Monday, September 1, 2014

International Law Studies (ILS) Staff, 2014-2015

Director   Vincent M. Bonventre
Associate Director  Alexandra R. Harrington

Student Editorial Board, 2014-15
Editor-in-Chief
Hannah Akkerman is a third-year student at Albany Law School with an International Law concentration. She graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she studied political science and psychology. Prior to law school, Hannah lived in Israel for six months where she volunteered teaching English to underprivileged high school children. Last summer, she had the opportunity to represent South African residents through her internships as a law clerk at the High Court of South Africa and as a legal intern at the Impact Litigation Unit at Legal Aid. After realizing she also had an interest in Trusts & Estates, she obtained an internship at Girvin & Ferlazzo where she is mainly working on Trusts & Estates issues. Following graduation, Hannah hopes to combine her background in international law with her interest in Trusts & Estates in order to pursue a career in both fields.

Executive Editor
Elise R. Friello is a third-year student at Albany Law School with a special interest in comparative public health. She graduated from Ithaca College in 2011 with degrees in Politics and Legal Studies. In the year between undergraduate and law school, Elise interned at a drug treatment court while studying to earn a Masters in Public Administration (M.P.A.) from Marist College. She successfully earned a M.P.A. after her first year of law school in Summer 2013. While attending Albany Law, Elise interned at the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. She currently interns at the New York State Dispute Resolution Association and serves as Student Project Director for the Law School’s Elder Law Pro Bono Project. She is also a member of Albany Law’s Women’s Rugby Club.

Submissions Editor
Mary Elizabeth Moran is a second year student at Albany Law School concurrently earning her Master of Business Arts in Healthcare Management through Union Graduate College. A practicing occupational therapist, Mary Beth earned a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at Sage Graduate School and a Bachelor of Science in Studio Art at Skidmore College. Mary Beth is a member of the Society of International Health and Human Rights and is looking forward to upcoming Pro Bono work with the Global Institute of Health and Human Rights. She hopes to pursue a career in health law with a focus on health administration, policy, and the economics of health care. Away from school and work, Mary Beth spends every waking moment outdoors with her two loves: husband, Matt, and puppy dog, Charley.

Senior Editors: Cecilia Hassett, Courtney Heinel, Saeed Ibrahim, Aliza Keen, Pamela Lowe, Patricia Monroe, Anais Vasquez, Yan Rong Yang,

Associate Editors: Eno-Obong Essien, Ashley Fischer, Alexis Osborne, Bryanne Perlanski, Stephanie Kroll

For previous years' staffs, click HERE.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Displaced Refugees and the Categorical Imperative

By Chris Saco
Mr. Saco entered Albany Law School in the fall of 2012. He is in the accelerated program and anticipates earning his J.D. by 2014.  While in law school, he has simultaneously pursued a Master’s Degree in Business Arts in Healthcare Management at Union Graduate School.  He hopes to complete both degrees by December.
Chris Saco graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 2012.  He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree by double majoring in the fields of Economics and Philosophy.  In addition to studying Macroeconomic Theory, Global Industrial Organization Trends, and Domestic Anti-Trust Policy, Mr. Saco’s senior research topic in Phenomenology dealt primarily with unraveling the intricate complexities of epistemology – concluding that the observable occurrence of empathy in humanity curtails otherwise unruly passions; and this distinctive check on an individual’s emotions further nurtures universal moral agency.
Chris enjoys writing fictional novels and short stories, as well as stargazing and jet skiing. He is a Black Belt in the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon Do.
He prepared this presentation for Professor Bonventre’s International Law of War & Crime Seminar, Fall 2013.

Chris Saco's presentation encapsulates ethical theory, originating from his days as a Kantian Scholar in undergrad, in order to demonstrate how international policy embraces international persons. He seeks to dispel common myths about the status of international refugees by illustrating how the law qualifies refugees, and by demonstrating how morality plays a key role in the International Community’s response to recent crimes against humanity in Africa.
(click to enlarge slides)


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For the entire presentation, open HERE.
(It is then best to Download [by clicking on File] and then Open the downloaded power-point presentation.)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements: Role of U.S. Courts in Future Success

By Edward J. Ohanian
Ed Ohanian, a third-year student at Albany Law School, graduated summa cum laude from Marist College, with a major in mathematics and a minor in political science.
Mr. Ohanian is an associate editor of the Albany Law Review and serves as the student trustee on the Albany Law School Board of Trustees. He is a law clerk at Greenberg Traurig’s Albany office where he will join the firm as an associate after law school and the bar exam. He enjoys hiking, skiing and fishing, and has recently taken a particular interest in fly-fishing.
This paper was prepared for Professor Harrington’s Spring 2013 International Business Transactions class.

The Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (“Hague Convention”), part of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, concluded on June 30, 2005. The overarching purpose of the Hague Convention is to “provide certainty and ensure[] the effectiveness of exclusive choice of court agreements between parties to commercial transactions.”

The Hague Convention was initially an endeavor that focused on achieving judicial cooperation regarding the enforcement of judgments generally But negotiations led to the more narrow purpose of ensuring judicial cooperation regarding the “recognition and enforcement of judgments in international disputes arising from commercial transactions to which exclusive choice-of-court agreements apply.”

Whether by design or compromise, the importance of judicial cooperation regarding the enforceability of choice of court agreements included in international commercial agreements cannot be understated.  If ratification of the Hague Convention becomes widespread, it could greatly increase the efficiency of international business transactions by diminishing ex ante uncertainty regarding the forum for potential litigation.

Part II of this Article proposes a hypothetical scenario that highlights the significance of uniform international enforcement of choice of court agreements with attention to the uncertainty left by Article 28 of the CISG. Part III explores core articles of the Hague Convention and addresses escape devices that have the potential to undermine the Convention’s overarching goal. Recognizing that ratification will cause state and federal preemption, Part IVa discusses the current state of U.S. federal law regarding the enforceability of choice of court agreements. Part IVb argues against domestic judicial interpretation of the Hague Convention that would allow U.S. courts to take advantage of the escape devices introduced in Part II thereby undermining the purpose of the Hague Convention and decreasing the likelihood of widespread ratification.
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To read the paper, open HERE.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ius in Bello in Hybrid Political-Military Decision-Making

Efficiency as a Measure in Assessing Wartime Operations
By Heath Hardman
Heath Hardman is a third-year student at Albany Law School and graduate of Empire State College. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Albany Government Law Review and has participated in the law school's Family Violence Litigation Clinic & Immigration Project. Additionally, he works as an intern in the Law Office of John N. Clo, in Gloversville, New York.
Before law school, Heath served in the U.S. Marine Corps for nearly 11 years, including two deployments to Iraq and two deployments to Afghanistan. During his service in the military, he completed the three-year Military COMINT (Communications Intelligence) Signals Analyst Program at the National Security Agency—a program consisting of 1500 hours of National Cryptologic School courses, working in three different organizations within the National Security Agency, and writing an in-depth technical paper.
He prepared this paper for Professor Vincent Bonventre’s course, International Law of War and Crime.


Throughout the history of war there have been innumerable instances of political and military failures.  These failures are often the result of poor decisions that have unnecessarily cost the lives of military and civilian personnel, damaged property and infrastructure, and led to great instability within the affected countries.

Although modern theories of war highlight obvious minimizing goals, such as reducing or eliminating civilian casualties and unnecessary destruction of property or infrastructure, the very fact that war is occurring, even if the minimizing goals are met, can cause great instability and anxiety and be very costly—in many ways. Once a decision has been made to engage in warfare, whatever the justification, the efficient accomplishment of political or military goals may lead to a shortened war, along with the associated benefits.

During war however, political and military decision-making, and political and military goals, are rarely made or developed in isolation from each other. Instead, a hybrid political-military decision-making strategy can be seen—both at the larger strategic level and at the discrete operational level. With this understanding, an efficient hybrid political-military operational decision-making process can lead to shortened wars, a more appropriate, and proportionate, outcome, and achieve political-military goals at a much lower cost as measured in lives lost, property damaged, and infrastructure destroyed. Inefficient decision-making can achieve the opposite, such as when military action does not support political goals, or when political mandates frustrate military goals or inflame insurgencies.

This paper will briefly discuss just war theory with a particular focus on ius in bello—just conduct in war. It will suggest a model hybrid political-military operational decision-making process, based on the U.S. Marine Corps’ war fighting philosophy, and use the battles of Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004, to illustrate both inefficient and efficient models. The Fallujah battles clearly demonstrate both the unnecessary loss of life and damage to property, and the need for an efficient model.
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To read the paper, open HERE.