MJIL Online

MJIL Online brings you timely short-form articles that represent a wide range of views on contemporary issues in international law. The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors only.


Julie Kornfeld, Associate Editor, Michigan Journal of International Law
On August 7, 2014 the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (hereinafter ‘the ECCC’) entered a historic verdict for Cambodian and international jurisprudence. The ECCC found two defendants guilty of crimes against humanity, persecution on political grounds, and other inhumane acts.[i] The defendants, Nuon Chea, the Deputy Secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK), and Khieu Samphan, the Head of State of the CPK, were sentenced to life imprisonment.[ii] This case, known as 002-1, marks the second time the ECCC has reached a guilty verdict.[iii] The verdict brings long awaited justice to Cambodians who have waited 35 years for a conviction to affirm that Khmer Rouge leaders were complicit in some of the worst human rights abuses of the second half of the 20th century. The verdict also has implications outside Cambodia’s borders. As one of the few examples of an alternative mixed tribunal, the ECCC shows how international and domestic criminal law can successfully interact with each other.

The ECCC is a hybrid criminal court that involves shared duties between the United Nations and the Royal Cambodian Government.[iv] Discussions about the creation of a tribunal to prosecute crimes committed by the

Daniella Regencia, Executive Editor of the Michigan Journal of International Law
While most followers of pop culture are currently waiting with bated breath for the White House’s response to the deport Justin Bieber petition,[1] another young pop star is bringing to the spotlight questions of foundational legal principles. Liam Payne, of the boy band One Direction, came under fire for sending a Twitter message to Duck Dynasty patriarch Willie Robertson in support of his “family values”[2] and for later posting a Twitter rant where he espoused the ideals of free speech.[3] Free speech has long been a hallmark of the American legal and cultural tradition, but Payne hails from the United Kingdom. The UK, while frequently America’s staunch supporter, diverges greatly from our tradition in this area of law.

Freedom of speech in the UK is governed by common law and parliamentary acts.[4] The foundational statute for freedom of expression is the Human Rights Act of 1998.[5] This act incorporated the European Convention of Human Rights into the UK’s domestic law.[6] Since that time, a number of cases have been decided interpreting this Act. One of the earliest cases to balance a newspaper’s right to freedom of expression with an individual’s right

Gracie Willis, Associate Editor, Michigan Journal of International Law
In October 2012, Uruguay passed into law a regionally unique system providing for women to have access to abortive services.  In June 2013, the law withstood a call for repeal by referendum.  To repeal the law, a full quarter of the population would have been required to vote.  In the end, not even one-third of that number turned out.  With the law withstanding the challenge and secure from repeal, abortions during the first trimester are currently legally accessible for women in Uruguay.  Uruguay’s law is considered a victory for advocates of reproductive justice and access to reproductive health within the conservative region of Latin America.  In that way, it is useful to situate it in comparison to other Latin American countries to evaluate the extent of the difference and the character of the law itself.

The Uruguayan Law

Prior to the passage of the abortion bill in October 2012, abortion in all forms was criminalized in Uruguay.[1]  The primary function of Law 18.987, Interrupción Voluntaria Del Embarazo, was to decriminalize first trimester abortions for Uruguayan women.[2]  In addition, the law sets out requirements for the decriminalized procedure along with exceptions to criminalization after the

Ian Murray, Associate Editor, Michigan Journal of International Law
While the overall scope and accompanying costs of global climate change remain uncertain, one aspect of the international environmental landscape is presently clear: water (clean water in particular) is becoming increasingly scarce.[1] Due in part to the intensifying depletion of underground fresh water aquifers, over 2 billion people lack access to clean water on a daily basis, and another 1 billion people do not have enough water to meet basic daily needs.[2] Policy debates surrounding the implications of global climate change abound, but the reality on the ground suggests that the world is already dealing with the initial effects of a global water crisis. The effects of the looming global water crisis will only be exacerbated as the world presses further into the 21st century, with international tensions likely to develop as the battle for previously untapped water sources begins.[3] Some of these untapped water sources will likely come in the form of coastal undersea freshwater aquifers, a form of fresh water that has only been recently discovered and has never before been accessed for the purposes of mass domestic or industrial use.[4] International competition for the rights to the water contained

Josh La Vigne, Associate Editor, Michigan Journal of International Law
Addressing Internet gambling provokes substantial debate. The two options for completing this task are prohibition and regulation. Due to the strong moral arguments against gambling in general, the debate involves much more than innocuous technical concerns in attempting to reach the “right” answer. This post will approach the issue from the viewpoint that regulation is the proper avenue and discuss some of the barriers involved in implementing a regulation strategy. These barriers include the “borderless nature” of the Internet, differing opinions on the morality of gambling, and variance in tax rates among jurisdictions.

