Tag Archives: International Law

Game of Thrones with Brexit, Britons and Brussels Bureaucrats: the U.K. Referendum on Leaving the E.U.

illustration greatest nations

This way In? Out? Red Wedding?

There is high anxiety on both sides of the Atlantic about the vote today, June 23, 2016, when British voters get to decide if Britain should leave or remain within the European Union.  There is much at stake and speculation about the possibility of a British Exit. As this particular departure would be an unprecedented event in the history of the E.U., no amount of research into the legal, political, or economic situation of the E.U. and its member states could yield a clear answer as to  the ramifications, and readers of this blog may not even see this post until it is all over.

However, the threat of crisis provides an occasion  to explore resources curated by the law library that may provide some understanding of the issues. Check out what one of our British information providers, Oxford University Press, has created alongside its paid database, Oxford Reports on International Law: part of the Oxford Public International Law collection, it is a Debate Map listing official free resources as well as Oxford journal subscription articles, all on Brexit. There is also a good summary of legal and political facts and questions posted today at the blog of the Law Library of Congress, In Custodia Legis: “Brexit Referendum.”

Irrespective of the voting outcome, interest in how the entire matter developed and what future reforms might result from simply holding such a vote may suggest follow-up research projects. For these, may we suggest using our Georgetown Law research guides for the European Union and the United Kingdom.  For tracking continuing developments, we have a guide that links to our array of world news sources, such as Access World News.

Finally, one of the most disturbing developments of all: a commentator in the journal Foreign Policy points out that the HBO series Game of Thrones is produced with some funds from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund, and in the event the British vote to leave the E.U., the filmmakers may no longer have access to those assisting funds, and this is an expensive production!So in addition to possible economic turmoil and recession, recent shows such as last week’s GoT, filmed partly in Northern Ireland, could be at risk. The latest episode in the real life saga is about to be released.

Law of Armed Conflict in the Twittersphere: IHL and Game of Thrones

 Game of Thrones Tweet-a-thon

[CAUTION: mild spoiler alert!!]  Last week, April 8-11, the American Society of International Law (ASIL) held its 109th Annual Meeting here in D.C. at the nearby Hyatt Hotel. If you want to match up your love of the HBO series with your commitment to international humanitarian law (IHL) then you might want to follow @HumanityinWar to see the results of a challenge quiz announced at a terrific panel entitled #int_law@social_media that took place on the morning of Friday, April 10th. The American Red Cross, a branch of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), ran a “Tweet-a-thon” during Sunday night’s season 5 premiere asking ASIL viewers to send tweets assessing violations of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) depicted during the episode, #GoTIHL . (Well, when are they not violating the laws of war?)

To brush up on the Geneva Conventions and its commentary, visit the ICRC website as well to bolster your argument that indeed, the burning at the stake of Mance Rayder (leader of the Wildlings)  while he is a prisoner of war under Stannis Baratheon is a violation of article 13, Geneva Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 12 August 1949, Humane treatment of prisoners. But what about Jon Snow’s merciful arrow from afar, ending Mance’s suffering? Add the video “web casebook” tour linked at ICRC’s website to your media archive and get started on that one.

The Charlie Hebdo Attacks In France Last Week

Paris and two of its suburbs were the latest locations of attacks perpetuated by Islamic extremists. Sunday, over a million people of various faiths gathered in Paris to show solidarity in wake of the turmoil caused by the violent events. Notably absent among all the world leaders who showed up for yesterday’s march was someone high-ranking from the United States, which led to President Obama acknowledging that the White House should have sent someone to participate.

While there is much that is being said about the events and the motivations behind them, as well as the troublesome nature of the publication itself, there is less being said about the relationship between France and satire. Charlie Hebdo certainly did not rise up from nothing – it was the product of a centuries-long tradition in France. Even as we think of freedom of speech as something that all Western, democratic cultures enjoy, we also know that it differs greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. To learn more about the various discrepancies between countries’ speech policies, you can do a search in our catalog which will lead you to books like this one. To learn more about free speech in France specifically, we’d recommend books like this. One resource that can be immensely useful to you in comparing and contrasting the laws of various countries is the Foreign Law Guide, which is available to you through the library. Another source that could prove useful to you is our database, The International Encyclopaedia of Laws for Intellectual Property Law, provided by Kluwer. This resource discusses elements of artistic expression and speech in France, the UK, the US, and many other jurisdictions.

In the face of awful events, one of the courses of action we can take is to educate ourselves so that we can move forward. Our thoughts are with France in this difficult time.

Happy Human Rights Awareness Month!

Human Rights Day was this past December 10th. Did you remember to celebrate? Chances are good that if you didn’t commit a crime against humanity, you were on the right path. However, if you want to go above and beyond just basic decency, and learn something in the process, Oxford University Press has produced a map of fifty landmark human rights cases for you to peruse. Each case is given a brief description and a link to a free article or report. The cases were selected by the editors of the Oxford Reports on International Law and the cases were chosen to highlight the sheer number of jurisdictions (national, regional, and international) available for bringing human rights claims as well as the range of claims that have been acknowledged.

The cases are an interesting mix of litigation arising from major historical events, like war, to more unexpected case law from Africa regarding investor’s rights or freedom of the press. Sometimes the cases involve what we might think of as “unattractive victims.” That is to say, it’s not just the downtrodden who can claim human rights protections but it is also those who do the treading. Human rights apply to everyone, not just the good guys. Finally, when looking at the map, one may expect to see pinpoints in locations where abuses occur and yet, the map is more a demonstration of where one can go to seek a legal process or remedy for abuse. Thus, there are places where abuses occur and no pins will be found.

Another Oxford service that we offer here at Georgetown which ties in very nicely with this map is the Consolidated Treaty Series. This series is the only comprehensive collection of treaties from 1648 through 1919 and it provides access, electronically, to scanned images and searchable full text. It also integrates with other Oxford publications such as international case law and commentary for a richer user experience.

The world isn’t always a nice place but we can take a minute to appreciate the rights we share as humans. In conjunction with Oxford University Press, we at the library are here to help you figure out what those rights are…and maybe also to remind you to hug a puppy or ten.