News 2000
December 20
| December 6 | November 21 | November 3 | October 24 | October 13 | October 4 | September 19 | September 13 | September 7 | August 14 | August 1 | March 31 | February 10

December 20, 2000

  • For the first time, a judge has recognized an exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement for searches conducted abroad against U.S. citizens for purposes of foreign intelligence collection.

Refusing to suppress evidence assembled in Kenya against accused terrorist Wadih El-Hage, Southern District Judge Leonard B. Sand found that the primacy of the executive branch in foreign affairs and other policy reasons support judicial recognition of the exception. See:

  • Humanitarians Test the Law in Aiding Border-Crossers Desert: Clergy and others trying to prevent migrant deaths emulate tactics of 1980s sanctuary movement.
    Disturbed by deaths among Mexican migrants crossing illegally into southern Arizona, church leaders and self-styled good Samaritans have begun offering a range of aid to immigrants--at times breaking the law to carry out what they see as acts of mercy. The scattered humanitarian efforts by religious activists and ordinary residents are being compared to the 1980s sanctuary movement, in which scores of churches and synagogues nationwide agreed to shield Central American refugees from deportation by U.S. authorities.
  • Environmental Trade Guidelines Set
    The Clinton administration, maintaining that free trade and environmental protection can go hand in hand, put into place new rules December 13 that subject future trade deals to environmental reviews.

The guidelines were developed under an executive order issued by President Clinton last year. They direct the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the president's Council on Environmental Quality to review agreements for thei potential environmental impacts. Also consulted would be governmental agencies, Congress and environmental groups.

While the guidelines will not be binding on a new administration, U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky predicted that the next administration will choose to adopt similar environmental reviews.


December 6, 2000

  • Suspicious Banking Activities: Possible Money Laundering by U.S. Corporations Formed for Russian Entities. GAO-01-120, October 31.
  • US, S.Korea Discuss Military Accord
    U.S. and South Korean officials began talks Wednesday on revising a military agreement that critics say infringes on South Korea's sovereignty. The talks aim to refashion a 1965 accord that governs the legal status of the thousands of American troops stationed in South Korea, called the Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA. The officials will try to narrow their differences on the prosecution of American soldiers accused of crimes in South Korea, environmental regulations at U.S. military bases and the labor rights of Koreans who work at the bases. The talks will lay the groundwork for a week of meetings between high-ranking officials from the two countries beginning Friday. The rights and responsibilities of the U.S. troops are a politically sensitive subject for South Koreans: Many view the legal arrangement for troops here as less favorable to locals than similar arrangements for U.S. troops in Japan and Germany. President Kim Dae-jung has urged Washington to revise the treaty as quickly as possible to prevent a small minority of anti-American activists in Seoul from using the issue to once again demand that all U.S. forces leave South Korea. The matter of custody is at the top of the agenda. Under the current agreement, U.S. troops accused of a crime in South Korea are kept in American military custody until they are convicted in the Korean judicial system and all appeals are exhausted. The Pentagon is willing to give the South Koreans custody of accused U.S. soldiers as soon as they are indicted, but only if satisfactory legal safeguards are in place. The issue of those safeguards has yet to be worked out. The United States fought on the South Korean side during the 1950-53 Korean War. It still keeps 37,000 troops in the South under a defense treaty. AP-NY-11-29-00 0157EST

November 21, 2000

  • Two Sought by FBI Arrested in Méxicali

Two alleged terrorists considered to be highly dangerous by the US FBI were arrested in Méxicali with what Mexican officials consider to be bomb-making material. The pair, who were also carrying doses of "Crystal," are originally from Oklahoma where five years ago the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building was bombed by US citizens. La Crónica reports that US authorities believe that the pair may have been involved in that April 19,1995 attack.

