Monday, 23 December 2013

Article: The European Union and Abolition of the Death Penalty



CHRISTIAN BEHRMANN AND JON YORKE, The European Union and Abolition of the Death Penalty, 4 PACE Int'l L. Rev. Online Companion 1 (2013) 1-78.

For the full article in the PACE International Law Review Online Companion, see, 

http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1038&context=pilronline


ABSTRACT
The European Union has become a leading regional force in the progress towards a world free of state sanctioned judicial killing in the form of the death penalty. This article investi- gates how the EU has evolved its abolitionist position. It ana- lyzes the development of the region’s internal policy beginning in the European Parliament, to the rejection of the punishment being mandated as a Treaty provision, which evolves into an integral component of the external human rights project. The EU has now formulated technical bilateral and multilateral in- itiatives to promote abolition worldwide. This is most clearly evidenced in the EU playing an important role in the 2007 United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the moratori- um on the use of the death penalty, and the strengthening of the resolution in 2008, 2010, and 2012. This article demon- strates that the EU’s contribution to the abolition of the death penalty is a recognizable success story of human rights, and it is one aspect of the regions’ policies that was rewarded in 2012 with the Nobel Peace Prize.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Introduction..............................................................................3 
II. Internal Policy and the Abolition of the Death Penalty ........6 
A. The Evolution of the Political Process ...........................6
B. The EU Treaties and the Formation of Internal Abolition Criteria................16 
III.Abolition and the EU’s External Human Rights Policy ......23 
A. EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty...........................24 
B. Bilateral Diplomacy......................................................25 
i. General Bilateral Action ........................................29 
ii. Individual Cases....................................................34 
IV. Amicus Curiae .....................................................................35 
V. Action in the Multilateral Fora ............................................56 
VI. Transfer of Persons in Security Circumstances..................62 
VII. Prohibition of the Trade in Execution Technologies .........64 
VIII. Funding of Abolitionist Civil Society Organizations ......72 
IX. Conclusion: A Human Rights Success Story .......................76 
Appendix 1.................................................................................77 

Monday, 2 December 2013

Observations on the Benefits of International Clinical Placements for Law Students

by Sarah Cooper, Barrister and Senior Lecturer in Law, BCU Law School

In October 2013, I attended the Clinical Legal Education Organisation Workshop hosted by the University of Portsmouth.  Given my experience co-directing Birmingham City University’s American Legal Practice (ALP) Programme, which is the largest UK – USA legal internship programme in the UK, I was invited to sit on a panel discussing international clinical placements for law students. To date, BCU has provided around 500 students with the opportunity to work pro bono in an American law office, project or organisation for academic credit, and has created relationships with over 100 hundred host partners. Along with my colleagues at the Centre for American Studies at BCU (Professor Julian Killingley and Dr Jon Yorke), I also contribute to the Amicus Training Programme that readies students and professionals to undertake death penalty internships in America. This blog post shares some of the main benefits of international clinical placements.

Student Experience and Employability
Internships provide an excellent student experience and demanding learning curve by thrusting students into dynamic and unfamiliar working environments. Students can finally put theory into practice. Students are expected to conform to office etiquette and handle the pressures of often stressful work environments, such as court rooms, prisons and crime scenes. Students handle a plethora of work tasks including legal research, motion/ brief drafting, presentation formulation, witness and client interviews, and jury selection analysis and legal strategy meetings. They also engage with a variety of professionals including attorneys, psychiatrists, investigators and public officials, which encourages the development of a variety of social skills that are imperative to them becoming successful professionals. Students are exposed to a diverse range of political, cultural and lifestyle choices in the US and are asked to embrace and understand the differences between the people, places and opinions they encounter. The fact that students carry out their internships pro bono encourages them to develop a sense of community responsibility, economic considerations and to understand the wider use of the skills they have learnt in Higher Education. By creating more personable, confident, well-rounded and internationally aware young adults international clinical placements can have a massive intellectual impact.

National and International Impact
Students engage with very important work. For example, BCU students have worked on the defence cases of those alleged to have been involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, they have worked in the New York City Headquarters of the United Nations on refugee, gender and various ‘right to life’ issues, and at the American Bar Association in Washington DC, contributing to major research projects concerning prosecutorial misconduct. We have also had three students serve as clerks for a Third Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, and a Civil Court judge in Chicago. Numerous students have worked for the National Innocence Network and contributed to the work of innocence and justice projects. Others have worked on death penalty and serious felony cases for indigent defendants at industrious organizations such as the West Texas Public Defenders Office in Lubbock, Texas and the Death Penalty Litigation Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri.  Students are exposed to the most prestigious legal organisations in the United States and thus the programme not only offers students an opportunity to observe world issues from a front line position, it provides them with a genuine opportunity to shape them.

Student Achievement
The majority of students obtain first class grades for their practical performance as interns from their host.  Students clearly perform excellently in their personal as well as professional interactions, and absorb a lot of useful information in short periods of time. A number of our students have even been offered jobs by their hosts after completing their internships. An internship of this kind, of course, is also an attractive feature on a CV. Many of our students have reported their internships have been a focus point for discussions at job interviews, scholarship applications, and applications for further study.

Of course difficulties can also arise when providing international clinical placements.  The appropriate provision of academic training can be overly intensive for students, and, in particular, training students in cultural and political nuances can be tricky. Moreover, the making of logistical arrangements can be resource intensive (for academics and students), as can the development of new contacts and sustaining of long-term host partners. There is also a lot of intuition that goes into placing students. There is a particular knack to knowing what type of student will suit a particular host. Also, sometimes students may only realise an international placement is not for them when they arrive on foreign soil, as such it is also important to develop contingency plans.

In my experience, the benefits of international clinical placements far outweigh these potential difficulties. Moreover, at a time when students must distinguish themselves in order to successfully compete in a job market that is becoming increasingly global in nature, an international clinical placement may be the key to success.