At the base level, regulation by a single country will likely be insufficient. Due to the “borderless nature” of the Internet, efforts to regulate Internet gambling would be severely undermined, if not completely ineffective, without some type of international consensus.[1] Due to the aforementioned nature of the Internet, providers of online gambling services are free to locate in the jurisdiction of their choice and reach users all over the world. Without international regulation, providers are free to dodge regulations of one country or state by simply moving to another jurisdiction with fewer restraints and regulations. [2] International consensus is necessary

Daniella Regencia, Associate Editor, Michigan Journal of International Law
Since its inception the United States has been a place for the wanderers of the world to come and start a new life. As of 2012, legal permanent residents made up about four percent of America’s population.[1] The undocumented immigrant population as of 2012 was estimated to be around 11.5 million, or 3.67 percent of the population.[2] There are also foreign-born citizens who would have been considered immigrants at one point, therefore adding overall to the number of immigrants who have come into the United States.

The European Union has a similarly sized immigrant population. The foreign-born population in the European Union was about 20.7 million people in 2012, or 4.1 percent of the population.[3] Undocumented immigration has not been as widespread of an issue in the European Union until recently. [4] One estimate has the undocumented population in the United Kingdom as 900,000, or 400,000 more than Italy, which has the next largest undocumented immigrant population in Europe.[5] These statistics show that migration is alive and well in the United States and the European Union and, therefore, sensible polices will have to be created and implemented.

In the United States, the last major

Gracie Willis, Associate Editor, Michigan Journal of International Law
Historical Context

In June and July of 2014, millions of people will travel to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[1]  In preparation for this event and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian government has pumped billions of public and private dollars into a new infrastructure.[2]  Part of Brazil’s struggle to update key areas and develop a supportive infrastructure is to deal with the problem of favelas, or Brazilian slums.[3]   The municipal governments, in removing favela residents, purport to be assisting the residents, imparting that the slums are inappropriate and dangerous places to live.  Officials state that they are offering former residents dignity by offering them compensation packages for their homes.[4]  In reality, those who don’t accept the “pittance” offered for their self-built homes (often family homes spanning generations) are evicted anyway.[5]  The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Raquel Rolnik, has stated that she is “concerned about the very limited compensation offered to the communities affected, which is even more striking given the increased value of real estate in locations where building is taking place for these events.  Insufficient compensation can result in homelessness and

Rory Pulvino, Associate Editor, Michigan Journal of International Law
Many people in the developing world suffer under extractive institutions, governments that don’t have the infrastructure or possibly the motivation to protect its citizens from harm. Within these jurisdictions poor citizens must endure genocide, cruel or inhuman treatment, torture, forced labor and many other civil right violations for which the U.S. gives redress. Many of these abuses are perpetuated by large corporations that seek to exploit the resources and people in the developing world, knowing that these countries lack the inclusive government structures to hold them accountable. Given these harms and the lack of legal recourse within the countries where the injuries occur, some of these victims have sought relief in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, or in international courts. Recent signs and decisions from the Supreme Court of the United States have implied limiting such claims due to serious policy and jurisdictional concerns.[1] In contrast, the United Kingdom may have recently signaled a move towards opening such avenues for alien claims to be brought within British courts.[2]

Passed during the First Congress in 1789, the ATS originally envisioned allowing claims on at least three bases: “violation of

Ian Murray, Associate Editor, Michigan Journal of International Law
Regulation surrounding recent shale oil and gas development and extraction in the United States is largely in the hands of individual states, but it remains to be seen if this regulatory approach will be readily replicated in the international energy landscape as shale markets start to emerge in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.[1]

The United States and Canada are often thought of as the major players in the shale oil and gas commercial markets, but nonconventional oil and gas extraction is becoming increasingly popular worldwide.[2]  Gas and oil, when extracted from shale, offer an opportunity for nations to dramatically lower the cost of natural gas, an opportunity borne by the mechanism of vastly increasing domestic energy self-sufficiency.[3] However, a decision to push towards shale exploration (and more broadly shifting from domestic oil and gas import to domestic oil and gas export) comes with significant costs, namely environmental concerns and the issue of cutting ties with traditional oil powers in the Middle East.[4] As a result, international political agendas and the push towards regional or continent-specific regulatory schemes in several geographic areas of the world will likely be major factors included in the

Special Feature

James C. Hathaway
"Introduction to the Sixth Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law"

Sixth Colloquium Participants
"Michigan Guidelines on the Exclusion of International Criminals" // English | French

Jennifer Bond
"Principled Exclusions: A Revised Approach to Article 1(F)(A) of the Refugee Convention"


Jens David Ohlin
"Targeting and the Concept of Intent"

