international law

International Law

Scotland’s Three Verdict System: a Look into “Not Proven”

December 6, 2018 Chloe Meyers 0

If you ever find yourself in a Scottish court, you may be surprised to find that each trial can end one of three ways, instead of the traditional two-verdict system found in most courts around the world. In Scottish courts, there are three verdicts that can be called at the end of a trial: guilty, not guilty, and not proven. While there is no official definition of “not proven,” it is used instead of not guilty in cases where the jury cannot find enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to convict or acquit. The verdict of “not proven” comes from a historical Scottish criminal law practice in which the jury decided if each factual issue was adequately “proven” or “not proven.” Based on the jury’s findings, the judge would then determine if the proven facts were sufficient evidence to convict the defendant guilty of the criminal charge. In the 1700s, […]

Uighur Man in Demonstration
International Law

Forced Internment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, China

November 27, 2018 Chloe Meyers 0

In Xinjiang, the north-west region of China, up to one million Uighurs are being detained in internment camps that have been legally recognized as legitimate re-education camps by the Chinese government. Uighurs are a predominantly Turkish speaking and Muslim minority in Xinjiang. Since the implementation of an anti-terrorist campaign in Xinjiang in 2014, the number of Uighurs arrested and detained has increased substantially and continues to grow. Although the existence of these internment camps was initially denied by the Chinese government, the government now recognizes and legitimize the camps as “vocational skills and educational training centers” through updated legislation. This new form of legal recognition and substantiation for the region of Xinjiang’s actions marks a shift in the Chinese government’s attitude towards the camps, suggesting a sense of ownership rather than shame. Yet, the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China calls these camps “the largest mass incarceration of a minority population […]

Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
International Law

UAE Anti-Terrorism Policy: A Step In The Right Direction

November 15, 2018 Eliza Farley 0

In efforts to comply with UN anti-terrorism policy and show a commitment to anti-terrorism, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) passed a law to curtail money laundering and terrorism financing on October 23. This piece of legislation comes after many decades of the UAE being scrutinized in the international sphere for aiding terrorists and having a lax militant financing policy, and serves as a fundamental pillar for countering terrorism in an area which has never seen such a law passed. The UAE expects this law to decrease militancy and paralyze international terrorism funding. UAE Terrorism History The United Arab Emirates has an unfortunate history of involvement with terrorism. Though there have been no official links to state sponsored terrorism, the nation has long been  used by investors to raise money in support of militants in the Middle East. Despite efforts by the UAE government to enforce a zero tolerance policy on […]

Renewable Energy
International Law

Germany’s Environmental Policy: A Deeper Look

November 1, 2018 Chloe Meyers 0

On May 11, 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany would be phasing out all nuclear energy and shutting down all seventeen of Germany’s nuclear power stations by 2022. This monumental and groundbreaking decision put Germany in the spotlight and called attention to Germany’s overarching emphasis on environmental policies. Throughout history, Germany has proven to be one of the most environmentally friendly, if not the most environmentally friendly, countries in the world both through their policies and their citizens’ commitment to sustainability. Germany has several environmental laws that set them apart from the rest of the world and elevates their commitment to the environment. A few notable policies include the Renewable Energy Act, the Eco-tax, the Cogeneration Act, the Energy Conservation Act, the Energy Conservation Ordinance, and the Ecodesign Directive (ErP). The Renewable Energy Sources Act The Renewable Energy Sources Act is probably the most essential aspect of Germany’s […]

Noose
International Law

Malaysia to Abolish Death Penalty

October 30, 2018 Eliza Farley 0

Malaysia’s Chief Minister announced on October 3rd, that the nation will abolish the death penalty for all crimes, and will nullify all pending executions. This comes after a push from human rights activists and organizations, including but not limited to Amnesty International. Malaysia has been known for keeping their death row prisoners in the dark about their execution dates as well as the results of their appeals. The country is also notoriously strict about enforcing the death penalty, as it is a mandatory punishment for a wide range of crimes, including charges such as drug possession. In fact, there have been tourists in the country executed for such crimes, despite backlash from western nations. Such an instance occurred in 1986 when two Australian citizens, Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers, were found with heroin on their person. The harsh Malaysian government had just newly prescribed death for anyone possessing over 15 grams, […]