The arrested are Reamez Ricky Lane, male, and Daniels Kelly, female, according to Méxicali's La Crónica. Lane was identified by a driver's license. Kelly carried no documentation. Police have no idea why the two were in Méxicali or how long they were there. Both have outstanding US arrests warrants for drug possession and are sought by the FBI as well. The FBI has already asked that the two be extradited.

The pair was stopped for looking suspicious by an anti-robbery unit that thought they looked out of place in such a neighborhood. They had with them a metal box filled with different sizes of drill bits and other suspicious items. They had an English-language, bomb-preparation manual with them, plastic packets containing "Crystal," a syringe and a spoon with "Crystal" residue on it according to the State Police Unit (Policía Ministerial del Estado, PME).

Stopped on Benjamín Argumedo street in the Pedro Moreno neighborhood at 4 p.m. local time on Saturday, November 11, 2000 a police agent said, "It seemed strange to us to see two North Americans [norteamericanos] carrying a metal box filled with tools and other things that were out of the ordinary."

When the PME notified the FBI they were warned that the pair was considered dangerous and that they had been fleeing the US justice system for years. The FBI also told the PME that the man would have a scar on his right thigh from a bomb explosion, which the PME verified. The FBI then warned the PME that the pair's rooms could contain bomb traps and that they should proceed with caution. However, despite using a metal detector in the pair's apartment, the PME found nothing else.

Later, the case was turned over to the federal-level PGR that wants to find out why the pair chose to come to Méxicali.

Source: La Crónica, November 14, 2000.


November 3, 2000

October 24, 2000

  • President Clinton and Republican lawmakers have locked horns over a Democratic proposal to grant amnesty to up to 1 million undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States since 1985. The proposal would allow undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States since Dec. 31, 1985, to apply for permanent residency status without fear of prosecution. See:
  • In a recent Foreign Policy Briefing from the Cato Institute, visiting senior fellow Ronald Rotunda describes the constitutional problems with enforcing the biological weapons convention.

    He writes, “The 1972 Biological Toxins and Weapons Convention—often called the Biological Weapons Convention, or BWC—requires the signatories to renounce the development, employment, transfer, acquisition, production, and possession of all biological weapons listed in the convention.

    Yet the BWC does not provide for any protocol for enforcement because, as the United States candidly acknowledged at the time, compliance with the convention would be unverifiable. However,  the Clinton administration now supports efforts to develop an enforcement protocol, even though it acknowledged that it does "not believe that the Biological Weapons Convention, in the terms in which the United States assesses that word [BWC], is verifiable."

    Efforts to enforce the BWC are noble but probably fruitless. The proposed enforcement protocol's implementation threatens important constitutional rights: the right to privacy reflected in the Fourth Amendment, the separation of powers principle found in the appointments clause, and the right to intellectual property found in the Fifth Amendment.

    Unlike most arms control agreements, the BWC applies to private parties—not merely to sovereign signatories. Few constitutional difficulties exist when the U.S. government agrees to implement limits on the number of its intercontinental ballistic missiles by providing for inspection of the facilities that it owns. We do not think of the U.S. government as having a right to privacy.

    Things are quite different when the United States wishes to inspect facilities owned by private parties.  The U.S. government can search private dwellings only after it has secured a search warrant from a neutral magistrate upon a showing of probable cause, and the government would have to use its officers—executive branch officials who are subject to the Constitution and controlled by the executive. The administration's proposed enforcement protocols—to the extent that they will apply to private parties—would violate these important constitutional principles.

    To read the full report, visit


October 13, 2000

  • On October 10, the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments on how long the government can lock up aliens who have been ordered deported, but cannot be deported because their home countries will not allow them to return. For further details, see:
  • GLOBAL: US Congress praises Ogata, UNHCR

The United States House of Representatives yesterday adopted a resolution praising UNHCR chief Sadako Ogata for her work in the last 10 years, reports Kyodo. The House also praised UNHCR for its work in helping refugees around the world for 50 years. In a rare move by a legislature not often regarded as cooperative toward the UN, the resolution said UNHCR is "one of the world's principal humanitarian organizations" that protects millions of refugees and attempts to solve refugee problems.

