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In an era in which multilateral trade arrangements have garnered more public notoriety than ever before, the suboptimal trade and investment relationship between America and Africa, as underpinned by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), is one of the less controversial ones. AGOA could nevertheless use some adjustments or augmentations to facilitate deeper U.S.-Africa commercial relations. For instance, adjusting AGOA's origin rules could nudge the private sector on both sides of the Atlantic towards gains for U.S. and African employment and the reduction of trade deficits. Africa must leverage the period before AGOA expires to redefine its trade relationship with the United States in innovative ways. The United States should welcome these measures, since the type of value that Africa would add to the global supply chain would not replace the high-quality jobs that the Trump Administration would like to see in the United States. In fact, this type of production would make U.S. manufacturing more competitive.
Symposium on Global Animal Law, Part II: The Case for Global Legal Animal Studies
The international trade of live animals, especially animals sold for slaughter, creates significant challenges for international law. Nonhuman animals do not fit neatly into the legal world created by humans. In nearly every jurisdiction, animals are property, but they are not like all other property. The sentience of animals has been widely recognized and it forms the basis of anticruelty laws where they exist. You may destroy your toaster any way you like, but the laws of most jurisdictions protect how you treat your dog. This fractured point in the law, animals as property and yet not exactly property, is the source of confusion in national laws, leading to unsatisfactory answers to questions such as what damages should be paid when a companion animal is negligently killed or whether individuals should own wildlife as “pets.”
The aim of this essay is to show how international law relates to the interaction of indigenous peoples and animals across international borders. While colonial borders have affected the lives of herding communities in Africa and while there are cross-border indigenous activities in different parts of Latin America, the situation in Northern Europe is particularly noteworthy. This is because cross-border activities are possible there not simply because effective border controls are difficult to ensure in such remote areas but mainly because several of the relevant states have the long-term political will to allow for cross-border activities. Particular attention will be given to the situation of the indigenous Sámi people. Their homeland, Sápmi, is governed by Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. The borders between Norway, Sweden, and Finland have been open since the Nordic Passport Union of 1952, significantly predating the Schengen Agreement of 1985, which allows for unhindered travel in large parts of Europe, including these countries.1 Finland and Sweden are members of the European Union, while Norway is part of the European Free Trade Area and of the Schengen Agreement; Russia imposes visa requirements on citizens of the three other states. With such limitations, the Russian part of Sápmi is effectively cut off from the Western parts. While the borders between Finland, Norway, and Sweden have long been open for many purposes, this openness does not fully take into account the needs of the indigenous Sámi people, who consider themselves to be one people and consider the Sápmi homeland as a whole.2 Today, only part of their ancestral homeland is recognized as Sámi home areas in the legal sense of the term and the Sámi are a minority in their own regions virtually throughout Sápmi. The transnational characteristic of the Sámi people serves to illustrate some of the challenges faced by indigenous peoples with traditional activities such as animal herding as a result of borders imposed on them by the nation states that govern their homelands, yet in which they usually constitute only a small minority.
In China, the wild animals and animal products that are sold through illegal trafficking are mainly those that can be made into medicines; are raw materials in the form of ivory, rhinoceros horns, and turtle shells; and are edible or have ornamental value, such as birds, monkeys, turtles, and lizards. Due to its rapid economic development over the past decade, China has become one of the world's largest wildlife markets. The main reasons for trafficking are a lack of viable substitutes for raw materials used in traditional Chinese medicines (e.g., bear bile, bear bile powder, pangolin, and other products); a preference in traditional food culture for delicacies made from wildlife; and of the private consumption by some rich and corrupt government officials of tiger's meat, bear's paw, pangolin and other wild animal products—bear's paw and pangolin being the most popular. This type of wild animal trafficking endangers the safety of animal species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and damages the international image of the government and people of China. Since 2013, under the frame of construction of ecological civilization, China has taken stricter measures on legislation, administrative enforcement, judicial adjudication, and international cooperation on prevention and punishment of illegal trafficking.
