Guantanamo prisoners have already died in custody; six by apparent suicide. Yasser Talal Ali Zahrani is the youngest detainee to die, at 21 years old. He was captured at age 16 and spent the rest of his young life in Guantanamo. There have apparently been no legal implications, so it is not clear there will be any for the deaths of the current hunger strikers. Although one hopes that at some point there will be accountability for all the deaths at Guantanamo, as well as for the wrongful detentions and torture.
What have human rights lawyers been able to accomplish on behalf of the detainees?
I think it is a mixed picture. It is unclear how much influence the legal defense teams had on the decisions to release 532 of the detainees by the Bush administration or the 70 by the Obama administration. Certainly some of them were released through great pressure from their legal teams, such as the Uighurs, the Bosnian-Algerians, the Egyptians, and the British residents. Some, however, were released through pressure from foreign governments, including the British and German governments. The lawyers of the remaining detainees would likely say that their biggest accomplishment is simply reminding the prisoners that people care about them, and providing a lifeline for them to their families.
Robert A. Sherman (’78) has been nominated by President Obama as the next ambassador to Portugal.
Sherman is one of the founding members and a former co-managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Boston office. His law practice focuses on government investigations and litigation, internal corporate investigations with an emphasis on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance, consumer protection, and class action defense.
Before joining Greenberg Traurig, Sherman served as the assistant attorney general and chief of the Consumer Protection Division in the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General. There he led the 45-person division in cases concerning “patterns and practices of unfair and deceptive conduct directed toward people who generally do not have the resources to protect themselves, such as the elderly, disabled, low-income people, and people of color.”
In addition to his legal career, Sherman has been a frequent commentator for various local and national media outlets, television, radio, and newsprint on legal and political issues. He has weighed in on the U.S. Supreme Court case involving protesting at military funerals, the 2010 midterm elections, the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the constitutional authority of state attorneys general in legal disputes with governors. He also played an active role in President Obama’s campaigns, serving as an original member of the Obama for America National Finance Committee, and a member of President-Elect Obama’s Transition Team.
Sherman is the son of Russian immigrants who settled in Brockton, MA. When addressing the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations during his nomination hearing, he described how he shared common ground with the Portuguese immigrant community with whom he grew up alongside.
“Growing up, these immigrants from the Azores [a Portuguese island chain] were my neighbors and friends. I quickly learned about their values; the Portuguese are hard-working, tolerant, devoted to family, freedom, honor, and so very proud of their heritage.”
His priority as ambassador will be to strengthen economic ties between the U.S. and Portugal, in order to create jobs in the U.S. and spur Portugal’s struggling economy.
Because of the government shutdown, Sherman has yet to be confirmed to his post.
Gary Birnberg ('85) Named to Leading Brazilian and French-American Commercial Dispute Resolution Panels
One of Brazil’s premier commercial conflict resolution bodies, Centro Brasilerio de Mediação e Arbitragem (CBMA), has named Gary Birnberg (’85), international dispute-resolution specialist, to its mediation panel. He is the first American to receive this appointment.
Birnberg has also been named as an arbitrator and mediator to the Joint Panel of two leading alternative dispute resolution institutions: the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution, based in New York, and the Centre de Médiation et d’Arbitrage de Paris, the dispute resolution center of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris. The Joint Panel is “comprised of highly qualified French-English bilingual neutrals competent to handle complex commercial cross-border disputes involving billions of dollars,” according to a press release from Global Resolution.
Birnberg worked as an international management consultant for over 25 years in the United States, Europe, and Brazil before focusing his legal expertise and business experience on dispute resolution. He maintains an active practice as the prinicpal of Global Resolution, a Miami-based boutique mediation firm, focused on domestic and international commercial disputes. In addition to these appointments, he sits as a neutral on several other arbitration and mediation panels, including the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals.
In addition to a J.D. from BU Law, Birnberg earned his MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, and his B.A. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been admitted to four state bars and certified by the Florida Supreme Court as both a civil circuit and appellate mediator. He is committee chair and a multiple-term member of the Board of Directors of the French-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida.
In addition to French and English, Birnberg speaks Portuguese fluently and is a permanent resident of Brazil, where he maintains extensive professional activities.