The resolution lauded Ogata for a "superb job of bringing both professionalism and compassion" to the organization. While indicating its continued support for UNHCR activities, the resolution also "calls on the international community" to help efforts "to ensure that host countries uphold humanitarian and human rights for refugees...and promote resettlement of refugees."

AFP adds Ogata arrived in Rome yesterday for her last visit as UNHCR chief and lined up for talks with Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi  and Prime Minister Giuliano Amato.

  • Hispanic immigrants angry at technology industry, Congress; boycott considered

    The Associated Press, October 10, 2000

Hispanic immigrants, contending high-tech manufacturers have betrayed them in their bid for amnesty, are launching a campaign against the industry that includes plans for a year end computer boycott.

About 100 immigrants and others gathered Monday outside the Compaq Factory Outlet in Houston in protest.

The tension stems from two bills that recently passed before Congress that would have affected different immigrant groups.

One bill will provide work visas over the next three years for 600,000 skilled foreign workers, most of whom will work in the computer industry. But the Republican leadership - supported by large manufacturers – blocked consideration of another bill that would have given amnesty to at least 500,000 immigrants, mostly Hispanics, who came to the country illegally.

The Hispanic immigrants say the high-tech industry should have done more to support both bills.

They're considering a Christmas-season boycott of computers across the country.

"Compaq is one of the companies that should have fought for visas for all," Maria Jimenez, with the American Friends Service Committee said in Tuesday's editions of the Houston Chronicle.

Compaq released a statement late Monday defending its support of skilled-worker visas but making no mention of the protest.

"Our priority has been and will continue to be to support employment-based legal-immigration legislation that will allow Compaq to hire more skilled workers as the company strives to provide technology access for everyone, regardless of geographic or socio-economic origin," Compaq spokeswoman Grace Trent said in the statement.

The marchers Monday carried signs criticizing Congress and demanding justice.

"For sale: Actions of Congress," read one sign. Few of the signs mentioned Compaq or the computer industry.

  • WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, from 5 to 7 p.m., the Inter-American Dialogue will host a symposium on the U.S.-Mexico border relationship. The session will take place at the organization's Washington office at 1211 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 510. The speakers will be Peter Andreas of Reed College and Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX). Andreas will discuss his new book, "Border Games: Policing the U.S.-Mexico Divide" and Congressman Reyes, former Border Control chief in El Paso, will comment on the book. For more information, contact Victoria Wigodzky at or (202) 463-2574.
  • The Southern District of New York now has before it a class action lawsuit for violation of federal law and international human rights standards, brought against Robert Mugabe, the President (and dictator) of Zimbabwe, several of his colleagues and cohorts, and his political party, the Zimbabwe African Nation Union -- Political Front (ZANU-PF). The action is based on the Alien Tort Claims Act, 28 USC sec. 1350, and the Torture Victims Protection Act, and seeks compensatory and punitive damages from Mugabe and his codefendants in their personal capacities for acts of extra-judicial killings, political harassment and torture, and deprivation of civil rights and property, all in violation of international norms and standards as codified in the International Convention Against Torture and other human rights conventions.

A private process server personally served Mugabe in Harlem, New York, as he was entering a church where he was scheduled to speak. Mugabe kept the summons and complaint in hand as he entered the church. A colleague and fellow officer of Mugabe named Stan Mudenge was personally served on the street in Manhattan the next day.  Both men are officers of ZANU-PF, in addition to their personal capacities in the Zimbabwean government.