The goal of this essay is to sketch how, and with what effect, the problems of corruption and endangered animal trafficking have been linked in international law. To that end, I first compare and contrast the “hard law” legal frameworks on corruption and on animal trafficking. After that, I illustrate how those two regimes have been related in international reports, “soft” (nonbinding) international instruments, and UN Security Council resolutions. Finally, I caution against an automatic merger of these areas of law and agendas for global law reform. Like other transnational criminal laws, the anticorruption treaties have practical limitations, ideological biases, and potentials for unintended consequences. These features qualify their utility as “tools” in the fight for animal welfare. They may also mask the ways in which efforts to prevent and suppress wildlife trafficking are both anthropocentric and sources of human insecurity.
Cross-border trade, industry outsourcing, and increased animal migration are becoming pressing issues for numerous states and fundamentally challenge our conceptions of animal law as territorial. Instead of proposing that nations try to solve these problems by coming to agreement on low and mostly ineffective standards, this essay opens an unexplored and promising avenue for animal law: extraterritorial protection. Using the example of trophy hunting, the essay reveals the many established jurisdictional options that can help animal law to overcome regulatory gaps, and showcases how animal issues can thereby gain visibility on the international plane.
Symposium on Treaty Exit at the Interface of Domestic and International Law
Courts in the United Kingdom and South Africa have recently issued important rulings that have constrained the executive's authority to withdraw from treaties in those countries. This essay considers whether these rulings might offer insights for treaty exit issues in the United States. We first provide an overview of U.S. law and practice regarding the termination of international agreements. We next summarize the U.K. and South African decisions, which required parliamentary approval for pulling out of treaties establishing the European Union and the International Criminal Court (ICC), respectively. Finally, we consider the relevance of these rulings for treaty withdrawals in the United States. We conclude that they are unlikely to offer much guidance, both because of differences in the three countries' constitutions and because the reasoning of the U.K. and South African courts do not engage with the central arguments made in the United States concerning the President's unilateral authority to withdraw from treaties.
In “the constitutional case of the century,” the U.K. Supreme Court concluded that the Government did not possess the prerogative power to withdraw from the European Union. However, while it may be clear from the decision that legislation was required to empower the Government to notify the European Union of its intention to leave, the scope of the Court's reasoning in Miller is otherwise uncertain. At its broadest, the decision would apply to the withdrawal from any treaty that had created rights for individuals, regardless of whether such a treaty had been implemented into domestic law or not. At its narrowest, it only applies to the EU Treaties, which created a set of arrangements in international law that are so esoteric, they are unique to the European Union. To demonstrate how one judgment can generate such a range of interpretations, this essay unravels the different strands of argument running through the decision and considers the criticisms leveled by scholars. It will argue that whether U.K. law requires legislation to withdraw from a treaty depends upon the extent to which that treaty creates rights in domestic law, the constitutional importance of the legislation incorporating the treaty into U.K. law, and the circumstances in which a legal challenge to the use of the prerogative arises. Miller provides no general answer, merely a series of questions.
On March 29, 2017, the U.K. Government triggered Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) on withdrawal from the European Union following a referendum on June 23, 2016 in which 51.89 percent voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. As a hybrid provision, the much-discussed withdrawal provision in Article 50 TEU is part of EU law yet also anchored in public international law. Although the European Union is a unique, supranational organization that creates rights for individuals that are directly effective in national law, its member states created the European Union based on traditional treaties under international law.
An uneasy equilibrium exists with respect to how the United States exits international agreements. In general, exit is easy as a matter of legal doctrine but, for important agreements, difficult as a matter of political practice. While presidents can withdraw the United States from most major international agreements, they have done so only rarely—and never yet with deep costs to the stability of our world order.
