Back from Abroad . . . .Posted: April 15, 2013
Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately. I was travelling abroad for the past two weeks or so. I first went to Jerusalem, where I was invited to give an International Law Forum presentation by colleagues at Hebrew University Faculty of Law. My sincere thanks to Dean Yuval Shany, Moshe Hirsch, Shai Dothan, Eitan Barak, and Robbie Sabel for this invitation and for the exceptional hospitality I was shown by these colleagues and friends. I gave my presentation on Iran’s nuclear program and international law. Readers of this blog will know that my legal conclusion is that Iran has been essentially correct in its legal arguments concerning interpretation of the NPT and IAEA legal sources, and the role and mandate of the IAEA, in the context of Iran’s case. You can imagine that I was a bit nervous about presenting this conclusion and supporting analysis in Israel, but I also thought it would be invaluable to receive the critique of those who care most in the world about this issue. However, I had no cause for anxiety. The participants in the forum were of the highest professional quality and character, and were open minded as well as rigorously though reasonably critical. The discussion was one of the most productive I have ever had with a group of colleagues on this topic. So again, I am grateful for the hospitality and welcome I received from colleagues at Hebrew University, and for their extremely useful feedback on my presentation.
I was also shown great kindness and hospitality by Aharon and Elika Barak. Aharon Barak was of course the former President of the Supreme Court of Israel. He and his wife Elika, who was previously the Vice President of the National Labor Court of Israel, have visited the University of Alabama Law School several times over the past few years. This has been an enormous privilege for us here. They are both wonderful people, and monumental legal figures in Israel. I simply cannot say enough in praise of Aharon Barak in particular, and his role as a member, and ultimately President, of the Israeli Supreme Court. I encourage everyone to read his seminal cases on torture, targeted killings, and the security wall in the West Bank, as well as his books, including his recent work on proportionality. I don’t always agree 100% with his analysis, but it is always profound, and he has overall been a tremendous force in support of international law in Israel. He is a personal legal hero of mine for all that he has accomplished, and for his exemplary humanitarian character.
While in Jerusalem, I also had an amazing experience touring around the city. Those who have been to Jerusalem know what I mean. Like nowhere else in the world.
From Jerusalem, I travelled to Stockholm, for a conference organized jointly by the University of Amsterdam Faculty of Law, and the National Defense College of Sweden, with Andre Nollkemper of Amsterdam as the principal. This was a really fascinating conference on the topic of shared responsibility in international law. My assigned topic was the potential use of a theory of shared, or collective, responsibility of states in the area of arms control. I think this theory is potentially very useful and parsimonious in the arms control area. My paper will appear as a chapter in a book to be edited by Andre Nollkaemper. The participants in this meeting were first rate.
Anyway, I’m back now and will try to catch up some with the arms control law news and events. Obviously the biggest occurrence over the past two weeks was the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty by the U.N. General Assembly. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to feature any posts on this topic here at ACL. But there has been some excellent analysis and commentary elsewhere. Here are a few posts on topic that I’ve seen around the web: