Through the FCIL Lens: Honduras, Sudan, Uganda, Georgia, Kuwait

By Marcelo Rodríguez

Welcome back to Through the FCIL Lens! I recently won an award as the FCIL-SIS Blog Post of the Year for this series (YAY!). I’m honored by this award and it gives me motivation to continue writing. As I finish teaching my Foreign, Comparative and International Legal Research class at the University of Arizona College of Law, I always introduce this concept of constant change taking place in foreign countries and how relevant it can be to your legal research. A student of mine mentioned two incredibly important words: intentional and flexible. That is exactly the frame of mind that I’m trying to cultivate in my class and in this series. 

Given the audience of this blog, the summaries of domestic situations I include here are packed with information and other sources which can be further developed, if needed. The intention here is to make the FCIL experts aware of these rapidly-evolving situations and events happening in flashpoints happening around the world, mostly the Global South.  

For this post I have chosen events that took place over the past two months, March and April 2023 in the following countries: Honduras, Sudan, Uganda, Georgia and Kuwait. As in previous posts, these summaries aim to be descriptive, introductory, and to provide a stepping stone for further comprehensive research. Each summary also includes at least three important authoritative secondary sources.

Upside Down Map

Honduras President, Xiomara Castro Lifts Ban on Contraceptive Pills

  • Garibotto, V. (2022). Uneven Reproductive Landscapes: The Abortion Documentary in Latin America. Latin American Research Review, 1-9.
  • Sosa, E., Menjívar, C., & Almeida, P. (2022). Elections and Social Movements in Honduras in the Central American Context. Revista Mexicana de Política Exterior, (122), 43-61.
  • Taylor, L. (2022). How South America became a global role model for abortion rights. bmj, 378.

Two Rivals Prompt Threats of Civil War in Sudan

  • Atta-Asamoah, A., & Mahmood, O. S. (2019). Sudan after Bashir-regional opportunities and challenges. ISS East Africa Report, 2019(23), 1-20.
  • Bassil, N., & Zhang, J. (2021). The post-Bashir era in Sudan: tragedy or remedy?. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 75(3), 252-259.
  • Grewal, S. (2021). Why Sudan succeeded where Algeria failed. Journal of Democracy, 32(4), 102-114.

New Bill in Uganda Becomes One of the Harshest Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation in the World

  • Amusan, L., Saka, L., & Muinat, O. A. (2019). Gay Rights and the Politics of Anti-homosexual Legislation in Africa. Journal of African Union Studies, 8(2), 45-66.
  • Jjuuko, A. (2021). Global struggles, local consequences: the impact of internationalisation on local LGBT struggles in Uganda. Critical Studies on Security, 9(3), 250-253.
  • Xie, N. (2010). Legislating hatred: Anti-gay sentiment in Uganda. Harvard International Review, 32(1), 6-7.

Georgia’s Foreign Agents Bill Gets Shelved Amid Massive Protests

  • Fawn, R. (2020). The Price and Possibilities of Going East? The European Union and Wider Europe, the European Neighbourhood and the Eastern Partnership. Managing Security Threats along the EU’s Eastern Flanks, 1-29.
  • Kakabadze, S. (2020). The East in the West: South Caucasus Between Russia and the European Union. Polity, 52(2), 273-287.
  • Oravec, P., & Holland, E. C. (2019). The Georgian Dream? Outcomes from the Summer of Protest, 2018. Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, 27(2), 249-256.

Yet Another New Kuwaiti Parliament and Government

  • Chay, C. (2020). Parliamentary Politics in Kuwait. In Routledge Handbook Of Persian Gulf Politics (pp. 327-345). Routledge.
  • Gavrielides, N. (2021). Tribal democracy: the anatomy of parliamentary elections in Kuwait. In Elections in the Middle East (pp. 153-191). Routledge.
  • Mesbah, H. (2022). Tweeted Attitudes towards Women Parliamentary Candidates in Kuwait: A Social Dominance Perspective. Journal of Digital Social Research, 4(1), 98-127.

Introducing…Amelia Landenberger as the May 2023 FCIL-SIS Member of the Month


Amelia behind the top of a dessert display holding a cup of tea and wearing a fancy hat.

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Suffield, Ohio, a few miles from my great-grandmother’s farm.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career? 