The questions surrounding the legality of states’ withdrawal from international treaties have traditionally received far less attention than those concerning states’ joining of treaties, from both the domestic and international legal perspectives. This neglect is now changing rapidly. In this contribution I focus on South Africa's stalled exit from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the fundamental questions of constitutional and international law that arise from the episode.
Constitutional courts in Latin America have used judicial review to enhance the relevance of international law in recent years. Some scholars even speak of a growing “constitutionalization of international law” in the region. But these domestic courts can also act as gatekeepers that blunt or entirely deflect the domestic impact of international law. This essay explores three recent episodes in which constitutional courts joined or led efforts to escape treaty obligations: the Venezuelan Supreme Court's judgment urging the Chávez Administration to denounce the American Convention of Human Rights on constitutional grounds, which Chavez then did in 2012 (a court-inspired treaty exit); the Colombian executive's 2013 petition to have Colombia's acceptance of the International Court of Justice's (ICJ's) jurisdiction under the Pact of Bogotá declared unconstitutional (a court-legitimated treaty exit); and the Dominican Republic (DR) Constitutional Tribunal's 2014 judgment holding that the DR's acceptance of the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) had been unconstitutional (a court-led treaty exit).
When states withdraw from bilateral investment treaties or denounce multilateral treaties related to foreign investment, a range of intersecting questions arise in domestic and international law. Recent developments have demonstrated potential incongruities between domestic and international approaches to investment protection, including as regards the effectiveness of withdrawal and the implications for existing investments. This essay reflects on international and domestic disputes involving the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from participation in the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) to highlight these interactions. These issues have become particularly pertinent today because more than 1,500 international investment agreements (IIAs) are nearing expiry of their initial term, providing an opportunity for termination. Moreover, some states have begun to terminate or denounce investment treaties, while many more are engaging in a process of renegotiation and reform. The Russian case study also highlights the potentially far-reaching effects of a state simply signing a treaty, even many years after the state has expressed its decision to withdraw from it, and notwithstanding tensions with the domestic legal framework.
Symposium on Megan Donaldson, “The Survival of the Secret Treaty: Publicity, Secrecy, and Legality in the International Order”
The modern law of treaties applies regardless of whether a treaty is publicized. The secrecy of an international agreement does not affect its legal force, nonpublicized agreements may be used in interpreting a publicized treaty, and mere failure to comply with domestic requirements concerning publicity does not invalidate the treaty or a state's consent to be bound by it. Under the UN Charter, UN members may not invoke an unregistered treaty or international agreement before a UN organ, but the rules on state responsibility are not concerned with the secrecy or publicity of primary obligations. Injured states may resort to countermeasures for breaches of secret treaty obligations and can suspend compliance with secret treaty obligations as a countermeasure against the responsible state. States may also seek to enforce obligations in secret treaties by bringing claims in international courts and tribunals outside the UN system—and these courts and tribunals have proliferated.
Megan Donaldson's The Survival of the Secret Treaty: Publicity, Secrecy, and Legality in the International Order recounts the ways in which lawyers played an important but complicated role in governmental decisions about whether and when to register secret agreements. On the one hand, these lawyers urged their governments to comply with the League of Nations and UN Charter registration processes. On the other hand, these same lawyers used their drafting and interpretive skills to enable their governments to employ secrecy where necessary, while helping their clients minimize the fact and size of any legal violations that occurred. They thus urged legal compliance on the front end and reduced the extent of noncompliance on the back end.
Symposium on Framing Global Migration Law – Part III
A critical characteristic of migration is that it involves people in all their complexity, and with all their complex needs. Therefore, migration, perhaps more than any other field of international law, is difficult to separate as a body of law from human rights, trade, taxation, investment, health, security, etc. In this brief essay, I will describe two critical, and distinct, linkages that prevent us from cabining migration as a separate field. Both arise in the area of labor migration. Indeed, it is through linkage with other fields of international law, such as trade and investment, that states could establish international legal commitments to liberalize migration.