BU Law Launches Legal English Certificate Program and Two-Year LL.M. Track
Beginning in fall 2014, BU Law will offer a Legal English Certificate Program (LECP), a two-semester, 25-credit full-time program designed for international lawyers and professionals who seek to improve their general English and legal English communications skills.
The innovative program, developed in collaboration with BU’s Center for English Language and Orientation Programs (CELOP), will be available through two tracks: (1) a two-year LL.M. track, for international LL.M. candidates whose admission to a BU Law LL.M. program is conditioned on their completing the one-year LECP; and (2) a “certificate-only” track, open to foreign professionals – including non-lawyers – who seek only a legal English training credential, with no plans to pursue LL.M. studies.
“Our new Legal English Certificate Program underscores BU Law’s leadership in Legal English, as well as the School’s commitment to preparing foreign lawyers for success in LL.M. studies,” says John Riccardi, BU Law’s assistant dean for graduate and international programs.
“For over a decade, foreign lawyers have benefitted from BU’s summer programs in Legal English,” says Ian C. Pilarczyk, the director of BU Law’s Executive LL.M. in International Business Law Program and the inaugural director of LECP. “Developing a certificate program that leads to graduate law studies was a natural outgrowth of our experience in the field and will make a substantive addition to our portfolio of Legal English offerings.”
Jointly developed by CELOP and BU Law, the LECP curriculum is designed to provide intensive instruction in English communication and Legal English, as well as graduated, foundational exposure to American legal culture, doctrinal concepts, persuasive advocacy and academic success skills, with a particular focus on U.S. legal studies.
BU Law Associate Professor Robert Volk – who has taught Legal English with CELOP colleagues at Boston University’s Summer Legal Institute in London and at Chuo Law School in Tokyo, Japan, for many years – helped develop the academic content and structure of LECP and will oversee the law school’s instructors.
“Students who enroll in the LECP certificate track or Two-Year LL.M. track will receive intensive instruction in both writing and speaking English,” says Volk, who also worked with CELOP in the development of PLEAD, a Legal English collaboration with the Cambridge University Press and TransLegal, the world’s leading provider of Legal English resources. “This will enable them to succeed in any of our rigorous LL.M. programs, as well as in their legal careers.”
BU Law has a long-standing tradition of developing coursework and materials aimed at improving the Legal English skills of foreign-trained lawyers. In addition to the new LECP and Two-Year LL.M. programs, the Summer Legal Institute in London and PLEAD, Boston University’s current portfolio of Legal English programs includes two Boston-based summer Legal English programs at CELOP, and several Extended LL.M. enrollment options for the School's traditional, residential LL.M. programs.
BU Law will begin accepting applications for the LECP program (and Two-Year LL.M. track) in December 2013. To receive further information on the application process, please email the LL.M. admissions office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year BU Law’s Executive LL.M. in International Business Law program (ELLM) witnessed an exciting expansion with the addition of its first international residency destination — Budapest, Hungary — and an online concentration in International Environmental and Energy Law.
In 2013, BU Law entered into a partnership with the Center for International Legal Studies (CILS) in Salzburg, Austria; Lazarski University School of Law in Warsaw, Poland; and Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) in Budapest, Hungary, to teach executive LL.M. sessions at ELTE's campus in Budapest. The inaugural Budapest session, which took place June 17- June 29, drew 13 students from BU Law, ELTE and Lazarski, representing Canada, China, Colombia, Hungary, Egypt, France, Haiti, Poland, and the United States.
The two-week session featured U.S. Contract Law for International Lawyers and U.S. Corporate Law for International Lawyers, taught by Professors Mark Pettit and Kevin Outterson respectively. Students also participated in the executive programs colloquium, Current Issues in International Business Law Colloquium, which featured several distinguished speakers:
- Christof Siefarth, managing partner of Görg in Cologne, Germany, spoke about government initiatives to impose stringent anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing obligations on lawyers and other monetary gatekeepers;
- Balazs Sahin-Toth, head of Allen & Overy's Hungarian restructuring and litigation practice, shared M&A “war stories,” using examples such as the privatization of regional airports and corporations;
- Zoltan Hegymegi-Barakonyi, chair of Baker and McKenzie’s Antitrust and Competition practice in Budapest, discussed developments in Hungarian competition law;
- Julia Balazs from Oppenheim discussed Hungarian construction trusteeship;
- Tobor Szanto, head of Allen & Overy’s EU, Competition and Regulatory Practice departments in Budapest, shared his expertise on negotiating merger remedies with antitrust authorities; and
- Èva Kovács from Weil Gotschal who spoke about the role of women in contemporary Hungarian legal education and employment.
