YJIl Online – Volume 38

 No Sanctuary for Dictators

Written by Eugene R. Fidell

 In 1986, when the then-dictator of Haiti, Jean-Claude Duvalier, finally fled, I suggested that the international community needed to learn the important lesson that great violence may occur when a tyrant resists pressure to leave office. “What happens when a dictator finds it hard to leave,” I wrote, “because he has no place to go? One result is increased repression, as ever harsher steps prove necessary to crush or harass impatient local opponents.” The solution, I suggested, was that “the world community should establish a formal machinery for facilitating the voluntary retirement of dictators.” Peaceful departures are all too rare.

Whither Article XX? Regulatory Autonomy Under Non-GATT Agreements After China—Raw Materials

Written by Danielle Spiegel Feld & Stephanie Spitzer

On January 30, 2012 the Appellate Body to the World Trade Organization (WTO) released a decision in China—Measures Relating to the Exportation of Various Raw Materials (Raw Materials) in which it condemned China’s refusal to freely export certain raw materials mined within its territory. Apart from the significant political implications of the decision, the Raw Materials report went a good distance towards answering a persistent question in trade law circles: when, if at all, can the savings clause contained in Article XX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) be invoked to justify a violation of another WTO agreement?

NML v. Argentina and the Ratable Payment Interpretation of the Pari Passu Clause

Written by Romain Zamour

In 2001, Argentina defaulted on more than ninety-five billion dollars in external debt. At the time, this constituted the largest sovereign default in history. Argentina initiated two restructuring in 2005 and 2010, allowing holders of defaulted bonds to exchange their bonds for new debt at a rate of twenty-five to twenty-nine cents on the dollar, thus restructuring more than ninety-one percent of the foreign debt on which it had defaulted in 2001. Hedge funds specializing in trading distressed sovereign debt, such as Elliott Associates, purchased large amounts of Argentinian debt at a significant discount on the secondary market, and “held out”—they refused to join the restructurings and sought full collection of their debt.

Blurred Lines: An Argument for a More Robust Legal Framework Governing the CIA Drone Program

Written by Andrew Burt & Alex Wagner

“[Al Qaeda] does not follow a traditional command structure, wear uniforms, carry its arms openly, or mass its troops at the borders of the nations it attacks.” Those are the words of John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s chief counterterrorism advisor at a September 2011 speech outlining the Obama administration’s legal framework for its counterterrorism efforts. Brennan’s speech underscored the widespread understanding that, due to its basic organizational structure and failure to present itself formally as a recognizable armed force, al Qaeda lacks the legitimacy to participate in armed conflict and is not entitled to its concomitant privileges under international law.

Gang and Cartel Violence: A Reason To Grant Political Asylum from Mexico and Central America

Written by Jillian N. Blake

In Cary Fukunaga’s 2009 film, Sin Nombre, Central American immigrants ride through the Mexican countryside on top of slow-moving railroad cars with hopes of reaching the United States undetected. Some of the film’s characters are fleeing poverty, but others are running for their lives. These migrants fear persecution from violent, armed gangs in their home countries. Sin Nombre portrays a harsh reality experienced by many asylum-seekers from Central America and Mexico.