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Peter Spiro  | Jaya Ramji-Nogales

 
UPCOMING EVENTS:

Hybrid Justice: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

On November 4, Michigan public policy professor John Ciorciari will present a talk on his new book Hybrid Justice: The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (with Anne Heindel), published by the University of Michigan Press in 2014.  In 2006, the United Nations and the government of Cambodia established the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, a hybrid tribunal with the mission of accountability for senior Khmer Rouge leaders for the crimes of the Pol Pot era, 1975-1979.  Hybrid Justice  explores “the contentious politics behind the tribunal’s creation, its flawed legal and institutional design, and the frequent politicized impasses that have undermined its ability to deliver credible and efficient justice and leave a positive legacy” for the Cambodian people.  Prof. Ciorciari will also discuss lessons learned and guiding principles for future hybrid and internationalized tribunals.  The book is, in the words of Prof. Steven Ratner, a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Group of Experts for Cambodia, “the definitive study of a highly controversial experiment in accountability for human rights atrocities.”

The talk will begin at noon in room 7B, Klein Hall.

Bloomberg Businessweek's Barrett to Speak on Chevron Ecuador Case

Steven Donziger, a self-styled social activist and Harvard educated lawyer, signed on to a budding class action lawsuit against multinational Texaco (which later merged with Chevron to become the third-largest corporation in America). The suit sought reparations for the Ecuadorian peasants and tribes people whose lives were affected by decades of oil production near their villages and fields.  During twenty years of legal hostilities in federal courts in Manhattan and remote provincial tribunals in the Ecuadorian jungle, Donziger and Chevron’s lawyers followed fierce no-holds-barred rules. Donziger won an unlikely victory, a $19 billion judgment from an Ecuadorian judge against Chevron--the biggest environmental damages award in history.

But Chevron refused to surrender or compromise. Instead, it targeted Donziger personally, and its counter-attack with a RICO suit revealed damning evidence of his politicking and manipulation of evidence. Suddenly the verdict, and decades of Donziger’s single-minded pursuit of the case, began to unravel before a federal judge in New York.

Paul M. Barrett, assistant managing editor and senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, spent more than three years covering the litigation. On Tuesday, October 28, at noon in K1D, he will discuss his new book Law of the Jungle: The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil in the RainForest and the Lawyer Who'd Stop at Nothing to Win (Crown, 2014).

Booklist praises the book as “An enthralling true-life courtroom drama…Almost Shakespearean in scope, featuring a flawed protagonist with good intentions but tragically overreaching ambitions.” The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin: “Paul Barrett's Law of the Jungle is the inside story of the international trial of the decade—a high stakes fight over oil, blood and money and a protagonist who is as fascinating as he is perplexing.”

The event will be hosted by Temple’s Institute for International Law and Public Policy.

RECENT EVENTS:

Top Scholars Gather at Temple to Address Role of Soft Law in International Governance

States increasingly use non-binding agreements to advance international cooperation. What explains the rise of these "soft law" instruments in such areas as environmental protection, human rights, and financial regulation? ​On October 10, the Institute will convene ​an invitation-only book roundtable to consider Andrew Guzman and Tim Meyer's Goldilocks Globalism: The Rise of Soft Law in International Governance​, forthcoming from Oxford University Press​. Guzman is ​Jack H. Ralston ​Professor of Law​ at the University of California's Be​rkeley​ ​School​ of Law. Meyer is Associate Professor of Law at ​the University of Georgia Law​ School​.

Participants include the authors and distinguished scholars drawn from law, international relations, and ​economics.​ In past years, the Institute has convened roundtables on books or manuscripts by Ryan Goodman​ (NYU)​ and Derek Jinks​ (University of Texas)​, Kal Raustiala​ (UCLA)​, Paul Berman​ (George Washington)​, Mary Dudziak​ (Emory)​, and Jack Goldsmith​ (Harvard)​. ​"These events bring together an engaged group for unstructured discussion of leading-edge international law scholarship," says Institute co-director Peter Spiro. "​We're fortunate this year as in the past to be able to draw the very best international law talent to Temple to unpack and critique this important forthcoming work."

'Visualizing Urgency': Insitute Co-Director Jaya Ramji-Nogales to Speak on History of Refugee Law

The Institute for International Law and Public Policy Co-Director Jaya Ramji-Nogales will be speaking on the history of refugee law on Wednesday, October 1, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Tyler School of Art (Temple Contemporary, RM 110).  The event, part of a Tyler course called “Visualizing Urgency,” is open to the public.