As a result of this collaboration, students from Lazarski and ELTE who participate in Budapest sessions are eligible for advanced standing in BU Law’s graduate programs. Likewise, BU Law’s LL.M. graduates can obtain advanced standing in Lazarski Law School’s LL.M. in Transnational Commercial Practice Program.
“This reciprocal relationship is a wonderful new opportunity for lawyers interested in expanding their knowledge of international law, says Ian Pilarczyk, the director of BU Law’s Executive LL.M. Program.
This fall, the Executive LL.M. program launched a 12-credit concentration in International Environmental and Energy Law (IEEL), allowing students to specialize in this growing and important area of legal practice. Participants take all related courses online, available through a new partnership with Vermont Law School’s top-ranked Environmental Law Center.
“International environmental and energy law issues are of increasing importance to cross-border practitioners, whether they represent multinational manufacturers, oil and gas enterprises, green technology companies, or work in house on the compliance side,” explains John Riccardi, assistant dean for graduate and international programs. “Partnering with Vermont Law School, one of America’s top law schools for environmental law studies, enables us to offer a first-rate online concentration in a high-growth field of international practice — and complements nicely the program’s foundational, business-oriented residential offerings.”
Vermont Law School faculty teach the online courses through the school's leading web-based distance education platform. Students will work directly with Vermont Law School professors, course facilitators and student services coordinators on course work and other related matters. Academic advising and program assistance will be provided by the Executive LL.M. program’s staff.
“We are very pleased by the synergies this collaboration provides us,” states program director Ian C. Pilarczyk. “The ELLM is a fast-growing program attracting qualified practitioners from all over the world, and the subject matter as well as online format of the International Environmental and Energy Law Concentration fits in perfectly with the needs of our students.”
The new online concentration is the second such option in the ELLM curriculum: In 2012, the program introduced an online concentration in International Taxation. Both concentrations “exemplify the program’s goal of helping legal professionals succeed in a demanding and dynamic legal environment,” says Pilarczyk. In 2014, the program will also be introducing new courses in Corporate Deal Making and Managing Compliance Risks in International Business.
“The exciting enhancements and additions we’ve made to the Executive LL.M. Program over the past year have expanded its curricular, scheduling and geographical flexibility even further,” adds Pilarczyk.
BU Law and the Center for Law and Policy in Lahore, Pakistan Sign for Academic Cooperation
Boston University School of Law continues to expand its international connections. In spring 2013, BU Law and the University of Management and Technology School of Law and Policy (UMT Law) and the Center for Law and Policy (CLP) in Lahore, Pakistan, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to foster academic cooperation and interaction.
Under the agreement, BU Law and UMT Law/CLP will work to promote the academic and professional development of UMT graduate law students and CLP faculty and staff. CLP is an affiliated institute of UMT Law, committed to studying national and international legal and policy issues, with a particular focus on improving Pakistan’s system of legal and policy education.
UMT Law and CLP will send students and faculty to BU Law’s Summer Legal Institute in London (SLI) and to summer courses offered by BU Law’s Executive LL.M. in International Business Law Program in Budapest, Hungary. SLI is a three-week intensive program on Legal English and Global Business Transactions, offered at BU’s campus in London. BU Law’s Executive LL.M. program is a blended-learning graduate program, combining intensive two-week residency sessions in Budapest and Boston, with Internet-based instruction.
BU Law’s assistant dean for graduate and international programs, John N. Riccardi, and UMT Law’s founding director, Professor Syed Imad-ud-Din Asad, initiatied this arrangement with the hope that the presence of Pakistani lawyers and instructors in BU’s programs would enhance the students’ professional and academic training and also enrich the global classroom experience for all attendees.
A number of BU Law faculty members have been active in the international arena in the past year, speaking or teaching overseas, publishing on international topics, collaborating with foreign faculty, and more. Below are some highlights.
