Archive for the 'International Human Rights Law' Category

Arms Trade Treaty conference ends without agreement

Posted by on Jul 27 2012 | Genocide, Global Governance/World Government, guns, International Human Rights Law, International Law

The weeks-long conference at the United Nations to produce an Arms Trade Treaty is ending without the creation of a treaty. None of the draft treaties which have circulated in the past several days came remotely close to finding consensus support.

The impossibility of achieving consensus involved a wide variety of issues and nations, far beyond the Second Amendment concerns that have been raised by many American citizens.

The 2001 UN Programme of Action on Small Arms remains in effect. Over the last two decades, a large gun control infrastructure has grown up in the United Nations, not only in the headquarters building, but also within many of the UN various commissions and departments. Likewise, there are a significant number of NGOs which have a strong commitment to global gun control, and to using international law and the UN to solve what they consider to be the problem of excessive gun ownership in the United States. The NGOs and their UN allies have successfully used the 2001 PoA to sharply restrict gun ownership in some parts of the world, and they would have used the ATT  for the same purpose. That they did not succeed in creating an ATT may be very disappointing to them; they are not going to go away, or relent in the pursuit of their objectives.

But in their pursuit, they are not going to have the new weapon of an ATT. This is good news for human rights worldwide, especially for the fundamental human right of self-defense against violent criminals, and against violent criminal tyrannical governments.

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Weapons Laws of the Russian Federation

Posted by on Jun 12 2012 | guns, International Human Rights Law, Non-firearms Arms, Registration, Right to carry, Russia, Uncategorized

For those of who have been waiting for an English translation of Russia’s arms statutes, your wait is over. Independence Institute intern Margot van Loon is the author of the new Issue Paper, Weapons Laws of the Russian Federation. Here is a synopsis:

  • No permission or registration is needed to purchase and carry chemical defense weapons (e.g., tear gas guns) or electric defense devices such as stun guns.
  • Citizens have the right to acquire shotguns for self-defense and sport.
  • After five years of lawful ownership of a shotgun, a citizen may obtain a permit to purchase and use rifles for sporting purposes.
  • An individual may own up to five rifles and five shotguns.
  • Handguns are prohibited.
  • All firearms must be registered.
  • Before obtaining one’s first firearm, one must receive instruction in firearms laws and safety. Every five years, the firearms owner must pass a test demonstrating continuing knowledge of these subjects.
  • The first-time owner must also obtain a medical certification that he or she does not have any disqualifying conditions, such as mental illness or alcoholism.
  • In order to use a firearm for lawful self-defense, the crime victim must first attempt to give the criminal a warning, if practicable. Defensive use of firearms against women, the disabled, and minors is prohibited, unless they are attacking as part of a gang.

On the whole, the Russian Federation’s arms laws show considerably greater respect for the fundamental human right of self-defense than do the laws of some other European nations, such as the United Kingdom or Luxembourg.

The Russian Federation paper is part of continuing series of research papers from the Independence Institute providing full English translations of the arms laws of other nations. Other papers in this series are:

Colombia’s National Law of Firearms and Explosives. Full translation of the Colombian statutes, along with historical and narrative explanation. By Jonathan Edward Shaw.

Hungarian Weapons Law of May 2004. English translation and explanation, plus Hungarian text. By Crecy Azincourt.

Mexico’s Federal Laws on Firearms and Explosives.  By David Kopel.

If you would be interested in writing a paper for this series, please contact me using the information at the bottom of this page.

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Debate on Libya and the War Powers Act

Posted by on Jun 08 2011 | Constitutional Law, Global Governance/World Government, International Human Rights Law, International Law, libya, Russia, War Powers Act

(David Kopel)

Featuring British NGO representative Leslie Vinjamuri (pro-intervention, sees no legal problem), American peace activist Robert Naiman (anti-intervention, considers the intervention unconstitutional), and me (pro-intervention, but opposed to Obama doing it in violation of the Constitution and the War Powers Act). On the RT (formerly, “Russia Today”) television program “Crosstalk.” 27 minutes.


