international law

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 […]

International Law

A Pen Without a Sword: The International Criminal Court

April 6, 2017 William Tong 0

International criminal law is defined by lofty goals. The branch of law seeks to establish direct criminal responsibility for individuals across state lines by creating transnational mechanisms for adjudication and enforcement of international human rights treaties. The main body for this adjudicative process is the International Criminal Court, (ICC) established by the 1998 Rome Statute. Although the ICC is supposedly the court of last resort for individual criminal activities, it is plagued by problems. The first problem concerns a lack of stakeholders. Several major countries currently do not participate in the ICC. The United States and Russia, while signatories to the Rome Statute, have yet to ratify it. China and India are not signatories at all. Additionally, multiple African nations such as Burundi, South Africa, and Gambia have recently exited from the ICC. Several others, including Uganda and Kenya, seem likely to follow suit. This mass exodus from the stems largely from accusations that the ICC is biased against African nations. In an official statement, the Gambian government noted that “there are […]