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Louis Henkin in JILP

In mem­o­ry of Louis Henkin, who died last month in New York, I recent­ly took to the archives, to see whether any of his work had found its way into the NYU Jour­nal of Inter­na­tion­al Law and Pol­i­tics.  While Henkin’s byline nev­er appeared in any of JILP’s forty-two vol­umes, his work nev­er­the­less left a mark on our pages.

In the sev­enth vol­ume of JILP, a review of Henkin’s For­eign Affairs and the Con­sti­tu­tion rec­og­nized the supreme impor­tance of this work to the field of U.S. for­eign rela­tions law.  (7 N.Y.U. J. Int’l L. & Pol. 203.)  Henkin, Stan­ley Fut­ter­man wrote, spoke with “the nat­ur­al mod­esty and courage of the true teacher.”  But our review­er soon takes  a more crit­i­cal stance in light of Henkin’s dis­cus­sion of Viet­nam.

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Prisoners’ voting rights: a success story for the enforceability of the ECHR?

By Emi­ly MacKen­zie, NYU School of Law, (LL.M Can­di­date, 2011)

The last week has seen a tense dis­course in polit­i­cal and legal cir­cles in the UK cen­ter­ing on pris­on­ers’ vot­ing rights. This dis­cus­sion in some sense rep­re­sents the cul­mi­na­tion of five years of debate about the enforce­abil­i­ty of judg­ments made by the Euro­pean Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). In March 2004 the ECtHR held unan­i­mous­ly in Hirst v UK that the UK’s blan­ket ban on pris­on­ers vot­ing vio­lat­ed Arti­cle 3 Pro­to­col 1 of the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion on Human Rights (ECHR). Despite the rejec­tion of the UK’s appeal to the Grand Cham­ber, and the oblig­a­tion under Arti­cle 46 ECHR to enforce Stras­bourg judg­ments, the gov­ern­ment has to date failed to enact legal reform to imple­ment this deci­sion. Whilst there has been an ongo­ing con­sul­ta­tion, it is not over­ly cyn­i­cal to describe the process as mere­ly ‘going through the motions.’ The unex­plained delays, refusal to enter­tain the option of allow­ing all pris­on­ers to vote, and the government’s con­sis­tent expres­sion of its dis­agree­ment with the rul­ing all attest to this con­clu­sion.

Repeat­ed crit­i­cisms by the Coun­cil of Europe came to a head when the gov­ern­ment failed to act on any of the pro­pos­als in time to allow pris­on­ers to vote in the June 2010 elec­tion.  Last week, how­ev­er, UK news­pa­pers report­ed that the new coali­tion gov­ern­ment is final­ly going to imple­ment the judg­ment. (See cov­er­age by The Guardian here.)  The exact pro­gram and timescale of reform remain unclear, but it seems to be gen­er­al­ly accept­ed that a change is in the off­ing. The gov­ern­men­tal atti­tude remains, how­ev­er, that such reform is some­thing imposed on the UK by Europe, that it is not some­thing that the gov­ern­ment wants, and that they will apply it as restric­tive­ly as pos­si­ble. In light of this con­tin­ued ret­i­cence, one may ask: why after five years of stalling is the gov­ern­ment final­ly giv­ing in?

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Video from Arctic Symposium

NYU Law has post­ed video of our Oct. 22 sym­po­sium on “Inter­na­tion­al Law and Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion in a Melt­ing Arc­tic.”  Below is the keynote address, giv­en by Peter Tak­soe-Jensen, Dan­ish Ambas­sador to the Unit­ed States.  The Ambassador’s speech begins at 25:34, pre­ced­ed by short intro­duc­tions from Jose Alvarez and Her­bert Rubin.

See more video after the jump.

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