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Ecstatic crowds in Libya celebrating imminent use of U.S. military force against Gaddafi

Posted by on Mar 17 2011 | Genocide, International Human Rights Law, International Law

(David Kopel)

U.N. Security Council Resolution passes 10–0. Live feed from Benghazi on Al Jazeera English. The Resolution authorizes “all necessary measures” except military occupation of Libya. By my reading, the authorization includes destruction of Gaddafi’s anti-aircraft defenses, and of his air force and its mercenary pilots. As President Reagan once said, “We begin bombing in five minutes.” I hope.

UPDATE: Wall Street Journal reports that Egyptian army is shipping arms to the Libyan “rebels.” Which is to say, to the legitimate government of Libya. As the Declaration of Independence affirms, the only legitimate governments are those founded on the consent of the governed. Accordingly, the Gaddafi gang was never a legitimate government, merely a large gang of criminals who controlled a big territory. The French government’s diplomatic recognition of the legitimate Libyan government reflects this fact. @liamstack reports that France says it will be ready within hours to fly over Libya. @lilianwagdy says that Libyans in France are chanting “Zanga Zanga, Dar Dar, We will get you Muamar!” Vive la France! Vive Sarkozy! Vive les droits de l’homme!


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Text of U.N. Security Council draft resolution on Libya

Posted by on Mar 17 2011 | Genocide, International Human Rights Law, International Law

(David Kopel)

Right here, provided by the Inner City Press, which has long been the best English-language media covering the United Nations. The resolution authorizes member states–acting either through regional organizations or nationally–to “take all necessary measures” to establish a no-fly zone over Libya. It further authorizes the member states to enforce the arms embargo against Libya by interdicting ships on the high seas. The resolution forbids the establishment of an occupation force. A vote is set for 6 p.m. Eastern Time. On Twitter, @SultanAlQassemi writes that according Al Arabiya’s UN correspondent, China, Russia, and South Africa (in other words, the pro-dictator caucus on the Security Council) and two other countries will abstain.


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Post-Human Humanitarian Law: The Law Of War In The Age Of Robotic Weapons

Posted by on Jul 31 2010 | International Human Rights Law, Robotics

(David Kopel)

This interesting essay, by Vik Kanwar of Jindal Global Law School (India), reviews four new books that examine how the laws of warfare may or should change in response to the development of autonomous weapons a/k/a “warbots.”


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Bringing a case against Arizona before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Posted by on May 26 2010 | immigration, International Human Rights Law

(David Kopel)

Apparently that is the plan of several Mexican and Arizona legislators. (Original story in Spanish from El Semanario here.)

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is the Oranization of American States administrative body responsible for hemispheric human rights enforcement. Generally speaking, if the Commission finds that the government has violated human rights, the Commission attempts to resolve the matter by issuing recommendations to that the government. However, if the Commission considers the case unusually important, or if the government obdurately ignores the recommendations, the Commission can bring the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

That Court, ocated in San José, Costa Rica, has the duty is to interpret and hear cases on the American Convention on Human Rights. Significantly, however, the Convention has only been ratified by 24 of 35 OAS members, and the United States is not among the ratifiers.

Accordingly, the United States is not currently subject to the Court’s “adjudicatory function.” (In an adjuticatory function case, the defendant government can be ordered to pay money, or to do particular things). The adjuticatory function is available only if the defendant government has accepted the Court’s jurisdiction, and has ratified the American Convention on Human Rights. A state can accept the Court’s jurisdiction on a case-by-case basis, or can submit to blanket jurisdiction.

Besides adjudicating cases, the Inter-American Court can also act in an Advisory function. It does so when asked by an OAS agency or OAS member state. In the Advisory role, the Court can interpret the American Convention on Human Rights, or any other treaty which applies to human rights in the Americas. The Court can also advise whether existing or proposed domestic laws are compatible with those treaties.

Thus, unless the Senate ratified the American Convention on Human Rights and the US government accepted the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court, neither the Court nor the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights can issue a legally binding decision against the Arizona laws against illegal aliens. Either the Commission or the Court could issue non-binding advisory opinions as to whether the Arizona laws violate international law.


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