I knew that I wanted to be a librarian, and I had an idea that I’d like working in higher education, but I intended to get a JD/MLIS/MBA and then decide between working in business schools or law schools. I still don’t have the MBA, but never say never!

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and/or international law? 

I think my interest can be traced back to the books I read as a child. The dragons don’t live in your neighborhood, thank goodness, so if you want to find dragons you have to go on  adventures. I saw foreign, comparative, and international law as the most adventurous branch of law librarianship. 

4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there? 

I’ve worked at the Boston University Fineman and Pappas Law Libraries for almost five years now. 

5. Do you speak or read any foreign languages? 

I can muddle through in French, and I’ve studied Italian, German and Spanish. I also studied written Latin and I even took a course in reading Egyptian hieroglyphs (a perk of working in higher education).

6. What is your most significant professional achievement? 

My most significant professional achievement was when I advised a student that based on her interests and considerable research and writing talents, she’d be a great asset to a law journal. She wrote me an email a year or so later to say she’d become the editor-in-chief! I can’t always quantify my impact as a teacher so it was validating to hear that my suggestion was helpful.

7. What is your biggest food weakness? 

I love ice cream! I think I could eat it every day!

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance? 

I don’t often sing around other people but I have been known to sing “I’ll make a man out of you” from Mulan. 

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?

I wish I could speak many languages without having to work to learn them. In the film The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne has amnesia but as other people address him in non-English languages he finds that he can answer them without effort because he still remembers the languages, he just doesn’t know who he is. (Technically Jason still did all of the work to learn these languages, he just doesn’t remember it, but I still love the scenes where he discovers his linguistic talents as if by magic).

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without? 

Tea with milk; which is actually two things, but without the milk it’s just not the same. 

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?

I am grateful to be a part of such a generous profession. I deeply appreciate the librarians who have mentored me, listened to me, and led me towards growth as a librarian and a teacher.

ASIL 2023 Annual Meeting Recap : “International Law as a Tool Against Democratic Backsliding”

By David Isom

In recent years, events in countries including Brazil, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Poland, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey, the United States, and many others have led to fears that democracy worldwide is backsliding. With antidemocratic leaders co-opting the language of human rights to serve their own purposes, can international law guide the public regarding what really are and aren’t matters of human rights? Can international law offer protection for human rights defenders who are increasingly under attack, both figuratively and literally? In the face of democratic backsliding, what role can national courts play in promoting human rights? At this year’s American Society of International Law Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, Professor Diane Desierto of Notre Dame Law School moderated a session titled “International Law as a Tool Against Democratic Backsliding” which addressed such questions and the broader role that international law might play in countering antidemocratic trends.

The panel featured Shahrukh Alam, a human rights advocate at the Supreme Court of India; James Cavallaro, Executive Director of the University Network for Human Rights and a lecturer at Yale Law School; Professor Olabisi Akinkugbe of Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law; and Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch. The discussion of how a diverse range of groups (theocrats in the United States, Hindu nationalists in India, neo-imperialists in Russia) have all sought to justify their positions using the language of human rights law was fascinating, and it was interesting to hear the panelist’s views of how democratic backsliding is or is not happening in the countries on which they focus. As always, time constraints prevented the discussion from delving deeply into the subject, but it was a very strong session on a timely topic and a highlight of the conference.

Photo of panelists

From left to right: Diane Desierto, Olabisi Akinkugbe, Omar Shakir, James Cavallaro, Shahrukh Alam (on screen)

Participating from India by video, Alam began the discussion by calling the use of the vocabulary of human rights law to justify antidemocratic action as an “autoimmune disorder of democracy,” citing hate speech in India by the ruling caste and the Bharatiya Janata Party towards the country’s Muslim minority as an example. Further aggravating this problem, Alam said, is the colonial criminal justice system India inherited, which puts arrest at the beginning of the procedural process rather than at the end of an investigation: police can keep people in prison for 90 days without charges, and holders of public office are immediately suspended from such roles—making it a powerful weapon against political enemies. Increasingly, arrests for ordinary acts of speech and protest—particularly of Muslims and members of lower castes—are being made under the special terror acts instituted in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which allow detention on terror charges for up to 180 days.

Cavallaro said that the human rights movement has traditionally advocated for a thin notion of human rights, primarily by reacting to atrocities—environmental and economic justice did not have much of a presence in human rights activism until relatively recently. Vladimir Putin—who has justified Russian aggression on the grounds of “self-determination of the Russian people”—does not have a monopoly on distorting human rights law—so how can ordinary people distinguish between what are real human rights issues and what aren’t? Few media sources are capable of covering this well, but we can delegate to human rights organizations that work to document such phenomena. Finally, he said, the fact that the terminology of human rights law has been co-opted should be seen as a sign of its arrival as a real influence.

Akinkugbe pointed out that democratic backsliding isn’t happening everywhere—for example, the governments in Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria have allowed recent protests by opposition parties (though recent events in Zambia and elsewhere show that this is not the case across all of Africa). He also observed that democratic backsliding happens differently in different places, and said that we should distinguish the co-optation of human rights language by political parties trying  to rally their bases from actual democratic backsliding. In various national courts in Africa, claimants have adopted the language of human rights to get a foothold in court, and such “democratized disinformation” continues to be a challenge.

Shakir stated that while it might be fair to say that democracy specifically for Israelis has backslided, it’s more difficult to say this in the broader regional context, as democracy for Palestinians has been lacking for decades. He agreed that the general public might well be persuaded by human rights offenders who claim that they are following human rights doctrine, but said that the work of factfinders like Human Rights Watch is the best remedy, citing the 2018 Gaza protests (with war crimes by both Israeli armed forces and Palestinian armed groups documented by Human Rights Watch) as an example. Shakir also noted that as a region, the Middle East has few mechanisms for human rights (no regional human rights court, and little respect for human rights in domestic courts), which allows such atrocities to go unchecked.

Year of Professional Development: My First External Talk

By Devan Orr

Spring is on the horizon now in southeastern Virginia! Here at the law library, we can tell the semester is coming to an end by the students’ lament of finals and outlining, but also by the increasing number of conferences and talks as we ramp up and get ready for AALL Annual Conference and other major opportunities. In the spirit of

In December we learned about a community forum that was going to be hosted by VIVA, a Virginia academic libraries consortium. The topic was usability, accessibility, and design. An email was sent to members of the consortium that VIVA was looking for people to give lightning talks on work they had done in their libraries. Joanna and I had set up a program to increase accessibility to non-traditional students here at the law school, so we decided to throw our hats into the ring.

In 2021 and 2022, as part of my work with our international students, I noticed we had many students with children here at the school. Not everyone or even a majority, but more than expected for a school with only a traditional, three-year daytime J.D. program. I and some of my colleagues also have small children, and with the continuing pandemic and work-from-home responsibilities coupled with childcare flexibility, it felt like people needed more from our law library than just legal texts. As part of our investigation in what to do, Joanna and I found that some academic libraries have been implementing children/family study areas. And we wanted to do something similar here at William & Mary.

What ended up happening was a cosmic alignment of planned reorganization of the space, budgetary allowance, and support from my director and supervisor. We ended up purchasing about 40 children’s books, moving a low shelf and four-person desk from our reading room, and creating a small nook where families can study together in the library without disturbing their colleagues on the quiet floors. Children of all ages can feel welcome with their parents or guardians here, and students do not have to worry as much about childcare or lack of access to in-person resources. With this area now set up, we now wanted to share our experiences – good and bad – with others.

Image of shelves and books in children's collection
Featured above is our current children’s book collection, complete with biographies of Supreme Court Justices, books on ethics and social justice issues, and some toys.
Image of law library
Above is a view of the law library from the children’s collection shelves. The room is divided by the low shelves as well as a small desk bisecting the space and creating a barrier between the family-friendly seating of the armchairs and desk and the other spaces in the library.

To participate in the lightning talk, we first had to fill out an application to the consortium to be considered as one of the speakers. This process was less involved than I had anticipated. Because it was a small presentation during a community forum, the organizers were more focused on making sure the talk was on-topic and narrow enough to fit into a ten-minute presentation (and that included time for questions). We also needed to come up with a presentation style that would work to both get our point across and

While neither the program nor the presentation dealt specifically foreign, comparative, or international law, taking this first step toward presenting my work to others really helped me understand a side of my job that I hadn’t really considered before. I have attended conferences, listened to webinars, and networked with colleagues at various events. But being on the presenting side of things opened me up to a whole new set of duties – good and bad. We had to make sure we were able to attend a technology session the week before that I hadn’t planned on when looking at the dates and making sure I was available. We worked with moving deadlines for slides and materials submission, and day-of flexibility in presentation style and feedback. And we had to grapple with how to convey this information in a fun way as two-inch faces on someone’s computer monitor.

And it was all great! Getting to share work product externally was really fulfilling in a way I hadn’t anticipated. I think starting my career during the COVID-19 pandemic means I haven’t had the expectation of external feedback or experiences as much as others. Seeing many pictures on Zoom chime in during our presentation and others helped me feel like I was making a small difference and contributing to the profession in a small way. It was also my first opportunity to interface with other academic librarians outside of law librarianship. Seeing what other university libraries are doing was eye-opening – so much is transferable but so much isn’t. Graduate students, and law students, really, are their own breed and the needs just aren’t quite the same. But being surrounded by these additional viewpoints and seeing what their patrons needed in terms of accessibility and usability in a space gave us some ideas for plans at the law library.

What do you like to do for external presentations? Are you a PowerPoint and lightning talk advocate, or do you prefer something more long form? Do you like presenting with others or solo? Any topics on the horizon that you’re hoping to speak on soon? I know this first experience was a great one, and I can’t wait to tackle more FCIL topics and scholarship in the future and learn more from all of you too!

Introducing…Heidi Frostestad as the April 2023 FCIL-SIS Member of the Month


1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in small-town Iowa in Grant Wood country between Cedar Rapids and Dubuque. I enjoyed the setting for my youth and free roaming, but it made me want to explore the world.

2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career? 

I loved research, writing, and international law and business topics in law school.  After a year of practice in Chicago, I knew that it was time to pursue my real passions and go to library school.  My father had enrolled in library school at the University of Iowa as a second career after being a public-school teacher for over thirty years, so I followed his lead and advice and did the same.  I guess it goes to show you that you should always listen to your parents!  I have enjoyed every minute of law librarianship ever since—I’ve truly found my calling and am grateful every day.

3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and/or international law? 

I started developing an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law in law school through my law review note topic, coursework, research for professors, study-abroad program in England, and participation in the Jessup Moot Court team.  I then expanded my interest in library school at Iowa through the wonderful collection there and then further delved into foreign and international law as a law librarian with a focus on that area of expertise at Marquette (my first law librarian position) and Northwestern (with a more formal role). 

4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there? 

I currently am the law library director and associate professor of law at the Northern Illinois University College of Law.  I have been working at NIU since 2014, so it’s been almost nine years now. 

5. Do you speak or read any foreign languages? 

I have basic reading knowledge of French, Spanish, and a little bit of Norwegian (from my grandparents).

6. What is your most significant professional achievement? 

I am very thankful for my FCIL-SIS awards, especially the Dan Wade service award and the Reynolds and Flores Publication Award, because it recognizes my hard work for this wonderful SIS and the awards are dedicated to my FCIL law librarian heroes. 

7. What is your biggest food weakness? 

Oh my—this is tough, but I would have to say blue cheese (with a nice glass of Bordeaux wine).  I spent one summer teaching for a summer law program in Bordeaux, France, and that just worsened my affinity for cheese and wine.

8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance? 

Dancing Queen, ABBA – every time.  I took my daughter to a Mamma Mia production pre-pandemic and now she’s indoctrinated, too.

9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?

I wish that I could skydive and see the world from that vantage point, but I am dreadfully afraid of open-air heights!  

10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you can’t go a day without? 

Definitely coffee.  I am drinking a cup of coffee right now, and I got hooked in college (and it keeps me alert/productive or so I tell myself).

11. Anything else you would like to share with us?

FCIL-SIS librarians are amazing—keep up the fantastic work in our SIS and please reach out to me if I can ever help you with a project or anything at all.  Carpe diem!

Webinar Recap: “What in the world…is happening in Ukraine?”

By Sue Silverman

On March 7, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the FCIL-SIS held its second webinar in a series on international events that may impact FCIL-SIS and the wider AALL membership, “What in the world…is happening in Ukraine?,” focusing on the history of the crisis and the current international legal framework addressing the crisis.  Lidiya Grote from the University of Louisville moderated the panel which included Professor Oona Hathaway from Yale Law School and Victor Rud from the Ukrainian American Bar Association.

