ILSA has announced that the 2011 Jessup Compromis will address the legality of the use of unmanned drones and international anti-corruption law.
First things first – I think there has to be a special prize to one fellow judge who remarked that after a year of peaceful coexistence, Jessup would return to its root in war and chaos. I think unmanned drones and bribery fit right into that.
On to the selection of issues. The first one seems particularly apt given that the first issue is one that is being discussed actively at the moment due to the Obama Administration’s policy of using such strikes. The remarks of Harold Koh at the ASIL conference, the reaction to that commentary at Opinio Juris and Intl Law Grrls and the symposium on this issue that is forthcoming in the North Dakota Law Review all spring to mind. On the other hand, if the Obama Administration is required to turn over the legal briefs on which it based its view on the legality of these measures, I’m not sure there’s going to be a whole lot of careful research into this issue that won’t be driven by US policy concerns.
In relation to corruption, I confess to being much less well informed on what the policy drivers are for the selection of this issue. The UN Convention on Corruption is rather long standing as is the OECD Bribery Convention (which has seen updates in 2009 to include a code of practice).
One intriguing angle that does suggest itself to me is along the lines of the scandal that engulfed BAE in the UK where BAE who were the manufacturer of various weapon systems (if, hypothetically we were to say unmanned drones) involved in alleged corruption in Saudi Arabia. Of course if that were the case, the decision of the House of Lords in R (On The Application of Corner House Research and Others) V Director of The Serious Fraud Office and the ongoing US Department of Justice investigation into the same conduct might spawn into required reading.