PIL/IEL updates

(these updates were taken from various sources)

> Last 2 February 2009, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Appeals Chamber rendered its judgment in the case (No. ICTR-01-74) against François Karera, former Prefect of Kigali-Rural. In a judgment handed down on 7 December 2007, the Trial Chamber had convicted Karera of one count of genocide and two counts of crimes against humanity (extermination and murder). He was acquitted of one count of complicity in genocide, which was charged as an alternative to the genocide count. The Trial Chamber sentenced Karera to life imprisonment. In its decision, the Appeals Chamber confirmed Karera's conviction and sentence, though it allowed his appeal in regard to several particular findings made by the Trial Chamber. For a copy of the judgment, click here.

> Last 26 February 2009, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Trial Chamber rendered its judgment in the case (No. IT-05-87) against Milan Milutinović, Nikola Šainović, Dragoljub Ojdanić, Nebojša Pavković, Vladimir Lazarević, and Sreten Lukić. The accused were senior Serbian officials who were charged with crimes against humanity (deportation, forcible transfer, murder, and persecution) and war crimes (murder) for acts allegedly committed in Kosovo during the first half of 1999. In its decision the Trial Chamber found Šainović, Pavković, and Lukić guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes. They were each sentenced to twenty years imprisonment. Lazarević and Ojdanić were convicted of crime against humanity and sentenced to fifteen years each. Milutinović was acquitted. For copy of the third amended indictment, click here; for copy of the judgment, click here, here, here, and here.

> The European Union is preparing to impose temporary anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on US biodiesel following repeated complaints from the European Biodiesel Board, which maintains that US subsidies for its domestic biodiesel producers unfairly undercut European competitors in their home market. If the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, decides at its upcoming meeting on 3 March to impose the duties, the measures will take effect nine days later and will last six months, according to an EC document obtained by Dow Jones Newswire. At that point, the Commission will need to win the approval of EU national governments if it wishes to make the measures permanent. The complaint is focused on a US subsidy that offers domestic producers a tax credit of US$ 1 per gallon of biodiesel produced. The European Biodiesel Board, or the EBB, argues that this support has triggered a flood of under-priced US imports into the EU and caused European producers to lose market share.

> The Indian government has effectively licensed 200,000 local treatments as ‘public property’, making the local remedies free for everyone to use, but not to be branded for sale. This initiative follows the discovery by scientists in Delhi of the extent of “bio-prospecting” of natural remedies by foreign companies. The UK’s Guardian newspaper reports that an investigation of government records revealed that 5,000 patents had been issued, at a cost of at least US$ 150 million for “medical plants and traditional systems.” “More than 2,000 of these belong to the Indian systems of medicine,” claims Vinod Kumar Gupta, head of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library. The discovery raised the question of why multinational companies are spending millions of dollars to patent treatments that they claimed were ineffective, Gupta said. “The problem with traditional medicines is that, yes it is known about within, say, sometimes a very small community,” legal expert Patricia Loughlan explained in an interview with Australia’s ABC News. “So big pharma can go into, say, India…and engage in what is sometimes called ‘bio-prospecting’ or ‘bio-piracy’,” she said. “They get this traditional knowledge and they patent it themselves and then start making monopoly profits from this patent for something that in effect they didn’t invent. They got the knowledge from someone who invented it say 500 years ago.” In Brussels alone there have been 285 patents for medicinal plants well known in Indian medical systems, principally ayurveda, unani and siddha, the investigation revealed.

> Gregory Shaffer of the University of Minnesota has posted Power, Governance and the WTO: A Comparative Institutional Approach. Abstract:

"The paper contends that, since all institutional processes are characterized by bias, institutional analysis-whether conducted from a normative or strategic perspective-should be comparative, the key question being how parties participate, or otherwise are represented, in an institutional context in comparison with its alternatives. As the paper shows, because of the open-ended nature of WTO rules, the WTO Appellate Body itself can engage in comparative institutional analysis and consider institutional alternatives in terms of their relative biases. The issue is not whether biases exist (they exist in all institutional contexts), but rather, what are the effects of an institutional process on participation in the weighing of competing concerns compared to its non-idealized institutional alternatives. The paper demonstrates the effects of institutional choice through its assessment of one of the WTO Appellate Body's most controversial decisions, one which has been referred to as a constitutional-like case for the WTO and global governance-the United States shrimp-turtle case. The case involved the interaction of domestic and international trade, environmental, and development concerns."