International Law

Back to the Course Home Page


Link(s) O' the Day(s) for the first half of the course

For the weeks of January 20th, January 27th, February 3rd, February 10th, February 17th, February 22nd, and March 3rd.

{Link(s) O' the Day(s) for the second half of the course are here.}


Wednesday, January 20

An International Law Kind of Day: January 12, 1999

January 20, 1944 Writ Large: The Royal Air Force (RAF) Bombing Campaign in World War II

Digression o' the Day: Be Like Mike for Just a Dozen Dollars

Thursday, January 21

All Those Consenting to Jurisdiction May Say Either "Yes" or "Oui": The ICJ's bilingual site

Friday, January 22

The Many Uses of Treaties: Cohen Announces US Missile Defense Plans, Including Plans re ABM Treaty

Digression o' the Day: "That's 'Yo, Mr. Einstein--One Way Street!' to You, Buddy"

Wednesday, January 27

Repeat Players and the Ambiguities of "Institution": Russian Responses to US Missile-Defense Plans Are Negative

Digression o' the Day: Snapshot of a World in Which Actors Struggle Endlessly for Relative Gains Against a Backdrop of Uncertain and Mutable Intentions, Widely Distributed Opportunities To Do Damage to Opponents, Concerns for Cheating, and a Non-Trivial Possibility of Ultimate Extinction

Thursday, January 28

History: The Korean War from the US Army Center of Military History (scroll down and click on "Korean War")

Law: The UN Charter and UN Security Council Resolutions (from 1973 onwards only)

Digression o' the Day (suggested after class by some of you): Youngstown per Springsteen, J. (Track 4)

Friday, January 29

Law-Review Wannabees, Take Note: There's No Period After the "S" in Harry S Truman

Wednesday, February 3

{Class Canceled, Due to Illness, but Help May Be on the Way}

Thursday, February 4

{Class Canceled, Again Due to (Now-Diagnosed) Illness}

Friday, February 5

The History of the NPT, courtesy of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

(Sung to the tune of "Old MacDonald"): "And in that Atom, There Was a Proton -- IAEAO"

The digression o' the day concerns nuclear submarines, Homer Simpson, and TEAM SPIRIT.

Wednesday, February 10 -- A Variety of Issues Currently Swirling Around the Korean Peninsula

Law (the NPT) and Politics: US SecDef rejects North Korean offer to exchange inspections for $300 million

Law (the Agreed Framework) and Politics: US Breach of Agreed Framework?

Politics: North Korea Tests Long-Range Missile

Law (War and Peace) and Politics: Four-Party Negotiations on Officially Ending the Korean War

Issue Overlap: Inspections and the Four-Party Negotiations

Thursday, February 11

As Fresh as It Gets: Today's CNN Story About Korea

Two other stories from CNN on this day focus on international policy, though not on Korea.  A now-missing story emphasized domestic politics (i.e., the interaction between the US Congress and the US President), while the other emphasizes international law and international politics (in the form of an international organization, i.e. the United Nations, weighing in on a trans-border armed conflict).

Digression o' the Day:  Today's digression (about time travel and Star Trek) is long enough, and digressive enough, to have its own page rather than inflict it upon the main links page.

Friday, February 12

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is the primary US governmental entity charged with representing the United States in international trade negotiatons, although agencies like the Department of State's Bureau of Economic Affairs, the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration, and the Department of the Treasury's US Customs Service are among those other agencies that also play a role in international trade policy.  For some idea of the variety of real-life trade issues, and the frequent but not inevitable involvement of international law therein, take a look at the USTR's press releases for January 1999.

Digression o' the Day: Where is Caledonia?

Wednesday, February 17

The many languages spoken by citizens of the European Union's 15 member nations, as well as a commitment by the EU to make all documents available in all member-state languages, make the EU the largest employer of translators in the world.  You may choose among 11 languages on the Web site or just go to the English-language home page.   Of most direct relevance to today's meeting are the pages on the institutions of the European Union, including quite a few that we did not have time to discuss in class, as well as the pages leading to a chronological history of the EU (a bit awkwardly structured, in my view) and to a thematic history of the EU.