The personal service presented considerable personal risk to the process server, as the scene was replete with NY Police, Secret Service officers, as well as Minister Louis Farrakhan's security entourage. On filing the complaint, counsel for the plaintiffs had moved eds parte for, and received, an order form the US District Court permitting alternate forms of service by serving the Secret Service Agent in Charge on the scene, who would then have been required to personally deliver the papers and make a return of service to the Court.  The US State Department, however, acting through the US Attorney for the Southern District, intervened the next day and successfully moved to vacate the order permitting alternate means of service. The plaintiffs and their counsel have complained that this was an unjustifiable and needless intrusion by the Government that had no real interest or standing and put the individual process server at great risk of personal harm.

The plaintiffs are five residents of Zimbabwe (four African and one Caucasian), who were personally harassed, beaten or tortured for their actives in support of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the nascent opposition political party in Zimbabwe.  The plaintiffs also represent the estates of deceased spouses and relatives who were campaigning for MDC or merely owned private farms in Zimbabwe, when they were  dragged off by ZANU-PF operatives at the direction and orders of Mugabe and his officers, tortured and then killed.  Counsel for the plaintiffs is Theodore M. Cooperstein, a Washington, D.C. attorney who litigates in federal courts. (Cooperstein is also Vice-Chair of the Civil Rights Practice Group of the Federalist Society.)

To date, no answer or other response has been filed or served on behalf of Mugabe and the defendants. In press releases form Harare, Zimbabwe, Mugabe spokesmen are reported as saying the American press is mistaken and that there was no service of process.  Later, the same spokesmen added that they felt the service of process had no legal validity.

The Alien Tort Claims Act was enacted by the First Congress as part of the Judiciary Act of 1789.  The statute gives federal court jurisdiction to any action in tort brought by an alien for "violation of the Law of Nations."  The statute has seen renewed life in the past decades, including  a case brought against Chinese leader Li Peng and also against the leader of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb Republic, Radovan Karadzic, who suffered a Southern District of New York jury verdict in excess of $45 million in the past months. The Second Circuit, among other courts, has interpreted the Alien Tort Claims Act to encompass standards of human and civil decency incorporated in customary international law, to include The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights  as well as conventions against torture and extra-judicial killing committed under color of official governmental authority.

The Torture Victims Protection Act, codified at 28 USC sec. 1350, was Congress's implementation legislation enacted to enforce the International Convention Against Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  which the United States ratified in 1990.


October 4, 2000


    Friday-Saturday, November 17-18

All events are open to the public and are free of charge.  Unless indicated otherwise, all events take place in the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom of Anheuser-Busch Hall (the School of Law) on the hilltop campus of Washington University.

  • Mexico’s Foreign Relations (SRE) Secretary Rosario Green criticized the toughening up and inflexibility of the United States' immigration policy, which during this year alone has led to the deaths of 388 Mexicans who sought to reach that country.
  • The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has released findings and recommendations of a two-year study focusing on how national border management policies affect border communities. The study, "Self Governance at the Border," finds that policymaking and discussion taking place almost exclusively in national capitals does not necessarily reflect the realities of border communities. The study concludes that governments need to create formal mechanisms for incorporating the "best practices" developed by the leaders of border communities; flexibility must be built into policies to allow them to be tailored to the unique circumstances of each border region; government should reevaluate whether processes at the border, such as visa and passport checks or inspections of commercial goods, could be handled more efficiently away from the border to prevent delays; and local information-sharing should be institutionalized and supported so that the information is also shared with other governments and border communities. The authors urge the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to explore whether a "North American Integration Project" is worth pursuing. Contact: Carnegie Endowment, 1779 Masschusetts Ave., NW, Washington DC 20036; (202) 483-7600;
  • San Diego Chaldeans Welcome Iraqis



SAN DIEGO (AP) -- More than 1,700 Iraqi Christians crowded into separate church services Sunday to celebrate the release of 46 Iraqi immigrants from U.S. custody and to call for the release of others being detained in Mexico.

''It is difficult to describe it,'' said 28-year-old Mufeed Yousif, one of 16 Iraqi Christians, or Chaldeans, released by U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service officials Saturday. ''It is hard to believe I am here. I want to thank the U.S. government and INS for helping us.''