Victor Rud provided a historical context for Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.  Russia, the largest country in the world does not, as Rud explained, need more territory, nor is this a border dispute.  The reason can be traced back to a 1997 Russian army blueprint which proclaimed that wiping Ukraine off the map was integral to Russia’s larger goals of destabilizing Western democracies, including America and Europe. Ukraine is wholly different from Russia, with a distinct language and a democratic tradition that includes separate branches of government, checks and balances, and a separation of church and state all of which predates America’s own founding. Russia perceives Ukraine’s democracy as a threat and Russian media incessantly reminds its viewers of the necessity of wiping the nation of Ukraine off the face of the earth.  As such, the Russian military has targeted cities, cultural landmarks, and civilians.  Russia is also, as Rud explained, targeting the Ukrainian gene pool by deporting orphaned children and indoctrinating them in Russian culture. Rud emphasized that America’s role as a global deterrent is being tested and how America reacts to Russia’s invasion will be extrapolated by other actors to predict how America would react to other illegal invasions such as of Taiwan. 

Professor Oona Hathaway followed Rud’s historical overview with an explanation of how international law has shaped the global response, focusing on how the law has been used first for condemning the war, next as a basis for arming Ukraine, and finally, in initiating the process of prosecuting Russians and Belarussians for violations of international law. The current international order is rooted in post-World War II institutions and legal rules.  Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is in clear violation of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. In response, many observers fretted this could signal the demise of the post-World War II international legal order. Hathaway explained how international law has provided the foundation for condemning Russia’s invasion.  Though the UN Security Council remains paralyzed, the General Assembly passed a resounding resolution demanding Russia’s immediate withdrawal, as well as subsequent resolutions condemning the invasion.  The International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights have also weighed in, proclaiming the invasion to be in violation of international law.

The General Assembly resolutions and condemnations from international courts have helped set the stage for sanctions and the arming of Ukraine by the United States and Europe.  International law has also served as a justification for isolating Russia through targeted economic sanctions, the exclusion of Russia from international sports, and the expulsion of Russia from the Council of Europe.  And finally, international law serves as a basis for prosecuting Russians and Belarussians for war crimes in the International Criminal Court, or through a separate international tribunal. Hathaway emphasized that while Russia put the international order at risk, what will determine the future of the international order will be how nations respond, which so far has been through international law.  The big question is whether that response will be sustained through what will likely be a long-standing war.  As Lidiya Grote pointed out, Russia’s strategy is to wear us all out.  

Both Rud and Hathaway agreed that any negotiated settlement in which Ukraine ceded territory to Russia or gave anything up would be in violation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties since any concession by Ukraine would have been made under duress.  Thus, the invasion of Ukraine is not just about Ukraine, it is about the future of international legal order.  If Russia can get away with its flagrant violation of Article 2(4), it will succeed in undermining the fundamental rules of international law.  

From the Reference Desk: Correction

By Jonathan Pratter

My last post for From the Reference Desk (Publication of U.S. Treaties is Flawed) had some useful things to say about the publication of international agreements in the U.S., but the basic premise of the post was in error. In the post, I said that TIAS does not publish agreements that have been submitted to the Senate for advice and consent. That was wrong. TIAS does in fact publish agreements submitted to the Senate in the normal course after the agreement has been ratified and entered into force. I regret the error and apologize to readers of DipLawMatic Dialogues for the misleading post.

GlobaLex January/February 2023 Issue is Live

By Lucie Olejnikova

GlobaLex January/February 2023 issue is live featuring one new article, Researching International Labour Law, and seven updates: Cameroon, Eswatini (Swaziland), Nepal, Sudan, Forced Evictions and Disability Rights in Africa, “Space Asset” Under the Space Protocol to the Cape Town Convention and the Related Issues Under International Space Law, Researching the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations Notification Requirements. Webmasters and content managers, please update your pages. We thank all our wonderful authors, new and established, for their excellent contributions and commitment to open access authorship!

