Thursday, August 25, 2016

Blood-Diamonds: The International Response

By Christine N. Armstrong
Christine Armstrong graduated this spring from Albany Law School. She did her undergraduate work at Siena College, graduating in 2013 with a major in Political Science and a minor in Classical Studies.  Christine is was an associate editor of the Albany Law Review.
During her time at Albany Law, Christine participated in the Moot Court program, winning the Karen C. McGovern Senior Prize Trial Competition. She served as a teaching assistant for Professor Chung’s Contracts class, Professor Heverly’s Torts class, and was a Sponsler Fellow for Professor Moore’s Civil Procedure class. She also served as an intern to the Hon. Judge Thomas James McAvoy in the Northern District of New York.
Christine accepted a position at Seward & Kissel, LLP, in New York City.
She prepared this paper for Prof. Bonventre’s International Law of War & Crime Seminar.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (“The DRC”) is a country located in central Africa. While perhaps one of the most mineral rich nations in the world, the DRC suffers from what is called the “paradox of poverty.” It is a phenomenon where a country has extraordinarily rich natural resources but extremely poor citizens, because corrupt government officials and rebel armies prevent the nation’s wealth, extracted from these resources, from being distributed to its people.

The DRC is a country marred by the exploitation and sale of its minerals and diamonds, which are used to fund armed conflicts and civil war within the country.  This paper will discuss the DRC, it’s “blood diamonds” and “conflict minerals,” how the profits from these sales are being used to commit crimes against humanity within the DRC, and the international response to these atrocities.
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To read the entire paper, open HERE.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

International Law: Foreign, or Domestic?

By Nathaniel Nichols
Nathaniel Nichols is a graduating student at Albany Law School. He received his B.A. in Psychology, with a minor in History, as well as a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University at Albany. While an undergraduate, he focused on clinical and counseling psychology, and worked in the Addictive and Compulsive Behaviors Laboratory. While a graduate student, and for a short time after, he worked at the Stratton Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Albany in the Behavioral Health Clinic.
At Albany Law School, Nate has been a Dean’s list student and is the recipient of the David S. Williams Endowed Scholarship. He has focused on Corporate Law and Civil Litigation and, for two years, has clerked at the Office of General Counsel for the New York State Public Employees Federation.
Nate prepared this paper for Prof. Bonventre’s International Law of War & Crime Seminar.

The term international law implies a legal system that binds state actors to a set of legal precedents. However, the reality of international law in America is that the three branches of government merely adopt, apply, or enact international law when the domestic law of the country calls for it based on some internal need of the country.

In essence, the idea of International Law doesn’t apply to the United States. By creating domestic laws that reflect consideration of selective international sources, the United States isolates its legal system. This paper will discuss this theory.
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To read the entire paper, open HERE.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Policing World Soccer

The Extraterritorial Jurisdiction of the U.S. in the FIFA Corruption Scandal

By Lauren Eversley
Lauren Eversley is a third-year student at Albany Law School.  She graduated magna cum laude from Siena College in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in History.  During her time at Albany Law School, she has interned at the Claims Bureau of the Office of the New York State Attorney General, and completed a field placement with the Honorable Judge Christian Hummel, of the Northern District of New York.   Lauren is a member of the Albany Law Review, serving as the Executive Editor for Coordinating & Operation for Volume 79.  Upon graduation, Ms. Eversley hopes to pursue a career in public service.
She prepared this paper for the International Law of War & Crime Seminar.

What began as a normal morning for the officials of FIFA–the governing body of association soccer and its affiliates across the globe–would soon launch the long-awaited upheaval of international soccer.   The 65th FIFA Congress, the annual meeting of the legislative body of the association, was mere hours away from beginning in Zurich, Switzerland  when the Baur au Lac hotel was raided at dawn, resulting in the arrests of fourteen FIFA officials on charges of corruption. While the charges themselves did not necessarily come as a surprise to most of the world’s soccer fans–FIFA has been battling accusations of impropriety for the better part of the twenty-first century –what did shock the world was that the raids were carried out at the hands of the United States, following an extensive three-year investigation by the FBI and the Department of Justice.

The confusion that mounted was twofold: initially, many found it humorous that the country perhaps most indifferent to the game of soccer was the one to finally bring charges;  secondly, the question arose as to how this was possible.  While the United States is generally recognized to be the world’s police force in many international matters, many were baffled at the fact the United States government was able to charge officials of a foreign corporation and arrest them outside of America’s territorial reach.

This paper discusses the answer to the “how,” as well as the legitimacy of the claims brought by the United States under the doctrine of extraterritorial jurisdiction.  Part II of this paper provides a brief discussion of the underlying facts of the FIFA indictment.  It focuses on the relevant “players” behind the scheme, as well as circumstances that occurred that would eventually lead to the charges filed by the United States.  It also offers a succinct summary of those charges, and analyze their interplay with the background of the case.

Part III discusses the principles of extraterritorial jurisdiction, the foundation for the charges brought by the United States in the indictment.  Part IV examines the legitimacy of those charges being filed by the United States, juxtaposed against the large-scale publicity garnered by the charges.  It also assesses the criticism that arose in the wake of the scandal. Finally, part V offers some perception on the future of the scandal, which to date is still in its beginning stages.
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To read the entire paper, open HERE.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Rohingya in Ruin

Exploring Potential Twenty-First Century Genocide
By Bryan Hum
Bryan Hum is a third-year student at Albany Law School. He graduated from the North Carolina State University in 2013 with a double major in International Studies and Political Science. Bryan is currently a member of the Albany Law Review. He serves as this year's Executive Editor for Symposium.
During his time at Albany Law, Bryan has been an associate on the Moot Court Board, a member of the Student Bar Association, interned with the Office of the New York State Attorney General, and held a field placement with Judge Lawrence E. Kahn of the Northern District of New York. Upon graduation, Bryan hopes to pursue a career in public service in Washington, D.C.
This paper was prepared for Professor Bonventre’s International Law of War & Crime Seminar.

Genocide—a single, eight-letter, trisyllabic word—seems innocuous in relation to the current state of global affairs and off-the-cuff media reporting, both of which are dominated by terrorism, the Islamic State, and the hypocrisy that is presidential campaigning.  This small word, however, packs quite a punch; at least it did.  To those few international lawyers and organizations that champion the fight against genocide it is the “crime of crimes,”  but to everyone else, it is just another “evil” easily grouped in with the current wave of terrorism.   It is pushed aside as just another one of the world’s problems.  While the decline in awareness and recognition of genocide as a serious crime is not directly related to the rise in terrorism and other attention-grabbing stories, part of the blame can be placed on how global leaders and news agencies view the term, present the facts, and shape public perception.

This article will examine the potential genocide of the Rohingya, an ethnic group living in limbo across Southeast Asia, whose people currently have no home, no citizenship,  and who have been denied entry and settlement by countless countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Malaysia.   Part II will provide a brief background on the birth of the term genocide and its current definition.  Part III will offer background into the Rohingya people, and how they came to be in the situation they currently suffer.  Part IV will examine the application of genocide, as discussed in Part II, to the predicament of the Rohingya people to determine whether they are indeed victims of genocidal acts or suffering at the hands of tyranny.
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To read the entire paper, open HERE.