The (semi-)digression o' the day concerns Luxembourg, its currency, and its neighbor to the south.

Thursday, February 18

The on-line version of the Washington Post story on petty bureaucrats upset at the non-petit EU delegation at the G-7 meeting was here.   You may desire more information on the G-7.   The G-7 is known as the G-8 when they invite Russia along.  See explanation.

A meeting between Jacques Chirac (he of the internally rhymed name) and US President William Jefferson Clinton is to occur, with two foci:

  1. Iraq, and most particularly, on whether trade sanctions on Iraq--which all UN members have been obliged to impose under Security Council Resolution 661--should be lifted despite Iraq's imperfect observance of the rights granted weapons inspectors by Security Council Resolution 687, Paragraph 9, Sub-paragraph (b), Sub-sub-paragraph (i); and
  2. currency-exchange policy matters, especially as related to the Euro and especially on whether to favor governmental intervention outside a specified range of exchange rates and thus to adopt a partially "dirty" system of floating exchange).

The CNN story about the Clinton-Chirac meeting is gone, but there is a CNN story that, about two-thirds of the way through the story, mentions that bananas were "on the agenda" at the meeting.

I couldn't find a story about a new US ultimatum to North Korea on CNN On-Line, but I did find a neat page about how radio works

In terms of the US and North Korea, I did find a now-removed story about North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's nation-wide birthday celebration.   Government officials in North Korea praised the just-turned-57-years-old leader for focusing on building up the Army and urged the people of North Korea to be willing to risk their lives for him.  (President Clinton's 53rd birthday will be on August 19th of this year, according to an alphabetized list of famous people's birthdays.  You can get some idea of how different a country the US is from North Korea by imagining cabinet officers praising President Clinton for focusing on a national military build-up and then urging US citizens to risk their lives for President Clinton.  This country is more famous, in terms of presidential-birthday wishes, for the time that Marilyn Monroe sang "Happy Birthday" to President Kennedy.  Listen to her rendition here by scrolling down to "mrpres.wav" and clicking on that title.)

A story about Turkey's current policy towards the Kurds--bombing them--is available here.  (The Iraqis also bombed the Kurds--leading in whole or in part to a UN Security Council Resolution (No. 688) condemning such actions, to a variety of humanitarian aid to the affected Kurds, and to a no-fly zone over northern Iraq.)  A site entitled the "Kurdistan Web" includes links to a variety of relevant legal documents (both international and otherwise), as well as a section on applicable human-rights law.  Human-rights law  is an area of international law that we won't cover much in the course, but it certainly provides an interesting example of the power of legalistic formulations to capture the vocabulary of political debates, and in the case of international law in Europe both the ECJ and the  European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) are functioning courts that make human-rights decisions.  Indeed, the ECHR has heard at least one case very much involved with the Turkish government and Kurdish issues.  (Recall that the ECHR is not part of the European Union's institutions.  The ECHR is subordinated to the Council of Europe, a 40-member body of European nations itself not to be confused with the EU's Council of Ministers.  For Turkish purposes, this is an important difference: Turkey is not a member of the EU and thus is not subject to ECJ decisions, including those on fundamental rights, but Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe and thus is subject to the jurisdiction of the ECHR.  Turkey and the EU do have a Customs Union as of December 31, 1995 (see the last entry in the EU's thematic history of "enlargement"), but Turkey has yet to obtain full membership in the EU--in significant part because of EU members' concerns about human-rights policy in Turkey.

Kosovo, where the Turks defeated the Serbs in 1389, is very much in the news, especially because NATO has threatened to bomb the Serbs if they don't make certain concessions regarding Kosovo.  Here, courtesy of CNN, is a news tory about Kosovo, including a whole slew of links in the vertical blue band down the page a bit on the right-hand side, as well as a timeline on Kosovo that starts with the 1389 battle.)  Recent history in Kosovo involves the UN and NATO (and thus, implicitly, the treaty procedures and substantive rules of the UN Charter and the North Atlantic Treaty), set against the backdrop of UN and NATO action in Bosnia, including a no-fly-zone operation over Bosnia authorized by UN Security Council Resolution No. 781.  (If you follow that link, you'll note that China abstained from that Resolution, which we know from our discussion of the Korean War does not block the Resolution--despite some arguments to the contrary that one might make from the text of the Charter.)

