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The Trouble of Proving “Genocidal Intent”: The Modern Rohingya Crisis in Historical and Political Context

Essay by Ashley S. Kinseth

On the heels of the Holocaust, the then-nascent United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide—its first-ever international human rights treaty. As such, the Convention is arguably the most sacred text in modern international law—but also the most disregarded. The reasons for this indifference are largely political, yet typically explained away under the guise of law: governments routinely argue that it is impossible to know whether mass atrocities were intentional, as is required in the legal definition of genocide. The present Rohingya crisis, for which ample evidence of genocidal intent has emerged, provides a clear example of this blatant disregard for international law. As one of the worst genocides in the past century continues to unfold in Myanmar, nearly all states sit on their hands.

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Book Review: Foreign Policy of the European Union—Assessing Europe’s Role in the World. By Federiga Bindi and Irina Angelescu (eds.)

Foreign Policy of the European Union—Assessing Europe’s Role in the World sets out to treat the foreign relations of the EU in a holistic, all-encompassing manner. For this purpose the book is divided into five parts, each of which develops a different perspective on the EU’s external actions.

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Of Great Fears and Greater Hopes: The GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

By: Celeste Marie R. Cruz[*]

Prologue

Peace and economic development have long remained elusive to the conflict-torn region of Muslim Mindanao in the Philippines. Since the late 1960s, the Conflict in Mindanao, led by a secessionist independence movement of the Islamic minority in a predominantly Catholic country,[1] has led to an enormous loss of life and suffering, claiming an estimated 120,000 lives and displacing more than 2 million people.[2] The ongoing peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH), under President Benigno Aquino III, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) reached a significant milestone with the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro[3] (Framework) last October 15, 2012. The Framework seeks to establish a “federal” type of sub-state in the said region[4] that is currently under the jurisdiction of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindano (ARMM).

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Some Quick Thoughts on Transnational Human Rights Litigation in American Courts After Kiobel

By: Professor Burt Neuborne [*]

The hope that the ATS would permit entrepreneurial lawyers to choreograph international human rights cases involving: (1) alien plaintiffs; (2) alien corporate defendants; and (3) acts wholly occurring abroad into an American court in an effort to take advantage of American discovery rules, Rule 23 class actions, and an independent judiciary is now history. All nine Justices in Kiobel slammed that door, which was probably a pipe dream in the first place. Chief Justice Roberts, writing for five Justices, including the maddeningly vague Justice Kennedy, ruled that the presumption against extraterritorial legislation blocked use of the ATS as a source of federal jurisdiction when neither the plaintiffs, nor the defendants, nor the operative facts had a significant link with the territorial United States. Mere corporate presence for the purposes of general jurisdiction over the defendant could not, ruled the Chief Justice, constitute the significant link to the territorial United States needed to rebut the presumption against extraterritorial legislation.

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Earlier Supreme Court Jurisprudence Shows Hope Not Lost for Those Seeking Corporate Accountability in U.S. Courts

By: Carey Shenkman[*]

Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court set a deeply alarming precedent in its decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, holding in substance 5-4 that the presumption against extraterritoriality defends corporations from being held accountable for human rights abuses like torture, rape, and murder committed in other countries. For years, U.S. courts were the only recourse for victims from countries with powerless, dysfunctional, or corrupt judicial systems. Their cases were a rare check on the conduct of our companies and their subsidiaries abroad.

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