Over the past six months, Professor Susan Akram has served on a panel with an international focus and delivered six presentations: In March, she presented on "Migration and Human Rights in the Americas: A Discussion on the Dorzema et al. v. Dominican Republic Case" at Harvard University Law School, based on an amicus curiae brief that she and her students submitted to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the Dorzema case.
Akram was a discussant on the "Legal and Political Status of the Middle East in the Aftermath of the Arab Spring: Egypt, Syria, and Iraq" panel at The Next Season: Realigning International Law and Western Policy After the Arab Spring Conference at BU Law.
In April, Akram delivered a presentation on "Disappearing & Reappearing: NGOs, Legal Status, & Return" at the Right of Return Conference at BU, as well as a presentation on "Palestinian Refugees and the Middle East Conflict: The Difference that Law Makes to the Council on Middle East Studies" at Yale University.
She delivered a presentation on the work she and her students are completing on domestic and international law concerning Restavek (child labor in Haiti) to the Cambridge Health Alliance's Global Health and Human Rights Seminar.
In June, Professor Akram traveled to Ramallah, Palestine, to present at a conference hosted by United Nations agencies and the BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Refugee Rights on Forced Population Transfer — Elements and Responsibilities.
In July, Akram taught in the Oxford Refugee Studies Centre's Summer Institute on Forced Migration at the University of Oxford, U.K.
Professor Akram’s chapter entitled "The Rights of Palestinian Refugees and Territorial Solutions in Historic Palestine" was published in The Failure of the Two-State Solution (Hani Faris, Ed.) by I.B. Tauris in September.
Her article entitled "Millenium Development Goals and the Protection of Refugee Women and Girls" was published in a special issue on migration and human rights by the e-journal LAWS (Geneva) in September.
Her article entitled "The Palestinian Statehood Strategy in the United Nations: Lessons from Namibia" was published in Aborted State? The UN Initiative and New Palestinian Junctures (Erakat and Rabbani, eds.) by Tadween Publishers in September 2013.
In August, Professor Jack Beermann spoke in Beijing, China, at the International Conference on the Reform of Administrative Examination & Approval System and Government Regulation, sponsored by Zhejiang University Guanghua Law School and Chinese Journal of Law. While in Beijing, he was able to meet with a group of America Law LL.M. alumni over lunch.
In October Professor Stanley Z. Fisher traveled to Ethiopia, where he visited with faculty and alumni of the University of Addis Ababa Law Faculty. Fisher taught at AAU from 1964-1968, making him one of the founding faculty members. He delivered a lecture — entitled "The Early Years of Legal Education in Ethiopia: A Fifty Year Perspective" — to students, staff, and faculty in commemoration of the Faculty's Jubilee celebration.
In January 2014, Professor James E. Fleming will present his paper “Fidelity and Change in Constitutional Interpretation” at the upcoming AALS annual meeting’s Academic Symposium on Comparative Constitutional Change. His paper, among other things, will ponder the reasons for the grip of originalism in the U.S. constitutional culture, as contrasted with its rejection elsewhere.
In July, Professor Wendy J. Gordon presented a paper, "The Concept of 'Harm' in Copyright," at the 2013 Annual Congress of the Society for Economic Research on Copyright Issues (SERCI) in Paris, France. The essay appears as a chapter in the book, Intellectual Property in the Common Law (edited by Shyamkrishna Balganesh), recently published by Cambridge University Press.
Professor Gordon’s essay on copyright (co-authored with Robert Bone), was recently translated to Russian and published in the Encyclopedia of Law and Economics.
In October, Professor Pnina Lahav, considered the "mother of Israeli legal history," was the keynote speaker at the ninth annual conference of the Israeli Association of Legal History in Yad Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem. Her address, "Sixty years after Kol Haam: What else remains to say?" discussed the case which introduced the theory and doctrine of freedom of expression to Israel.
In September 2013, Professor Michael J. Meurer gave a plenary talk, entitled “IP and the Knowledge Frontier,” at the eighth annual European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP) meeting held at Telecom ParisTech in Paris, France.
In October, Professor William W. Park was invited as a keynote speaker at the International Bar Association (IBA) Conference, which took place in Boston. At the conference, he presented several papers, including “Jurisdictional Dilemmas in International Arbitration,” “Conflict and Counterpoise Among an Arbitrator’s Duties,” and “Arbitrator Ethics: Between the Pernicious and the Precarious.” Other papers include “Arbitration in England Over the Past 40 Years” and “Third Party Funding in International Arbitration,” which he presented in London in September.