Yousif is part of a wave of Iraqi Catholics who have fled their homeland for Mexico in recent months in hopes of seeking political asylum in the United States. San Diego County is home to some 15,000 Chaldeans, the second largest Iraqi Christian community in the United States, behind Detroit.

The plight of more than 200 Chaldeans drew national attention last week when Mexican authorities cracked down on a Tijuana hotel that had been used as a sort of halfway house for those seeking asylum. The Chaldeans said they feared persecution if forced to return to Iraq.

Yousif said he spent 18 days in Tijuana after a five-week journey from Iraq to Mexico that cost him about $19,000. He said he walked to Turkey, then flew to Greece and France before flying to Mexico.

Yousif said he will stay with friends until he makes enough money working as an auto mechanic to pay for his own living quarters.

''It is like President (Kennedy) said -- we must do things for this country because it is now our country,'' he said. ''We want to do good things to say thank you for letting us stay here.''

He was one of about 20 Iraqis attending the service at St. Peter Chaldean Christian Church who had been released by the INS last week.

On Sunday, the INS processed 64 other Iraqi Christians, bringing the total since last week to 188, 61 of whom are children.

The INS reported it had paroled 46, releasing them pending a final determination on their asylum claim by either the INS or a federal immigration judge. About 40 still remained under guard at the Tijuana hotel.

The east San Diego County church held two services Sunday, one in English and one in Aramaic.

''This is the most joyful day of my life,'' said the Rev. Michael Bazzi, the priest at St. Peter. ''But my joy, our joy, will not be full until we have all of them here with us.''

He said several church members had been traveling the 35 miles to the hotel for several weeks. They are asking for the release of all those in the hotel and jail. Mexican authorities began preventing Iraqis from leaving the hotel Wednesday after suspecting them of violating immigration laws. Nine were arrested Tuesday night, and six remained in jail Sunday. Some were Americans attempting to help the immigrants gain asylum.

The 22-year-old son of two of the jailed Americans said his parents are innocent of all smuggling charges. Anthony Barno said his parents, Raymond and Kathy Barno, were simply translating for fellow Chaldeans in the hotel.

More than 500 people signed a petition following Sunday's church services demanding the Barnos' release.

''I'm trying everything,'' Anthony Barno said. ''They're not doing well down there. They've been thrown in a room with nothing, and they're having to sleep on the floor with cockroaches ... all because they've done nothing wrong.''

  • Drug czar urges cooperation: McCaffrey tells border that enforcement must be bolstered

Diana Washington Valdez

El Paso Times

Cooperation, rather than confrontation, and reducing the demand for drugs in the United States would enhance U.S.-Mexican efforts to curb the flow of drugs at the border, U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey said Friday.

He stressed that the drug cartel led by Vicente Carrillo Fuentes "is one of the most dangerous and corrupting forces" operating in the border region.

To deal with the threats of drug trafficking, "we must build a more adequate Southwest law-enforcement presence," he said.

McCaffrey concluded his two-day visit to El Paso-Juárez with a tour Friday of the new wing of the Enrique Camarena El Paso Intelligence Center and a stop at the Compañeros drug treatment center in Juárez.

The center's new wing, dedicated in December, adds 30,000 square feet to the center at Biggs Army Airfield. It cost about $6 million and includes a state-of-the-art 150-seat auditorium for training law-enforcement officers.

McCaffrey also met with Mexican officials, including Juárez Mayor Gustavo Elizondo, and reviewed vehicle inspection stations and new scanning technologies at the Bridge of the Americas.

Thursday, McCaffrey met with U.S. border law-enforcement officials and announced that El Paso will be the new headquarters for the Southwest Border High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program. The plan to reopen in El Paso an office phased out in California elicited a strong complaint from El Paso County Sheriff Leo Samaniego.