Researching International Labour Law by Erica Friesen and Brianna Storms at

Erica Friesen is a Research and Instruction Librarian & Online Learning Specialist at Queen’s University’s Lederman Law Library in Kingston, Canada. She holds an M.I. from the University of Toronto and a B.A. (Hons.) from McGill University. Erica has previously published on artificial intelligence and legal research, including a recent article titled “The Artificial Researcher: Information Literacy and AI in the Legal Research Classroom,” 26 Legal Writing 241 (2022). She is a member of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries and the American Association of Law Libraries.

Brianna Storms is a Research and Instruction Law Librarian at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. In this role she provides legal research assistance and delivers instructional sessions to students and faculty, as well as to other library patrons from the wider community. Prior to this role, Brianna served as a law association librarian where she delivered library and legal research services to members at various states in their careers (from articling and integrated practice placement students to senior law partners). She earned her Master of Library and Information Science degree from Western University (Ontario, Canada) and holds an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree with an Emphasis in Education from Trent University (Ontario, Canada).

UPDATE: Researching Cameroonian Law by Charles Manga Fombad at

Charles Manga Fombad, a Professor of Law and Director, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, holds a Licence en Droit (University of Yaoundé), LL.M. and Ph. D. (University of London) and a Diploma in Conflict Resolution (University of Uppsala). He was, from 2003-2006, Professor Honorarius of the Department of Jurisprudence, School of Law, University of South Africa. Professor Fombad is the author/editor of 17 books and has published more than 100 articles in international refereed journals, more than five dozen book chapters as well as numerous other publications and conference papers. In 2003, Professor Fombad received the Bobbert Association Prize for the best first article in the Journal for Juridical Science. He was also awarded the Wedderburn Prize in 2003 for a paper that appeared in the “Modern Law Review.” For three years, 2004, 2005 and 2007, Professor Fombad received the special commendation award from the University of Botswana Research Awards Committee as runner up on each occasion to the University Researcher of the Year.

UPDATE: The Law and Legal Research in Eswatini by Sibusiso Magnificent Nhlabatsi at

UPDATE: Forced Evictions and Disability Rights in Africa by Sibusiso Magnificent Nhlabatsi at

Sibusiso Nhlabatsi is a human rights lawyer; an admitted attorney of the High Court of eSwatini. Nhlabatsi currently works at the University of eSwatini as the Legal Clinic Principal. Nhlabatsi is working towards the completion of his LLM at the University of South Africa; he holds an LLB and a Diploma in Law from the University of eSwatini. Nhlabatsi is the founding director of the Institute for Democracy and Leadership (IDEAL) and the eSwatini Litigation Centre.

UPDATE: Researching the Legal System of Kingdom of Nepal by Sirjana Sharma Pokhrel and Dr. Md. Ershadul Karim at

Sirjana Sharma Pokhrel is working at the Paralegal Services of Tarrant County in Euless, USA since 2019. Paralegal Services is a solo semi-legal consulting firm in Dallas. Sharma worked at theLaw Office of Sirjana Sharmain Nepal for more than 15 years. She has been practicing law since 1996. She holds a LL.M. degree from Nepal Law Campus, Tribhuvan University specializing in commercial law and International and Comparative LL.M. from Dedman School of Law, Southern Methodist University, USA.

Dr. Md. Ershadul Karim is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and a non-practicing lawyer enrolled with Bangladesh Supreme Court.

UPDATE: Researching the Legal System of the Republic of Sudan by Mai Aman at

Mai Aman is a Sudanese lawyer and children’s rights advocate. She currently works as a project officer at the Children’s Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. She holds an LL.B. (first class honours) from the University of Khartoum and an LL.M. in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa from the University of Pretoria and is currently an LL.D. Candidate at the same institution. Her other areas of interest and expertise include democracy and transitional justice.

UPDATE: “Space Asset” Under the Space Protocol to the Cape Town Convention and the Related Issues Under International Space Law by Pai Zheng & Ruo Wang at

Pai Zheng is an Assistant Professor at the International Law School of East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL), Shanghai, China. He holds an LL.M. (Air and Space Law) from Leiden University, the Netherlands, an LL.M. (Public International Law) and a Ph.D. in Law (Cum Laude) from ECUPL.

Ruo Wang is an LL.M. Candidate (Public International Law) at the International Law School of East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL), Shanghai, China.

