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United Nations; Venezuela: Alarm over Purported Draft Media Law

(Aug. 18, 2009) On August 10, 2009, Frank La Rue, who has served since August 2008 as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, expressed concern about a proposed Venezuelan media law that “could be used as a tool for political intimidation” through […]

United Nations: Panel Pays Reparations for Kuwait Invasion

(July 31, 2009) On July 29, 2009, the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) paid a total of $430 million to settle the damage claims arising from the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Together with earlier payments, this action brings the total amount paid by the UNCC to close to $28 billion. The UNCC, based […]

United Nations: New Protocol to Make Reporting of Pollutants in Europe Legally Binding

(July 22, 2009) On July 10, 2009, France ratified the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (done at Kiev, May 21, 2003)—the first legally binding pact of its kind—and in so doing triggered the agreement's entry into force 90 days thereafter, on October 8, 2009. Thirty-six countries and the European Community have signed the […]

United Nations: War Crimes Judges’ Terms Extended

(July 10, 2009) On July 7, 2009, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted two resolutions to extend the terms of service of judges on two different war crimes tribunals, in order to complete pending cases. The decision affects judges dealing with the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the war in the Balkan region in […]

Cambodia; United Nations: Threats to Lawyers Raise Concerns

(July 7, 2009) On July 1, 2009, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Leandro Despouy, expressed concern about a restrictive atmosphere affecting how lawyers represent clients in Cambodia. Some attorneys have themselves faced criminal charges in the course of representing their clients. Despouy explained his concern, stating that to “be […]

United Nations; World Trade Organization: Report on Connection Between Climate Change and Trade Issued

(July 1, 2009) The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Environment Programme released a report on June 26, 2009, detailing the connections between trade and climate change. The document “examines the intersections between trade and climate change from four perspectives: the science of climate change; economics; multilateral efforts to tackle climate change; and […]

United Nations: New Tribunals to Handle Staff Complaints

(June 26, 2009) On June 22, 2009, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke at the swearing in of judges for two new tribunals. Ban's hope that the new system will boost accountability will be tested when the tribunals begin operations on July 1. The two bodies, The U.N. Dispute Tribunal and the U.N. Appeals Tribunal, […]

United Nations: Treaty on Shipbreaking

(May 26, 2009) On May 15, 2009, a new treaty on shipbreaking was signed in Hong Kong by 66 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, and South Africa. The treaty was sponsored by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for safety and security at sea and prevention of marine pollution […]

Cambodia; United Nations: Ethics Monitor Proposed for ECCC

(Apr. 14, 2009) United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Peter Taksoe-Jensen, on April 8, 2009, proposed an ethics monitoring mechanism for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), a U.N.-backed tribunal in Cambodia. The tribunal was established in 2003 to try those suspected of genocide and other crimes committed during the Khmer […]

Burma; United Nations: U.N. Opinion Finds Activist’s Detention Violates Myanmar Domestic Law

(Apr. 13, 2009) The United Nations has stated, for the first time, that the detention of pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi by the military regime of Burma (Myanmar) was in violation of not only international but also domestic law. The statement appears in Opinion No. 46/2008 of the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention […]