International Law


The Trial of Alberto Fujimori: Navigating the Show Trial Dilemma in Pursuit of Transitional Justice

Christina T. Prusak

Alberto Fujimori is the first democratically elected leader to be tried and convicted of human rights violations in the domestic courts of his own country. As satisfaction with foregoing prosecution and granting amnesty in exchange for more peaceful democratic transition has fallen increasingly out of favor, Fujimori’s trial comes at an opportune time to reevaluate the role of criminal trials in national reconciliation and transitional justice. In this Note, I argue that Fujimori’s human rights trial demonstrates that head-of-state trials, particularly domestic ones, can valuably contribute to larger transitional justice projects, despite their inherent limitations and challenges. Situating my analysis within the transitional justice and show trial literature, I analyze both procedurally and substantively how effectively Fujimori’s human rights trial has navigated its “constitutive paradox,” or tension between strict adherence to the rule of law and the extrajudicial objective of delivering a coherent moral message, inherent in transitional criminal proceedings. I conclude that the trial demonstrates that courts can effectively navigate these paradoxes, even in the midst of institutional weakness and societal cleavages. Moreover, I suggest that domestic tribunals may be particularly well suited to navigate the constitutive paradox of transitional trials.

Global Institutional Choice

Frederick J. Lee

The world faces collective action problems that are global in nature and scope, rendering nation-states unable to achieve desired goods individually. Issues such as global climate change and systemic financial risk create externalities that impel the existence and intervention of a world government to avoid suboptimal market equilibria, free-riding, and moral hazards. I submit the European Union’s principle of subsidiarity as an organic, legitimizing framework for global governance that both compels and cabins a world government. Subsidiarity optimizes social welfare by enabling a world government to achieve desired goods that nation-states would be otherwise unable to obtain individually because of collective action problems. But subsidiarity also limits a world government through a presumption in favor of local regulation as a matter of national autonomy and efficiency. The efficiency concern also enables subsidiarity to be an expansive principle for global governance because it accommodates both public and private forms of collective action. Public forms of collective action include public regulations, treaties between nations, and public institutions like the World Trade Organization. Private forms of collective action include free-market Coasian bargaining between private parties and the efforts of private international institutions like Greenpeace. Because subsidiarity accounts for these diverse institutions in a large and complex world, it is an ideal balancing principle for global institutional choice.

The New Poor at Our Gates: Global Justice Implications for International Trade and Tax Law

Ilan Benshalom

This Article explains why international trade and tax arrangements should advance global wealth redistribution in a world of enhanced economic integration. Despite the indisputable importance of global poverty and inequality, contemporary political philosophy stagnates in the attempt to determine whether distributive justice obligations should extend beyond the political framework of the nation-state. This results from the difficulty of reconciling liberal impartiality with notions of state sovereignty and accountability. This Article offers an alternative approach that bypasses the controversy of the current debate. It argues that international trade creates “relational-distributive” duties when domestic parties engage in transactions with foreign parties that suffer from an endowed vulnerability, such as the extreme poverty prevalent in the developing world. These relational duties differ from “traditional” distributive justice claims because they rely on actual economic relationships rather than hypothetical social-contract scenarios. In a competitive market, however, private parties cannot address these relational-distributive duties by themselves because doing so would put them at a competitive disadvantage. This Article therefore argues that the only collective action solution to this systemic problem in the current geopolitical setting is the transfer of wealth among states.

This Article then suggests some policy implications of this normative analysis in the field of international tax law. It points out that the allocation of taxing rights is a form of wealth allocation that divides globalization’s revenue proceeds among nations. As such, tax allocation arrangements should help “correct” international trade relationships that fail to meet relational-distributive standards. This discussion stresses a point frequently neglected in both the tax and political philosophy literature: Real-world attempts to promote a more just distribution of global wealth could benefit greatly from the integration of distributive considerations and tax allocation arrangements.

Neither Constitution nor Contract: Understanding the WTO by Examining the Legal Limits on Contracting Out Through Regional Trade Agreements

Joanna Langille

This Note seeks to describe the legal system of the World Trade Organization
(WTO) by analyzing the extent to which countries that are members of the WTO
can contract out of WTO obligations. The current literature on the WTO provides
two primary models through which we can understand the WTO’s legal regime: a
constitutional model and a contractual model. The constitutional model sees the
WTO as a legal system that cannot be easily varied by individual WTO members
because WTO commitments are made to all members. Alternatively, the contractual
model describes WTO obligations as easily variable by subsets of members, since
WTO commitments are made only on a bilateral (country-to-country) basis. This
Note addresses that debate by looking at the ability of WTO members to contract
out of WTO obligations through bilateral and regional trade agreements, whereby
two or more members define the trade rules governing their relationship outside of
the WTO legal regime. WTO law governing regional trade agreements reveals that,
on the one hand, member states cannot contract out of all WTO obligations; certain
core obligations cannot be varied. However, there remains significant scope for
contracting out through regional trade agreements on most subjects. Therefore,
both the constitutional and contractual models are insufficient and do not accurately
describe the nature of WTO obligations.