In September, Professor Park was elected to the Board of the Swiss Arbitration Association (Association Suisse de l’Arbitrage) in Bern. He also serves as president of the London Court of International Arbitration and Co-chair (with Catherine Rogers, Penn State) of the Working Group on Third Party Funding of International Litigation in the International Council for Commercial Arbitration.
Professor David Seipp attended the British Legal History Conference at the University of Glasgow in July 2013. In May, he hosted Professor Tatsuya Kitai of Chuo University, Tokyo, on his research visit to Boston and Cambridge, helping arrange visits for Prof. Kitai with archivists at Boston University and Harvard University.
Professor Kenneth W. Simons was invited to participate in the Conference on Moral and Legal Accountability, sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature held at the University of Oslo, Norway, in June 2013. He presented his paper, “Punishment and Blame for Culpable Indifference.” Other papers by Professor Simons are to be published in the journal Inquiry.
In April 2013, Professor Robert D. Sloane received the Francis Deák Prize for his article, "On the Use and Abuse of Necessity in the Law of State Responsibility" (106 Am. J. Int’l L. 447 2012), awarded by the American Society of International Law for the best article published in the American Journal of International Law by a younger author.
In May, he traveled to the European University Institute in Florence to present a paper on nationality law, "Exploring the Genuine Link," at a seminar, entitled "Minorities and Migrants: Citizenship Policies and Political Participation of the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe."
Sloane continues to serve as chairman of the board of directors of Tibet Justice Center, a non-governmental organization devoted to legal and other advocacy for the human rights and self-determination of the Tibetan people. The activities of the Tibet Justice Center include collaboration with BU Law's Human Rights Clinic and Professor Susan Akram in submitting a parallel ("shadow") report to the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which is currently reviewing China's periodic submission on compliance with the Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and engaging in related advocacy in Geneva.
Professor David D. Webber presented his paper, “The Use and Abuse of Labor’s Capital,” in September 2013 at the Canadian Law and Economics Association Conference held at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.
In August, Professor Jay D. Wexler traveled to Singapore and Hong Kong to research the effects of joss paper and incense burning on air pollution for his forthcoming book about religious practices around the world that harm the environment. While there, he met with government officials, academics, and religious leaders, as well as visited temples and other sites of religious worship to understand the problem.
During the same trip, he visited Taipei to research the controversial Buddhist practice of “mercy release,” which refers to the release of captured animals for karmic benefit and which can cause environmental harm when animals are released in great numbers into inhospitable or incompatible habitats. He later spent eight days in Mumbai, India, researching the environmental effects of the Ganesh festival. During this festival, Hindu devotees immerse thousands of idols of the elephant god Ganesh, some of them over twenty feet high, into lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water.
This past summer, Professor Robert Volk taught in the U.K. at BU's Summer London Institute (SLI) and at Chuo University in Tokyo.
As a hub for global engagement, BU Law hosts myriad conferences, symposia and lectures pertaining to international law each year — many of which are featured in this newsletter. Click the title of each event listed below to learn of additional scholarly happenings taking place in the law tower in 2013-14.
Universal Health Care Reform, with former Turkish Minister of Health Prof. Recep Akda
In October, BU School of Law hosted Professor Recep Akdag to share his experience implementing groundbreaking health care reform in Turkey. Akdag discussed the continuous obstacles – from political opposition to budgetary constraints – he faced, as well as the succcesses. He emphasized how members of the legal field played a critical role in the process, from the high court judges who blocked reforms to his legal advisors who helped him shape Turkey's Health Transformation Program. Eventually he was able to establish a system that is “a successful and real healthcare reform.”
International Bar Association Conference
The International Bar Association held its annual conference October 6-11 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, allowing many members of the Boston University School of Law community to participate:
- BU Law alumni from around the globe attended;
- BU Law co-sponsored and exhibited at the conference, promoting our international activities to lawyers from around the world;
- BU Law co-hosted a reception at Holland & Knight in conjunction with the conference; and
- Professor William “Rusty” Park served as a panelist for an IBA Arbitration Committee session, “Pacta sunt servanda in international arbitration.”