Uche Ewelukwa Ofodile
"Africa-China Bilateral Investment Treaties: A Critique"

Student Note

Ezekiel Rediker
"Courts of Appeal and Colonialism in the British Caribbean: A Case for the Caribbean Court of Justice"

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Rory Pulvino, Associate Editor, Michigan Journal of International Law
The right of security of land tenure has vast implications for the possible improvement of those living in developing countries. This right has been interpreted as the right of every person and group to effective protection by the state against forced evictions, the possibility of selling and transferring, and the possibility of utilizing land as credit.[1] By securing land tenure people are more confident in and more able to assert other ‘sticks’ in the bundle of land rights such as the “way in which the land may be used, the profit that may be derived from it, or the manner in which some or all of the rights may be disposed of.”[2] Security of tenure begins with recognition by outside parties, including the state, of the rights of use, ownership and possession to a parcel of land. This recognition can be and likely must be secured through a variety of registration systems ranging from the informal/customary to the formal.[3] State recognition of land registration strengthens tenure security, a right secured under the right to adequate housing[4] and may be the beginning of strengthening ties of people to their land which has vast

Alexandre Klidonas, Associate Editor, Michigan Journal of International Law
As the Greek parliament continues to approve new austerity measures,[1] two political parties have emerged that advocate the abandonment of the euro currency.[2] Formed in May, the Drachma Five party has called for a return to the drachma,[3] the currency replaced by the euro in 2002.[4] Similarly, the Plan B party, which launched earlier this year, has urged that Greece return to its national currency.[5] The Plan B party’s leader, Alekos Alavanos, has opposed the austerity measures and has advocated that Greece depart from the Eurozone,[6] the term that refers to the seventeen European Union member states that have adopted the euro currency.[7] Mr. Alavanos has stated that leaving the common currency would be a “little shock” but through devaluation of the drachma, the country would benefit from the return of its national currency.[8]

The formation of these two political parties comes amid declining support for the euro currency in recent months.[9] 59 percent of Greeks support the euro, down from 70 percent.[10] Negative views of the euro have increased to 38 percent as the number of Greeks who believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction has grown.[11]

In light of

Melan Patel, Associate Editor, Michigan Journal of International Law
The Security Council reached an agreement on what to do with Syria’s chemical weapons, avoiding yet another black mark on the institution.[i] It also bought some time for reform. Alas, we know from history that reform most likely will not occur, and the Security Council will continue to destabilize and discredit the UN. How? Its simple: continued reliance on the veto, whether hidden or explicit, by the five permanent members. This power has, and continues to be the bane of the UN.

Article 27 of the UN Charter allows permanent members of the Security Council to quash a resolution with a negative vote.[ii] This veto power has always been an umbrella over the Security Council. Throughout the Cold War, the veto dominated policy as the U.S. and Soviet Union battled amongst each other regarding peacekeeping operations.[iii] At the conclusion of the war, veto usage drastically fell; however, this has not spelled the end of the veto. A “pocket veto” has emerged.[iv] Since the council conducts its business in private sessions, members have freedom to pressure and bully less powerful members with the threat of the veto. Thus, the veto, while declining in

Michigan Guidelines on the Exclusion of International Criminals // English | French

Yossi Dahan, Hanna Lerner, & Faina Milman-Sivan
Shared Responsibility and the International Labour Organization

Keith A. Petty
Humanity and National Security: The Law of Mass Atrocity Response Operations

Jesse Medlong (Student Note)
All Other Breaches: State Practice and the Geneva Conventions' Nebulous Class of Less Discussed Prohibitions

Anonymous (Student Note)
A Dual Track Approach to Challenge Chinese Censorship in the WTO: The (Future) Case of Google and Facebook

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 European Integration Through Law: Judicial Review of the Eurozone Crisis in European National, Regional and Supranational Courts

The symposium explores the legal response to the European financial crisis, and the judicial review of those measures. Our authors come from different countries and backgrounds but have come together to discuss modern issues in European law. The Symposium considers themes raised in judicial review of the anti-crisis measures at the national, regional and supranational level. We have provided a more detailed foreword below, as well as a link to a profile of the project's convenors, posted on the University of Michigan Law School's homepage. We recommend reading the foreword, perusing the articles, and adding any comments below. We hope you enjoy this new format.

