Unit 5: National Courts and International Law: National Jurisdiction

This Unit introduces the principles of international law which govern the issue of state jurisdiction in the context of regulation and then discusses the challenges posed to those principles in the national and international arenas.

Reading Guide

I. Introduction:  International Law and National Jurisdiction

A. Framework: Vaughan Lowe, pp. 335-358 (in Evans, ed.)** [important]

B. France v. Turkey (The “Lotus”)


II. The Reach of National Jurisdiction:  Issues of Extraterritoriality

A. Expanding the Reach of National Jurisdiction

1.  United States v. Alvarez-Machain (U.S. Supreme Court)


3. Civilian contractors in war:

a. “The Judgment Gap:  In a case like the Blackwater shootings, there are many laws but more obstacles” , New York Times, Oct. 11, 2007.
b. Order 17 , Iraq Transitional Administration Law, Section 4 (Contractor Immunity under Iraq law)
c. Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act , 18 U.S.C. 3261
d. Civilian Workers Could Face Court Martial , Financial Times, Jan. 10, 2007.

B. Removing National Jurisdiction

1. Extraordinary Renditions

a. Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (NYU Law),Torture by Proxy : Memo prepared for All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition.
b. CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons – Debate is Growing Within Agency About Legality and Morality of Overseas Systems Set up After 9/11 , Washington Post, November 2, 2005
c. Executive Order on Ensuring Lawful Interrogations

2. Note on Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004)

3. Extradition

a. U.S-UK Extradition Treaty
b. AJIL review of U.S-UK Extradition Treaty
c. U.S-UK Extradition Treaty, The Economist, July 15, 2006.


III. The Reach of International Law

A. Non-citizens and the Enforcement of International Law in U.S. Courts

1. The Alien Tort Claims Act:  Sosa v. Alvarez Machain , 542 U.S. 692 (2004)

2. Torture Victims Protection Act , 28 U.S.C. 1350

3. Sarei v. Rio Tinto, P.L.C.

4. Abdullahi v. Pfizer

B. Universal Jurisdiction

a. Immunity Versus Human Rights: The Pinochet Case by Andrea Bianchi (Read only Second Part—Are Municipal Courts a Proper Forum for Prosecuting Individual Crimes of International Law?)
b. Henry Kissinger and Universal Jurisdiction
c. The Genocide Accountability Act of December 2007 (US).
d. Germany arrests Rwandan official, November 2008.


IV. Anti-Terrorism Issues:  International Law and National Courts

A. Military Commissions versus Federal Courts in the United States

1. Please review Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Parts I and VI (US Supreme Court, June 2006, in Unit IV materials).

2. Military Commissions Act of 2006

a.   Comments of Amnesty International on the Military Commissions Act

B. Sanctions Against Individuals and Organizations

1. Legal Foundation

a. SC Resolution 1267 (1999)
b. SC Resolution 1390 (2002)

2. European Union Cases:

a.   Background: Grainne de Burca, The European Court of Justice and the International Legal Order after Kadi, Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 1, No. 51, 2009
b.   EC Regulation 881/2002
c.   Kadi v Council of European Union, European Court of Justice decision of 3 Sept 2008

a. SC Resolution 1730 (2006)
b. SC Resolution  1822 (30 June 2008)