Note also that the latest developments in Iraq crucially involve the northern Iraqi no-fly zone.  There is also a southern Iraqi no-fly zone.  Both were created in the wake of the Gulf War without a UN Security Council Resolution as direct authorization, although the no-fly zones were intended in part to prevent the Iraqi government from harming Kurdish Iraqis in the north, and UN Security Council Resolution No. 688 provides general support for the prevention of such harm as a goal.   Turkey, by the way, provides bases crucial to the maintenance of the northern no-fly zone.

An in-class questioner asked whether the US sometimes intervenes in currency markets even though US governmental rhetoric strongly favors clean, floating exchange rates.  There's a story here that mentions a recent US intervention to prop up the Japanese yen; although the story doesn't go into the precise mechanics of the intervention, it's safe to assume that the US Federal Reserve Bank purchased (or promised to stand ready to purchase) Japanese yen for US dollars.   (This question was prefaced by the use of the phrase "bust your chops"; chops of various sorts are the digression o' the day.)

I ended our discussion of this variety of international matters by asking if anyone had traveled abroad.  Many of you had.  If any of you travel abroad in the future, whether domestically or abroad, beware of travel-agency scams that target the young but highly educated.

Friday, February 19

Here's Professor Eric Stein's page at the University of Michigan Law School.  (And here's non-Professor Ben Stein's page at Comedy Central.)

Here's Professor J.H.H. Weiller's page at the Harvard Law School.  Note that he holds the Jean Monnet chair, which is actually funded by the European Union.  Recall that the eponymous Monnet is typically cited with Robert Schuman--a Frenchman as well, despite a name that looks Germanic to me--as the conceptual architects of European economic integration.  Note also, if you scroll down Professor Weiller's page just a bit, that the Harvard Law School includes on their professorial Web pages a list of what topics the professor will discuss with the press.  As for Professor Weiller's beret, I don't know what to tell you.

Monday, February 22

The EU Web site's page on its institutions describes the ECJ in two sentences.   The first sentence doesn't mention the ECJ; the second sentence does.  Should both sentences have mentioned the ECJ?  Visit the two-sentence description.   A longer overview of the ECJ exists as part of the general EU pages.  The ECJ also has its own home page that includes this English-language index to a multi-page overview of the Court.

Wednesday, February 24 (1 p.m.)

The World Trade Organization has a fine Web site.  The "About the WTO" page begins a multi-page introduction to the Organization.  Note that the section on that page entitled, "A word of caution: the fine print," is implicitly rife with references to the difference between the primitive legal status of the pre-WTO GATT and the well-developed legal status of the WTO.  See the "About the WTO" page.   Visit the WTO's overall index page.

Wednesday, February 24 (4:30 p.m.)

The only on-line biography of Jim Bacchus that I found was here.  (This biography appears to be from his Congressional days and thus omits the most recent achievements in Mr. Bacchus' career.)  The law firm at which he works when not serving on the Appellate Body has a Web site here.

The Digression O' the Day involves the site from which the Bacchus biography came, as well as the Congress, the Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson's purchase of the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon, Napoleon's influence on modern European law, and the place where Napoleon met his Waterloo.  View that digression if you wish.

Thursday, February 25

The WTO's pages on its dispute-resolution system, including some on the Appellate Body, are indexed here.  Included among those pages are the Articles on Rules and Procedures in the Dispute Settlement Understanding, of which Articles 17-19 deal most directly with the Appellate Body and the issues we discussed in class.   When Mr. Bacchus referred to the rules that the members of the Appellate Body produced after sitting down with a blank legal pad, I believe that he was referring to the Working Procedures for Appellate Review.

Friday, February 26

On Sunday, February 28th, the index page for the site for Court TV included stories about disputes or decisions before:

Are all of these entities "courts"?  What characteristics of courts do they all share?  Which of the characteristics of a court do they share, or not share, with the WTO's Appellate Body? 