Samaniego, who is chairman of the Southwest Area's program executive committee, said his committee wasn't notified in advance about the plan. He also said the committee had phased out the San Diego office "because it was not doing any good, and we were saving $1.2 (million) to $1.5 million by eliminating it."

The Southwest program, formerly based in San Diego, is a federal agency that provides money and other support to counter drug trafficking. It has an annual budget of $46 million and concentrates on specific border counties in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Federal, state, and local law-enforcement organizations within regions of the program assess regional drug threats and design plans to reduce or eliminate the production, manufacture, transportation, distribution and chronic use of drugs.  Samaniego said one of McCaffrey's assistants unveiled the plan at a dinner with border U.S. law-enforcement officials.

"There were a lot of people upset (Thursday) night," he said. "We heard it at 11 p.m. ... (McCaffrey) spoke for five minutes after that, and that was it. The $46 million annual budget for the HIDTAs is the same thing we have now."

In light of the danger posed by the Carrillo Fuentes cartel, McCaffrey said, he's puzzled at why Chihuahua state Attorney General Arturo Gonzalez Rascon would say that his police won't arrest Carrillo because he knows of no arrest warrant pending for Carrillo.

U.S. officials recently indicted Carrillo in connection with 10 murders in Juárez, and Mexican federal officials have warrants for his arrest on drug-smuggling charges.

"What the attorney general said was bizarre," McCaffrey said. "The primary target of (Carrillo's) violence has been Mexican citizens. Given the ferocity and savagery of the cartel, I don't know what he was thinking. They don't just kill other drug traffickers; ... they're also gunning down innocent bystanders."

When McCaffrey visited the border last year, he was given information about El Pasoans and others who were "disappeared" in Juárez. Their abductions were linked to corrupt law enforcement and drug traffickers.

A couple of the people reported missing turned up in clandestine graves in Juárez unearthed by FBI and Mexican federal agents in December.

"This information came about as a result of citizen intervention," McCaffrey said. "I turned it over to the U.S. Justice Department."

He said he previously discussed drug matters with Mexican President-elect Vicente Fox and key staffers.

"They are determined to confront the drug issue; they are pragmatic, and they listened," he said.

During his El Paso visit, McCaffrey said, U.S. border prosecutors complained about insufficient funding for local courts to try federal drug cases. He said the U.S. Marshals Service also needs more funding to house inmates closer to where they will be tried and to avoid endangering certain inmates or violating human rights.  Congress set aside $12 million for district attorneys along the U.S.-Mexico border almost three months ago to help pay border courts' multimillion-dollar tabs for prosecuting federal drug cases.  However, none of the district attorneys has received any money.

McCaffrey said the law related to funding for drug enforcement -- "and this is a function of Congress" -- needs to be changed to include providing more support to local jurisdictions.

Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at

  • President Clinton is threatening to veto a multibillion-dollar spending bill unless Republicans agree to include a provision allowing certain Latinos and other immigrants to stay in the country.
  • CITIZENSHIP: The court agreed to decide whether the government can treat fathers and mothers differently in deciding whether their children born out of wedlock and outside the country are U.S. citizens. The court said it will hear an appeal by a Texas man, born in Vietnam to an American father and Vietnamese mother, who was ordered deported to Vietnam after being convicted of sexual assault. He contends he is an American citizen and therefore cannot be deported. See for further details on upcoming Supreme Court cases.
  • The White House released a memorandum from President Clinton, who has determined that it is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to defer for 1 year the deportation of any Liberian national who is present in the United States as of September 29, 2000, except for certain categories.
  • The Supreme Court refused on October 2 to let 31 members of Congress sue President Clinton for ordering the military to join last year's NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. The court, without comment, turned down the lawmakers' argument that they had legal standing to pursue their claim that the president violated the 1973 War Powers Act.