UPDATE: Researching the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations Notification Requirements by Cindy G. Buys at

Cindy G. Buys is a Professor and Director of International Law Programs at Southern Illinois University School of Law. She holds an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, a Juris Doctorate and a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the State University of New York at Albany.

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From the Reference Desk: Publication of U.S. Treaties is Flawed

By Jonathan Pratter

Edit: Upon further research, the author discovered TIAS does publish agreements submitted to the Senate. A correction is published at From the Reference Desk: Correction.

Screenshot of the title page of volume 35 of US Treaties and Other International Agreements

The publication of U.S. international agreements is defective. The U.S. adequately publishes executive agreements, but not treaties. The one current publication for U.S. international agreements is Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS). TIAS is now published exclusively online at the State Department’s website. But the fact is that TIAS publishes only executive agreements, not treaties. As readers of this blog know, treaties in U.S. practice are submitted to the Senate for advice and consent; executive agreements are not. A treaty is submitted to the Senate in a Senate treaty document. It goes to the Foreign Relations Committee. The treaty document contains the text of the agreement. Treaty documents are available online at The Foreign Relations Committee holds hearings on the treaty and deliberates. When the committee approves the treaty for advice and consent, it issues a Senate executive report that describes the deliberations and contains the resolution of advice and consent. The Senate executive report contains the text of reservations, understandings or declarations (RUDs) that the Senate wishes to attach to its advice and consent. The treaty then goes to the full Senate for a vote on the resolution of advice and consent.

The resolution of advice and consent to the treaty in the Senate is not ratification. The President, not the Senate, ratifies the treaty. If there was any doubt about this, it is settled explicitly by § 103(3) of the Restatement, 4th of Foreign Relations Law, which says in terms: “After the Senate provides its advice and consent, the President determines whether to ratify or otherwise make the treaty on behalf of the United States.”

As matters stand today, the only current source for the publication of U.S. treaties is the Senate treaty document (and the Senate executive report for the text of RUDs). It is true that the Bluebook allows citation to Senate treaty documents (see table T4.1), but this is far from ideal for the simple reason that this is not the ratified treaty.

Let it not be forgotten that a U.S. statute (1 U.S.C. § 112a) requires the Secretary of State to publish a compilation entitled United States Treaties and Other International Agreements, “which shall contain all treaties to which the United States is a party that have been proclaimed during each calendar year … The said United States Treaties and Other International Agreements shall be legal evidence of the treaties, international agreements other than treaties, and proclamations by the President of such treaties and agreements, therein contained, in all the courts of the United States, the several States, and the Territories and insular possessions of the United States.” This is U.S.T., which many law libraries have in its nice blue binding and which the Bluebook says continues to the present. But the sad fact is that U.S.T. has not been published since 1985!

By the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, treaties of the U.S. are part of the “supreme law of the land.” In light of that and of the State Department’s duty under 1 U.S.C. § 112a to publish treaties, the State Department should take the task more seriously. Other countries do a better job of it. The U.K. has the United Kingdom Treaty Series online; Australia has the Australian Treaties Database; Canada has the Canada Treaty Series online. There are not that many U.S. treaties each year. One solution, although it doesn’t strictly comply with 1 U.S.C. § 112a, would be to put treaties in TIAS. That would certainly be better than the situation we have now.

Another possibility is to resurrect United States Treaties and Other International Agreements. That would comply with 1 U.S.C. § 112a. In the past U.S.T. published agreements that first appeared in TIAS. That duplication is not needed. So U.S.T. would then be limited to treaties submitted to the Senate. That would produce one fairly slim volume each year. I hope the State Department will see that the current situation regarding the publication of U.S. treaties is fundamentally flawed and will adopt one of the suggestions made here.

Through the FCIL Lens: Nicaragua, Nigeria, Armenia/Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Vanuatu

By Marcelo Rodríguez

Welcome back to Through the FCIL Lens. As I have said before, this series aims to shed some light on developing flashpoints around the world which might be of importance to anyone engaged in FCIL work. In this series, I’m defining “flashpoints” as events and/or situations happening in different geographical regions which are (d)evolving rapidly, mostly reported in news or local sources in their respective languages; and with a considerable amount of information still not analyzed or pieced together in a comprehensive way. Because I live in the United States, I’m intentionally leaving out events taking place in North America or Western Europe. I believe these regions are well covered in the US and users do have access to a number of sources which can help.  