Catalyzing National Judicial Capacity: The ICC’s First Crimes Against Humanity Outside Armed Conflict

Carey Shenkman

This Note joins two previously parallel tracks of scholarship regarding the International Criminal Court (ICC). The first track studies the ICC’s authority to prosecute certain crimes that do not have links to armed conflict. This power means that the ICC could have jurisdiction over repression of mass civil uprisings of the type occurring in the Arab Spring. The second branch of scholarship concerns “complementarity,” or the principle of ICC deference to national prosecutions, and how that practice pressures reform in national judiciaries. This Note argues, at their intersection, that the prosecution of cases outside armed conflict by the ICC further encourages national judicial reform by mobilizing civil society groups. I call this “capacity catalyzing.” Because states wish to retain control over national prosecutions that may infringe upon their sovereignty, especially in the prosecution of cases outside armed conflict, these cases create an incentive for states to avert ICC prosecution by trying the cases themselves. I demonstrate this through two recent ICC cases that occurred outside armed conflict. In Kenya in 2007, pro-government forces and criminal organizations perpetrated killings against civilians during post-election violence. In Libya in 2011, anti-government protests snowballed over two weeks before civil war began. The ICC only focused on these crimes in its initial warrant. When crimes against humanity were allegedly committed, armed conflict did not exist in either country. The ICC’s involvement in these cases has encouraged national judicial reform.

Sinking Islands? Formulating a Realistic Solution to Climate Change Displacement

Sheila C. McAnaney

Forced migration from climate change has been a hot topic in academia and the media for almost two decades, partly because it puts a human face on the otherwise science heavy issue of climate change. Academics have put forward a number of international solutions for resettling displaced persons and financially supporting them and their host countries. However, these proposals often fail to account for the nature and scope of likely migration and the political realities of the international community. This Note adds to the literature by developing a framework for assessing the responsiveness and viability of any proposed solution to gaps in protection for climate displaced persons. It develops five principles based on a realistic examination of the nature and scope of climate displacement and the political realities of the climate regime, and it then evaluates leading academic proposals against those principles to discover which elements are the most efficient and realistic. Finally, this Note concludes by suggesting one possible nontreaty proposal that meets all five principles and fills existing gaps in protection.

The Forgotten History of Foreign Official Immunity

Chimène I. Keitner

The immunity of foreign officials from legal proceedings in U.S. courts has drawn significant attention from scholars, advocates, and judges in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Samantar v. Yousuf, which held that foreign official immunity is governed by the common law rather than the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). The common law of foreign official immunity, which the Samantar Court did not define, operates at the intersection of international and domestic law, and it implicates the constitutional separation of powers between the executive and judicial branches. Conflicting visions of the substance and process of common law immunity have already emerged following the Samantar opinion and will continue to compete until the Supreme Court revisits this issue in a future case. At stake is not only the ability of suits to proceed against foreign officials, but also the relationship between the executive branch and the judiciary in matters affecting foreign affairs.

The original research into eighteenth-century practices presented in this Article yields two important observations. First, claims that defendants acted in their official capacities did not automatically bar adjudication on the merits: Foreign officials who were neither diplomatic officials nor heads of state were on the same “footing” as “every other foreigner” with respect to their “suability.” Second, the Executive believed that it did not have constitutional authority to instruct courts to dismiss private suits on immunity grounds. Although twenty-first century advocates might make policy arguments for blanket immunity or absolute executive discretion, such choices are not consistent with—let alone compelled by—the eighteenth-century practices and understandings recovered here.

U.S. Agency Independence and the Global Democracy Deficit

Paul E. Hubble

Critics have accused transnational regulatory networks (TRNs) such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision of being undemocratic, but they rarely step back and ask if democracy is the right criterion for evaluating regulatory networks. Such critics often point to the seemingly robust checks of domestic administrative law and argue that similar mechanisms should constrain TRNs. However, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, a significant banking regulator in the United States, is not democratic. Using the Federal Reserve Board as a case study, this Note challenges critics’ claims that there is such a wide gulf between domestic and global procedures.

Targeted Warfare: Individuating Enemy Responsibility

Samuel Issacharoff, Richard H. Pildes

Legitimacy of the use of military force is undergoing a fundamental but insufficiently appreciated moral and legal transformation. Whereas the traditional practices and laws of war defined enemy forces in terms of categorical, group-based judgments that turned on status—a person was an enemy not because of any specific actions he himself engaged in but because he was a member of an opposing military force—we are now moving to a world that, implicitly or explicitly, requires the individuation of enemy responsibility of enemy persons in order to justify the use of military force. Increasingly, the legitimate use of military force is tied to quasi-adjudicative judgments about the individual acts and roles of specific enemy figures; this is the case whether the use of force involved is military detention or targeted killing. This transformation transcends conventional debates about whether terrorist actions should be treated as acts of war or crime and is more profound in its implications.

This readjustment in the basic premises underlying the justified use of military force will have, and is already having, implications for all the institutions involved in the use of military force and in the processes by which decisions are made to use force. For the military, this change will generate pressures to create internal, quasi-adjudicative processes to ensure accurate, credible judgments about the individual responsibility of particular enemy fighters. For the executive, these changes will propel greater engagement in decisions that had previously been exclusively within the province of the military. For the courts, this transformation toward individuated judgments of responsibility will inevitably bring about a greater judicial role in assessing wartime judgments than in the past; this expansion has begun to occur already. These changes are not yet directly reflected (or at least fully reflected) in the formal laws of war, but we anticipate that as these changes embed themselves in the practices of states, especially dominant states, these changes in practice will also eventually be embodied in the legal frameworks that regulate the use of force. This Article will identify this fundamental transformation as the central factor driving struggles over the proper boundaries of military force and then explore the ramifications of this change for issues like military detention and targeted killings.

The Domestic Implementation of International Regulations

Maximillian L. Feldman

In response to the challenges of globalization, U.S. agencies at times reach agreements on regulations with their foreign counterparts and then subsequently implement those regulations domestically. Some have suggested that this model of rulemaking gives agencies determinative incentives to implement the international regulation as negotiated—and thus to ignore public comments in the domestic rulemaking process. In this Note, I use the Basel Accords as case studies to show that agencies do not necessarily implement international agreements as a fait accompli. Nevertheless, I argue that international agreements may illegitimately influence the domestic rulemaking process and that courts must therefore be more vigilant in reviewing these types of regulations.