September 19, 2000

  • Religious Minorities Suffere Discrimination.
    At the end of President Khatami's speech to Iranian expatriates in New York, he thanked "our dear Jewish, Zoroastrian, Assyrian, and Armenian compatriots for taking part in this meeting." And during the speech he noted that Iranians from all ethnic and religious backgrounds have contributed to their country: "We have Jewish martyrs, Zoroastrian martyrs, Armenian martyrs, and Assyrian martyrs among our martyrs." In fact, a son of the recently deceased leader of Iran's Zoroastrian community, Mobed Rostam Shahzadi, died in the war with Iraq.


September 13, 2000

  • Mugabe Sued in NY Over Rights Abuses. By Bill Miller. Washington Times.
    Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe who was in New York for a U.N. summit of world leaders, was served with a civil lawsuit September 7 accusing him and two associates of human rights abuses against political enemies. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, alleges that Mugabe has orchestrated a campaign of violence to keep his political party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriot Front, in power. The plaintiffs include relatives of three people who were slain and a political opponent who claims she was beaten. "All my clients are looking for is basic justice," said Federalist Society member Theodore M. Cooperstein, who hopes to turn the suit into a class action. The conduct by Mugabe and his supporters, Cooperstein said, "violates all international and domestic norms."

    Facing his strongest political challenge in 20 years of leadership, Mugabe's government has encouraged the expropriation of hundreds of white-owned farms this year. At least 31 people were killed in the lead-up to parliamentary elections in June. Human rights groups have blamed Mugabe's supporters for much of the bloodshed, alleging they were determined to quash support for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The lawsuit was filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act, a 211-year-old U.S. law originally meant to combat piracy. The act gives foreigners the right to file civil suits in U.S. courts for injuries suffered in violation of international law. Last month, a jury in New York ordered Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to pay $745 million to a group of women who Accused him of killings and other atrocities. The suit against Mugabe seeks Nearly $400 million in damages, though plaintiffs in the past have had great difficulty collecting judgments in such cases.Mugabe was the second international leader to be served with court papers while in New York. Another group of plaintiffs filed a similar suit against former Chinese premier Li Peng, alleging that he was responsible for the crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square in 1989, as well as other violations of human rights. Peng's security guards were served with that suit on Aug. 31 in a hotel garage.By locating Mugabe in New York, the plaintiffs overcame one of the biggest hurdles in pursuing a human rights case under the Alien Tort Claims Act. Courts typically have held that defendants must be served with such lawsuits while in the United States. The plaintiffs' attorneys got a court order on Wednesday clearing the way for the Secret Service to hand Mugabe a copy of the lawsuit during his New York stay.But the U.S. government objected, citing concerns by the State Department that Mugabe and the other defendants might be entitled to immunity while on a diplomatic visit. The plaintiffs' attorneys maintained that Mugabe is not immune from the lawsuit because the case involves alleged actions that took place outside his official capacity as Zimbabwe's president.In light of the U.S. government's position, a judge instructed the plaintiffs to get the court papers to Mugabe on their own. They did so without incident Thursday night, as he was entering a church in Harlem to give a speech.During his speech, Mugabe defended his plan to take land from white farmers and give it to poor blacks. The Associated Press quoted him as saying, "We will die clinging to our land."   