A full description of BU Law’s activities related to the International Bar Association’s Annual Conference will be included in the spring 2014 edition of the International Law Newsletter. To learn more about the IBA’s Annual Conference in Boston, please visit the conference website.
The Next Season: Realigning International Law and Western Policy After the Arab Spring
A conference hosted by the Boston University International Law Journal
In March, BU Law hosted a dozen distinguished scholars from around the globe to discuss the momentous legal and political challenges that continue to develop in the Middle East in the wake of the wave of revolutions known as the “Arab Spring.” Four different panels examined issues from Islamic constitutionalism in the context of modern Egypt to the need to readjust Western policy in the Middle East, while the keynote address from Assistant Legal Adviser for Human Rights and Refugee Affairs Evelyn W. Aswad offered a view from the U.S. Department of State.
Evelyn W. Aswad, Assistant Legal Adviser for Human Rights and Refugee Affairs, Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State
Susan M. Akram, Boston University School of Law
Augustus Richard Norton, Boston University Departments of International Relations and Anthropology
Daniela Caruso, Boston University School of Law
Robert D. Sloane, Boston University School of Law
Dr. Ethan Chorin, Berkeley Research Group
Ethan Corbin, Harvard University, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Tufts University, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Haider Ala Hamoudi, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Mohammad Fadel, University of Toronto Faculty of Law
Ambassador John W. Limbert, Distinguished Professor, U.S. Naval Academy
Gianluca Paolo Parolin, American University in Cairo and Global Research Fellow, New York University School of Law
Denis J. Sullivan, Northeastern University, Political Science & Middle East Studies
Dr. Nimer Sultany, Fellow, State University of New York in Buffalo, The Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy
Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, Middle East and North Africa Division
Mustapha El Khalfi, Minister of Communications and Government Spokesman, Morocco
Taking on State Sponsors of Terrorism: A New Frontier in International Tort Litigation
Andrew C. Hall delivers the inaugural Kleh Lecture
BU Law’s inaugural Kleh Visiting Professor in International Law, Andrew C. Hall, delivered “Taking on State Sponsors of Terrorism: A New Frontier in Tort Litigation” in February 2013.
A Holocaust survivor, celebrated leader in the fight against state-sponsored terrorism, and founder of Hall, Lamb and Hall in Miami, Hall discussed his career seeking money judgments for clients by suing foreign nations sponsoring terrorism that kills or injures Americans abroad. In particular he shared his experience representing American contractor Chad Hall, who was kidnapped by Pakistanis while working in Kuwait, and the inured sailors and families of the victims from the bombing of the USS Cole.
The Euro Crisis: Regulatory Responses, Social Consequences, and Legal Strategies
Friday, January 17, 2014 at Boston University School of Law
The Eurozone crisis, epitomized by the Greek sovereign debt crash, continues to loom as one of the greatest financial, regulatory, and policy challenges in the history of the European Union to date. One of the long-standing aspects of the European Union’s political integration is the project of a Social Europe — a particular model of policy built upon the legacy of member states' welfare policies. What are the prospects for Social Europe following the recent austerity measures demanded by lending institutions? Can it find room in a new and strengthened political union? In addition to addressing the foregoing questions, this event aims to lay out for discussion the regulatory and investment-climate outcomes of the Greek debt crisis, identifying opportunities for legal strategies concerning both private investment and systemic regulation in Greece and at the EU level.
Philomila Tsoukala - Georgetown University Law Center
Vivien Schmidt - Boston University - Center for the Study of Europe
Maria Panezi - Osgoode Hall Law School - Institute for Global Law & Policy
John Pantekidis ('93, LL.M. '94) - TwinFocus Capital Partners LLC
Greg Peterson - Ballentine Partners LLC
Yannis M. Ioannides - Tufts University
International IP Law Faculty Roundtable Discussion
On December 4, Professors Mike Meurer, Stacey Dogan, Wendy Gordon, Paul Gugliuzza and Lecturer Kathryn Piffat will hold a faculty roundtable discussion on international IP issues. This event is part of a series of scholarly presentations and dialogues engaging the most pressing issues in the field of intellectual property held at BU Law during the 2013-2014 academic year.