The Aquarius in 2017
International Law

The African Refugee Crisis: Claiming Asylum in the European Union

October 26, 2018 Nora Benmamoun 0

This past summer, the Aquarius Migrant search and rescue ship run by Doctors Without Borders landed on Italy’s coast carrying 629 migrants. The migrants came from 26 countries in Africa, and includes 123 minors, 11 small children, and seven pregnant women. All of the migrants were rescued by the Aquarius from six boats that were overcrowded in the Mediterranean. Aquarius currently monitors the area between the coast of Libya and Italy, as many refugees coming from sub-Saharan Africa pass through Libya on their way to Italy. Italy’s far-right Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, refused the ship, saying “Rescuing lives is a duty, transforming Italy into an enormous refugee camp is not. Italy has stopped bowing its head and obeying.” Italy directed Aquarius towards Malta, claiming that the ship was closer to their coast. Malta also refused the ship, deferring responsibility back to Italy. After being stranded at sea for a week, […]

International Law

Indefinite Solitary Confinement Ruled Unconstitutional in British Columbia

April 5, 2018 Hunter Snowden 0

Summary: The Supreme Court of BC has classified indefinite solitary confinement as a form of torture and a breach of Canadian prisoners’ rights. On January 17, 2018, the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled Canadian prisons’ use of indefinite solitary confinement unconstitutional. The court ruled that the practice of allowing the wardens to place an unjustified expiration date on prisoners’ time in solitary was equivalent to torture and placed them at an increased risk of self-harm and suicide. Justice Peter Leask wrote in his decision that this indefinite administrative segregation violated the rights afforded to prisoners under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, specifically the right to not be deprived of the security of life and the person protected by this section. While this section does clarify that these rights are subject to seizure in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice, Leask did not believe that […]

International Law

“Violence Begets Violence”: Addressing Chile’s Anti-Terrorist Laws

March 8, 2018 Joshua Smith 0

In recent address to the Mapuche indigenous population, Pope Francis implored the community to refrain from violent demonstration. Before the papal address, he was received with the firebombing of three churches with no recorded injuries. This week hails the return of a presidential administration known for aggression, while the past several weeks illustrate the reignited conflict surrounding the Chilean government’s use of anti-terrorist tactics to prosecute demonstrators. In the South of Chile, urges for peace collide with outcries for change. The Araucanía Region hosts this conflict. The region is composed of subsidized tracts of land purchased by private developers disputed by the indigenous populations.  The commodification of this territory followed the administration of  General Augusto Pinochet. His regime was toppled in 1990. The Chilean economy has since grown to be heavily extractive at great cost to the Mapuche, according to Silverio Loncopán, a community leader in a region adjacent to […]

International Law

France: Safe State or Police State?

November 15, 2017 Hunter Snowden 0

Summary: France introduces new controversial terrorism bill but faces large resistance from European Union and human rights organizations. On November 1st, French President Emmanuel Macron signed into law a controversial anti-terrorism bill that would make permanent some of the conditions that were enacted under the state of emergency declared by President François Hollande in 2015. The new bill allows police to search property, conduct interrogations, and make arrests, all without a warrant, should the police believe the suspects to be of a threat to national security. Prior to the declaration of the the state of emergency, such acts would have required approval from a judge. Concerns have been raised by humans rights group from within and outside France. The groups are worried that the vague language of the bill — that allows law enforcement to close mosques that they accuse of preaching hate — will be used to discriminate against […]

International Law

Catalonia: Civil War or Legal Secession?

October 25, 2017 Hunter Snowden 0

Summary: Catalonia is looking at the best opportunity for secession it has ever had but the Spanish government has deemed it unconstitutional. On October 1, 2017, Catalans stared down armed national police and tear gas to take their first proper steps towards independence from Spain. Meeting large resistance from the federal government in Madrid, Catalonia held a referendum vote to decide whether or not they would remain part of Spain. Despite 90% of the votes cast being in favor of independence, the Spanish Prime Minister went on national TV later in the day to say that “no official referendum had been held” and that any attempt at a referendum was unconstitutional. Are the people of Catalan actually engaging in an act of state-sponsored resistance? If they are not, is this another piece of the plan of the Spanish government to hold onto a part of their country that constitutes over […]