September 7, 2000

  • Go Ahead for U.S.-EU “Safe Harbor” by John Reynolds
    On July 27, 2000, the European Union’s (“EU’s”) Director-General for the Internal Market wrote to the U.S. Undersecretary for Commerce to confirm the EU’s acceptance of the “Safe Harbor Privacy Principles” as adequate protection for EU nationals’ personal data. (Final versions of the Safe Harbor Principles and related documents were published in the July 24, 2000, Federal Register.) EU member states must implement the decision within ninety days of notification. The Safe Harbor Principles should, therefore, be fully in effect by early November. As was the case throughout the negotiation of the Principles, the U.S. and EU have agreed that transatlantic data flows will not be interrupted during the implementation period.
  • EU/U.S. Privacy “Safe Harbor” Agreement Caught Up in Euro Politics
    On July 5, the European Parliament adopted a resolution stating strong dissatisfaction with the “safe harbor” data privacy accord that the U.S. Commerce Department and EU representatives tentatively agreed to in March of this year. (See April Privacy In Focus). On May 31, the “Article 31 Committee,” a key EU committee composed of representatives from the 15 EU Member States, unanimously voted to approve the safe harbor agreement, after the United States agreed to make several “minor changes” to the proposal. At that time, Commerce Secretary William Daley declared the Committee’s approval “begins the process which guarantees implementation of the accord.”
  • Regulatory Interest in Internet Telephony Continuing at Home and Abroad
  • The classification of Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) or Internet Protocol (“IP”) telephony IP telephony as regulated or unregulated has become increasingly important as IP telephony offerings proliferate around the world. Under current U.S. regulations, “telecommunications services,” such as basic, long-distance and international calls, have been regulated, while “information services,” such as e-mail and Internet access have not. VoIP competes with traditional, regulated voice services offered over the telephone nwork – except that, as a relatively unregulated service, it can be offered at a significant discount to traditional voice services. The regulatory arbitrage opportunities for IP telephony providers are especially ripe in international telecommunications markets because of the artificially high costs for traditional international voice services in many countries. This has made IP telephony a catalyst in the drop in telecommunications rates worldwide. It has also spurred recent activities in Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the international arena that could affect the economics of VoIP.

    August 14, 2000

    • French authorities are seeking to prevent Yahoo Inc., of Santa Clara, California, from allowing French citizens to gain access to Internet auctions of Nazi era artifacts on its web site. The French court's ruling marks the first time a French Judge had issued a prior restraint against a foreign Internet company.
    • The George Washington International Law Review will sponsor a Symposium on Friday, 22 September at The George Washington University Law School. The Symposium will be on international trade law, and will be titled "Global Trade Issues in the New Millennium."

    Leading trade scholars from around the world will be presenting papers. The WTO Director-General designate, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi (currently Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister) will deliver the Keynote Address at lunch. The dinner address will be delivered by Professor Taniguchi of Kyoto University, who is the new WTO Appellate Body member from Japan.

    The proceedings of the Symposium will be published in GW's International Law Review. For further information, please see

    August 1, 2000

    • The American Academy of Arts & Sciences will be hosting a conference entitled "The International Criminal Court and US National Security" at American University, Washington School of Law, Ceremonial Court Room, Washington, D.C., on September 14, 2000. The Federalist Society will be co-sponsoring the conference. Topics include the ICC and international law, war crimes tribunals and why they do or do not work, the evolution of administration policy toward the ICC, and the ICC and the US Constitution.

    March 31, 2000

    • On Friday, September 22, The George Washington University International Law Review will sponsor a symposium on "Global Trade Issues for the New Millennium." It will feature leading academics from around the country, and overseas. The next Director-General of the WTO, Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Supachai, has agreed to deliver the Keynote Address. The Symposium will be held at The GW Law School. More information will be forthcoming. In the meantime, contact Ms. Mariya Talib, the Symposium Editor at the GW International Law Review, 202-676-3847.

    February 10, 2000

    • The Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia Law School has some new publications (including monographs on Stalin's role in starting the Korean War and a legal analysis of the current status of the 1972 ABM Treaty), and two upcoming programs that might be of interest to society members. On April 28-29, the Center will host a major conference on "The Real 'Lessons' of the Vietnam War: Reflections Twenty-Five Years After the Fall of Saigon," at the Law School in Charlottesville. The conference will feature several of the nation's leading scholars on the war, and will examine many of the arguments used by anti-Vietnam activists to justify the American withdrawal. In early June, the Center will host its 10th Annual National Security Law Institute, designed to train law professors and government lawyers in this growing new field-which originated at Virginia more than a quarter of a century ago. For further information, check the Center's website at:

    2003 The Federalist Society