The stories that I cover in these series are also limited by the fact that I’m only one person, and I don’t want to overwhelm the readers with more than five situations at a time. Inevitably, I will be leaving out other flashpoints which I encourage others to follow or write about. Some of these situations or events are the following: Changes in Election Laws in Mexico, Sentencing of Nobel Prize winner in Belarus, Presidential Elections in Djibouti, Massive Protests Against Judicial Reform in Israel, Spiral of Violence in the West Bank, Expansion of Martial Law in Myanmar, etc. Furthermore, some of the events I have covered in this series before are still making the headlines in various countries such as Haiti, Tunisia, Iran, Hong Kong, India, Burkina Faso and Mali

For this post I have chosen events that took place over the past month of February 2023 in the following countries: Nicaragua, Nigeria, Armenia/Azerbaijan, Cambodia and Vanuatu. As in previous posts, these summaries aim to be descriptive, introductory, and a stepping stone for further comprehensive research. Each summary also includes at least three important authoritative secondary sources.

Upside Down Map
  • Ortega Expels Political Prisoners and Strips Them of Their Nicaraguan Citizenship
  • Maclure, R., & Avilés, M. S. (2023). Populist governance, caudillismo, and the crisis of education in Nicaragua: From the ideal of national purpose to political expediency. In Populism and Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy (pp. 141-157). Routledge.
  • Quesada, J. (2023). A Brief History of Violence in Nicaragua. In Higher Education, State Repression, and Neoliberal Reform in Nicaragua (pp. 171-188). Routledge.
  • Thaler, K. M., & Mosinger, E. (2022). Nicaragua: Doubling down on dictatorship. Journal of Democracy, 33(2), 133-146.
  • Unexpected Results in Nigeria’s Presidential Elections
  • Adegbola, O., & Okunloye, O. (2022). A tale of two kidnapings: Government response to Chibok & Dapchi attacks in Nigeria. Public Relations Review, 48(5), 102248.
  • Ahmad, S. S., Uddin, Z., & Shah, F. A. (2022). Presidential Election in Nigeria 2023 Trial and tribulation of democracy. Propel Journal of Academic Research, 2(2), 74-84.
  • Aniche, E. T., & Iwuoha, V. C. (2022). Beyond police brutality: Interrogating the political, economic and social undercurrents of the# EndSARS protest in Nigeria. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 00219096221097673.
  • International Court of Justice’s Decision on Nagorno-Karabakh’s Lachin Corridor
  • Budhram, T. (2019). Political corruption and state capture in South Africa. In Political Corruption in Africa (pp. 155-174). Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Onuoha, B. (2021). The Corruption conundrum of the Zuma Presidency. Journal for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences, 10(1&2), 14-29.
  • Von Holdt, K. (2019). The political economy of corruption: elite-formation, factions and violence. Society, Work and Politics Institute Working Paper, 10.
  • Cambodia’s Hun Sen Cements His Power Before July Presidential Elections
  • Hyde, S. D., Lamb, E., & Samet, O. (2022). Promoting democracy under electoral authoritarianism: Evidence from Cambodia. Comparative Political Studies, 00104140221139387.
  • Path, K., & Nhem, B. (2022). Vietnam’s Military and Political Challenges in Cambodia and the Early Rise of Cambodia’s Strongman, Hun Sen, 1977–79. TRaNS: Trans-Regional and-National Studies of Southeast Asia, 10(2), 127-144.
  • Ward, K., & Ford, M. (2022). Labour and electoral politics in Cambodia. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 52(4), 513-531.
  • Two Category 4 Hurricanes in Vanuatu Highlighted the Country’s Call for Action on Climate Change
  • Freestone, D., Barnes, R., & Akhavan, P. (2022). Agreement for the Establishment of the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law (COSIS). The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, 37(1), 166-178.
  • Mayer, B. (2022). International Advisory Proceedings on Climate Change. Michigan Journal of International Law, Forthcoming.
  • Pierce, C., & Hemstock, S. L. (2022). Cyclone Harold and the role of traditional knowledge in fostering resilience in Vanuatu. Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies, 26(1), 41-60.