“Visualizing Urgency” focuses on the contemporary global refugee crisis through in depth conversations with refugees living in Philadelphia, refugee camp architecture, and an exploratory workshop of alternative approaches to this crisis through government agencies and NGOs.

A range of speakers representing growing refugee communities including Laotians, Indonesians, Liberians, and Mexicans will teach Visual Urgency from their first hand experiences.  This course also includes refugee-led cooking demonstrations with plants grown to suit refugee diets, a soccer match played between teams of Liberian refugees, as well as poetry readings and artworks representing the contemporary refugee experience. Through these group discussions, visiting speakers, and interpreting art, students will learn the interplay between visual culture and political, economic, and social issues on both a local and global level.

Instructors Sarah Biemiller and Robert Blackson have a combined history of more than 20 years organizing educational cultural programming.  Most recently they have managed the community-led art project Funeral for a Home, and the citywide conservation project Restoring Ideals that restored objects emblematic of underserved communities across Philadelphia.

Institute Co-sponsors Dean's Invitational Forum

The Institute for International Law and Public Policy will co-sponsor the Dean's Invitational Forum and luncheon on Monday, September 22 from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm in Shusterman Hall. Our guest speaker will be Nancy Updike, an award-winning and internationally recognized public radio and television producer and writer, who will be speaking about her international experiences and about the power of storytelling.

Ms. Updike is one of the founding producers of the public radio show This American Life. Her work has also been featured on other radio programs like All Things Considered and has been published in The New York Times Magazine, LA Weekly, The Boston Globe and salon.com. She won a Peabody Award in 1996 for her work as a producer on This American Life. Her hour-long Iraq documentary, "I'm From the Private Sector, and I'm Here to Help," won the Edward R. Murrow Award for best news documentary (2005) and the Scripps-Howard National Journalism Award in radio (2004). She was nominated for an Emmy award for a story she produced during the first season of the television version of This American Life.

Since lunch will be provided, those who wish to attend need to RSVP to reserve a seat. Please go to www.mytlawconnection.com/deansforumfall14 to reserve your seat at your earliest convenience, and no later than September 18. Seating will be limited.

Are Some Asylum Seekers More Equal Than Others?
Book Panel Offers Findings, Recommendations for Adjudication

Does it matter whether an applicant for asylum brings their children with them to their Department of Homeland Security interview? Legally speaking, not at all. But asylum officers are only human: It turns out applicants who bring their dependents are granted asylum 18 percent more often than those who don't.
 
Results like these were highlighted during Monday's panel discussion on Institute Co-Director Jaya Ramji-Nogales' new book, Lives in the Balance: Asylum Adjudication by the Department of Homeland Security (NYU Press). Following up their 2009 work Refugee Roulette, Professor Ramji-Nogales and her co-authors Professors Andrew Schoenholtz and Philip Schrag of Georgetown University Law Center examined nearly 400,000 cases for asylum over 14 years, looking at how adjudications were affected by various "unofficial" factors. A few of their findings:
 
•        Applicants who had a representative at the hearing received asylum half of the time, compared to 42 percent of the time for those representing themselves. However, if the officer had a JD degree, it didn't matter whether the applicant had a representative or not. The authors suggested it may be that their "law school training kicks in" and they are more likely to investigate a pro se applicant's case in greater depth.
 
•        The least likely candidate for asylum would be an unrepresented male who entered the country "uninspected" (sans visa), with no dependents. This cohort received asylum only 29 percent of the time. The authors said that when they presented this finding to DHS officers, some offered theories on why: Such men, they said, are thought more likely to be economic migrants, or even terrorists.
 
•        Among the regional offices, San Francisco and Los Angeles had some of the highest grant rates, while Chicago and Houston had the lowest. In general, western offices had higher grant rates than their East-Coast counterparts. Said Ramji-Nogales, "I'm from the West Coast, so I like to say it's because we're generally happier and nicer out there."

The authors closed with three policy recommendations: (1) require all future asylum officers to have JDs; (2) give free representatives to indigent applicants, especially unaccompanied minors and those with mental disabilities; and (3) reduce the volume of cases per officer so that they can spend more time on an individual case. Currently, the average is 3.5 hours per case, including security checks -- not nearly enough when there are lives in the balance.