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Devils in the details
German doctors killed Anna Weiss as part of a Nazi euthanasia program directed at individuals they classified as disabled. The woman’s so-called disability, as recorded in trial documents: being an “unsympathetic Czech Talmudic Jewess.” “That ‘unsympathetic’ woman deserved to be named,” said Matt Seccombe
, who has been the primary analyst for Harvard Law School Library’s Nuremberg Trials Project. “In these mass atrocities, the names become numbers. They deserve to have their names recorded and remembered.”...The recently relaunched website allows everyone from scholars and researchers to casual history buffs to access the materials...Stephen Chapman
, manager of the project scanning teams, said his sense of responsibility to the project only increased as he spent more time with the documents...Along with Chapman and Seccombe, the small team on the project includes digital archivist Kerri Fleming
, web developer Paul Deschner
, and curator of modern manuscripts Edwin Moloy
The Wall Street Journal
Challenging China’s Illegal Maritime Baselines
An op-ed by Visiting Fellow Lynn Kuok.
The U.S. Navy on Friday conducted a freedom of navigation operation (Fonop) near disputed features in the South China Sea, its fourth in the past year. A destroyer, the USS Decatur, sailed “in the vicinity of the Paracel Islands,” close to but not within the 12-nautical-mile territorial limits of land features in the Paracels. In past Fonops, U.S. warships sailed within the 12-nautical-mile zone of land features claimed by China and other countries in the region. Those operations challenged unlawful requirements that a warship seek prior authorization or provide advance notification to exercise innocent passage in territorial waters. The latest operation was different.
U.S. News & World Report
Choose the Right International Law Program
Charting a path toward becoming an international lawyer can be difficult without strong mentoring, experts say. Marissa Brodney
, a second-year student at Harvard Law School with an interest in international law, says students like her need to attend a law school that has a full roster of potential career mentors who can guide students to options they might not have otherwise contemplated. "There's no one way to enter the international law field," she says. The key, Brodney says, is discovering a fulfilling personal path.
The New York Times
As 3 African Nations Vow to Exit, International Court Faces Its Own Trial
The International Criminal Court has begun investigating war crimes in Georgia, is looking into British soldiers accused of torture in Iraq and, in one of its most politically delicate missions yet, sent a team to Israel to discuss crimes in Gaza. But as the court tries to expand into new geography and investigate new types of crimes, it faces the most serious challenge to its existence: Three nations, all from Africa, have announced that they will no longer work with the tribunal, intensifying a longstanding debate over whether it is biased against the continent...Even in Syria, under extremely dangerous conditions, evidence is being collected with an expectation that people suspected of war crimes will one day have their day in court. “We are now at a point of no return on the question of international criminal justice,” said Alex Whiting
, a Harvard law professor and a former lawyer at the international court. “It is because the principle of international criminal justice has been established over these last 20 years that we are now so aware of it not being realized in Syria and elsewhere.”
Lawyers’ Fear of Trump Proves Their Point About Bullies
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
As a lawyer, I’m embarrassed that the American Bar Association commissioned a report about Donald Trump’s use of libel threats, then refused to publish it out of fear that Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, would sue the organization for libel. The episode, however, dramatizes how effective libel threats are in chilling speech -- and how they work in real life, driven by the professional caution that lawyers cultivate on behalf of their clients.
Twilight of the Nudges
The first line of Cass Sunstein
’s latest book, The Ethics of Influence, announces: “We live in an age of psychology and behavioral economics—the behavioral sciences.” For Sunstein, a Harvard law professor and former Obama administration official, this is as momentous a statement as saying we live in an age of antibiotics, steam engines, or the Internet. But just saying that nudges are here to stay does not make it so. In fact, if their future were not in doubt, why the need for yet another book on the topic—and so soon after his Father’s Day-gift-ready book on Star Wars—arguing that they should be here to stay? Like the president he served, Sunstein is now focused on cementing his legacy.
Two Messy Gitmo Trials Land at Supreme Court’s Step
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. Two important Guantanamo military commission cases are hovering on the edge of review by the U.S. Supreme Court, and the bad news is, both involve claims of legal overreach by government prosecutors. One defendant says he can’t be tried for the USS Cole bombing in 2000, because the U.S. wasn’t at war with al-Qaeda until Sept. 11, 2001. The other says he can’t be convicted of a conspiracy that didn’t come to fruition because international law doesn’t recognize such a crime. So far, neither defendant has prevailed in the lower courts, and it’s hard to say exactly how the Supreme Court would rule if it takes either of the cases. But what’s noteworthy is that, no matter the outcome, these two Guantanamo trials are going to end up tainted in the eyes of future legal scholars and analysts.