Symposium Foreword
Michigan Law Article


Advocate General Juliane Kokott, Speech, Perspectives on the Role of the Advocate General in the Eurozone Rescue Decision: Advocate General Kokott on Pringle v. Ireland [Delivered March 6, 2013] // English | German

Elaine Fahey & Samo Bardutzky, Judicial Review of Eurozone Law: The Adjudication of Postnational Norms in the EU Courts, Plural - A Case Study of the European Stability Mechanism // PDF

Giuseppe Martinico, The Impact of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance on the National Constitutional Structure: The Regional

Scott P. Sheeran

Under International Human Rights Law: Theory, Legal Doctrine, and Politics

Mark A. Drumbl

"She Makes Me Ashamed to be a Woman": The Genocide Conviction of Pauline Nyiramasuhko, 2011

Laura Pedraza-Fariña

Conceptions of Civil Society in International Lawmaking and Implementation: A Theoretical Framework

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Harlan Grant Cohen
International Law's Erie Moment

Karen N. Scott
International Law in the Anthropocene: Responding to the Geoengineering Challenge

André Nollkaemper & Dov Jacobs
Shared Responsibility in International Law: A Conceptual Framework

Alexandra Link (Student Note)
Trying Terrorism: Joint Criminal Enterprise, Material Support, and the Paradox of International Criminal Law

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Cite as: James C. Hathaway, The Michigan Guidelines on the Exclusion of International Criminals, 35 Mich. J. Int'l L. 3 (2013).


English / French / Spanish
Article 1(F)(a) of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (“Convention”) requires the exclusion from refugee status of “... any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that... he has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes.”

Current state practice relating to Article 1(F)(a) exclusion fails to draw consistently on international criminal law, as is mandated by the Convention’s text. The process of drawing on international criminal law is in any event complex given both the continuing evolution of international criminal law and normative divergence among the interpretations adopted by courts and national authorities. Most important, there has been a failure to recognize that international criminal law must be drawn upon in a way that takes full account of key differences between the purpose and structure of international criminal law and those of international refugee law. In the result, Article 1(F)(a) is prone to misapplication, leading

Omar M. Dajani
Contractualism in the Law of Treaties

Anna T. Katselas
Do Investment Treaties Prescribe a Deferential Standard of Review? A Comparative analysis of the U.S. Administrative Procedure Act's Arbitrary and Capricious Standard of Review and the Fair and Equitable Treatment and Arbitrary or Discriminatory Measures Treaty Standards

Wentong Zheng
Reforming Trade Remedies

Stephen Rooke (Student Note)
SATMED: Legal Aspects of the Physical Layer of Satellite Telemedicine

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George K. Foster
Foreign Investment and Indigenous Peoples: Options for Promoting Equilibrium Between Economic Development and Indigenous Rights

Barbara Miltner
Revisiting Extraterritoriality After Al-Skeini: The ECHR and Its Lessons

Ziv Bohrer
Is the Prosecution of War Crimes Just and Effective? Rethinking the Lessons from Sociology and Psychology

Matthew G. Snyder (Student Note)
GSP and Development: Increasing the Effectiveness of Nonreciprocal Preferences

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Molly Land
Rebalancing TRIPS

Janelle M. Diller
Private Standardization in Public International Lawmaking

Tony Cole
The Boundaries of Most Favored Nation Treatment in International Investment Law

Usman Ahmed & Raghav Thapar (Student Note)
Security Council Resolution 1887 and the Quest for Nuclear Disarmament

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Jonathan H. Marks
Toward a Unified Theory of Professional Ethics and Human Rights

Margaret M. deGuzman
Choosing to Prosecute: Expressive Selection at the International Criminal Court

Nancy Amoury Combs
Legitimizing International Criminal Justice: The Importance of Process Control

Stijn van Osch (Student Note)
Save Our Sharks: Using International Fisheries Law Within Regional Fisheries Management Organizations to Improve Shark Conservation

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Eric Stein in Memoriam
Contributions from James C. Hathaway, John H. Jackson, Theodore J. St. Antoine, Bruno Simma, Carl. A. Valenstein, Joseph Vining, William Adams, Susanne Baer, Lee C. Bollinger, and Jacques Bourgeouis

Bridgette A. Carr
Special Symposium Feature: Successes and Failures in International Human Trafficking Law: Introduction

Ambassador Luis CdeBaca
Special Symposium Feature: Successes and Failures in International Human Trafficking Law: Keynote Address

Jonathan Todres
Special Symposium Feature: Successes and Failures in International Human Trafficking Law: Widening Our Lens: Incorporating Essential Perspectives in the Fight against Human Trafficking: Essay

Saadiya Chaudary
Special Symposium Feature: Successes and Failures in International Human Trafficking Law: Trafficking in Europe: An analysis of the Effectiveness of European Law: Essay

Mohamed Y. Mattar
Special Symposium Feature: Human Rights Legislation in the Arab World: the case of Human Trafficking: Essay

Max Waltman
Special Symposium Feature: Prohibiting Sex Purchasing and Ending Trafficking: The Swedish Prostitution Law: Essay

Jennifer Shkabatur
Special Symposium Feature: Global Panopticon - The Changing Role of International Organizations in the Information Age

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