(I don't know how to preserve the Court TV site's February 28th appearance, so you may of course find a different set of featured disputes when you go there.  Feel free to ask the same questions about those disputes.)

Digression o' the Day:  Judge Judy, Janet Planet, and more.  All for free, all right here.

Wednesday, March 3rdnew.gif (111 bytes)

The Altapedia site, as mentioned in class, has both maps and country listings.  So does the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook

Here is the State Department's page on Independent States.  You have a hard-copy version in the readings, of course, but the on-line version is searchable and has some links to other places of potential interest, including the State Department's page on Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty, including the Isle of Man.

Digression 'o the Day: I incompletely characterized in class the nature of the warning on the Altapedia site: it warns you, not only that the site is monitored, but also that use of the site is subject to certain copyright restrictions.  The warning on the CIA's site--a page that deceptively bears "index.htm" as its name, despite the fact that the page contains no index--states, "The Government may monitor and audit the usage of this system ...."  What kind of spy agency tells you that it's watching you, anyway?

Thursday, March 4thnew.gif (111 bytes)

"Where's Bhutan?" you asked.  "Between India and China, and east of Nepal," is one answer.  Here's the CIA's map of Bhutan and the other nation-states in Asia, a map that shows all of the territories generating the controversies discussed on page 353 of the textbook: one Vietnam (near the southeast corner), two Koreas (near the eastern edge), and three Baltic nations (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, near the northwestern edge).

Digression o' the Day:  Today's Digression concerns the source of the quotation, "That government is best which governs least," or words to that effect.  Here it is.

Friday, March 5thnew.gif (111 bytes)

The link for last Friday was to Court TV.  The last of the Court TV stories discussed in that Link O' the Day was the court-martial of a US Marine pilot whose plane struck a ski-gondola cable in Italy, leading to the deaths of 20 people.  (Visit that Link O' the Day.)

This past week, that court-martial acquitted that pilot of charges of involuntary manslaughter (and all lesser charges).  CNN's story on the acquittal is here

A variety of characteristics of that court-martial are discussed in this related CNN story emphasizing the Pentagon's reaction to the acquittal.  Are the characteristics those of courts?  Of the law generally?  Of neither? 

A CNN story about the impact of the acquittal on Italo-US relations is here.  Note that this story emphasizes the difference between individual liability, i.e. the pilot's, and state liability, i.e. the United States government's.  We'll take up the subject of state liability, and some of the defenses thereto, soon.

We talked in class about the sovereignty of nation-states over their airspace.  At a few hundred feet, the US plane was clearly within Italian airspace in terms of altitude, and there was likewise no dispute that the territory over which the plane flew was Italian.  The US plane was in that airspace owing to a general cession by Italy of its airspace sovereignty, and a variety of international agreements govern the terms of US military operations in Italian airspace.  The US plane took off from an airbase in Italy at which the US has take-off and landing rights owing to international agreements.   And the US plane is based in Italy under the general umbrella of NATO, an inter-governmental organization with a treaty for its charter.

We talked in class about how nation-states assert sovereignty over both their territory and their citizens.  You may wish to note that the incident occurred on Italian soil, but that only 3 of the 20 individuals killed were Italian.  (CNN lists the dead as "[e]ight Germans, five Belgians, one Austrian, one Dutch person, two Poles and three Italians.") 

You may also note that Italy has not tried to prosecute the pilot directly.   Typically, the potentially overlapping jursidiction between the country where a foreign nation's military personnel is based and the country in which that personnel holds citizenship is resolved in advance (and in favor of the latter country) by an international legal agreement.

Note also that international cooperation--though whether it's international cooperation effected through an international legal instrument is certainly not clear from the stories--played an important part in the court-martial, with respect to whether US and Italian coordination of mapping information had been carried out properly.


Links(s) O' the Day(s) for the course continue(s) here.


Back to the top of this page.

Back to the Course Home Page.

For corrections, comments, and questions, please e-mail John Setear.

This page was last updated on 04/24/99.