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Sunday Smack

Happy Easter to all those who are celebrating this weekend and all of you who are not, just have a wonderful weekend! :)

Should you wish to check out what’s been going on in the world this past week, here’s what I recommend to read:

Major Powers Reach Deal To Lower Tensions In Ukraine

I’ll admit I am a bit sceptical about this deal and find it hard to believe that any piece of it will be capable of “lowering tensions”. Let’s hope for the best though.

Ukraine Calls in the International Criminal Court

Now the case is in the hands of the ICC, its prosecutor will have to decide whether the court can deal with it or not.

Sense and Nonsense of Territorial Referendums in Ukraine, and Why the 16 March Referendum in Crimea Does Not Justify Crimea’s Alteration of Territorial Status under International Law

The long title covers a long and detailed analysis of the international law aspects of the referendum in Crimea.

On Edward Snowden’s Propaganda Stunt for Putin

Interesting take on Snowden’s appearance on Putin’s telethon suggesting it was scripted. Interesting and thought provocing suggestion (and I am far from being an admirer of Snowden or of what he did).

Too bad Snowden’s English is not the kind of English Mr. Putin is used to. I wonder what kind of English that would be.

Anyway, screw Snowden, my favorite part was this:

Sunday Smack

Happy Sunday, everybody!

Another weekend has already passed, that I did not spend how I meant to: with rest. Perhaps next week.

A lot of exciting things going on in the world these days that worth paying attention to, though. Here’s what I’ve read about them up until Friday, since I have yet to catch up with the latest myself. What can I say, it happens. :)

Kerry Accuses Moscow of ‘Unmistakable’ Covert Ops in Eastern Ukraine

And Russia’s pursuit of domination in Ukraine goes forward already. One would think Putin at least could wait a little to divert attention.

Can UN Peacekeepers Stop Ethnic Cleansing in the Central African Republic?

The question is whether the international community is willing and able to act in time to prevent a major humanitarian catastrophy. For some it’s the matter of money, for others it’s the matter of will.

The Use of ‘Do it Yourself’ Barrel Bombs under International Law

Considering the international law aspects of using DIY WMDs in itself is interesting. This great post is about their use by Assad’s Syrian forces.

Will Investors Stop Burma’s Backslide?

Or will Burma’s backslide stop investors instead? Some worrysome news on the human rights front that could stop Western democracies seeking a good relationship with the newly democratized country.

Beware appearances: behind the Sisi hype

Egypt is yet another country that has done a lot to estrange Western allies. How long will it last? And will being actually elected legitimize Sisi’s power?

united-nations:

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently visited war-torn Central African Republic, where the security situation is deteriorating and human rights abuses continue.

"My first message is to the people of the country: You are not alone. The United Nations is honoured to be by your side," he said.

On Thursday the UN Security Council established a peacekeeping mission in the country which, as of September, will comprise of up to 10,000 military personnel. Find out more in this video.

Share these images to help draw the world’s attention to the crisis.

Sunday Smack

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I used to know a professor at law school, who was very proud that he has never been to vote at any elections. Ever. Not once. He talked about politics a lot, teaching administration law, he had stuck quite a few political comments to each and every topic. He kept repeating his conviction that not voting entitles him to criticize all political sides as he wishes.

I always thought just the opposite! If you don’t care to share your opinion on the one single occasion it actually counts, then shut the f#@$ up all other times.

As a sociologist, I used to work with politics a lot myself, in my thesis I analized elections in the media. I have never planned to work in politics directly, as a lawyer I am still pretty close to it, but at least in every four years (or a lot more, actually) my sociologist self comes out and makes me see things through a different lense.

Although, referring to my professor, I do think voting gives me the prerogative to share my opinion about whaterver I wish, I consciously try to avoid being political here. So, let me just say this briefly. I am far from being satisfied with how things are going in Hungary lately. I am a strong believer in democracy and international organizations, and these are just two things I believe in that the current government is drifting our country away from.

It is one thing that there is a political party with tyrannical pursuits (there will always be parties like that in every country). The much sadder thing in my opinion is that there is a people that lets them do these things almost without critisism.

As one of my favorite historical figures, István Széchenyi put it: “Every nation has the government that it deserves. If for some reason goofy or nasty people hold down on a wise and honest population, the people will send those poor fellows to the depth of hell in no time. But if a rascal government stays in position permanently, then it is certain that the failure is of the nation. Then that nation is infamous or uneducated.”  I think it is the latter for us. 

My sociologist self wanted to go into more detailed political analysis, but I stopped her. Maybe some other time. Or some other platform. Instead, let’s see what interested my international lawyer self this week.

/Oh, the pictured quote is of course from Aaron Sorkin, as said by C.J. Cregg on The West Wing./

Palestine Seeks to Join UN Treaties and Conventions. What This Means

As Israeli-Palestine peace talks seem to have reached a stalemate once again, Palestine decided to join a few UN bodies and not to join others.

North Korea lies to the world ahead of its UN review

While it is no surprise it does, it really makes me wonder who writes all this stuff, and whether they really believe what they are stating. Again the psychology of politics is the most amazing.

Subsequent Practice in the Whaling Case, and What the ICJ Implies about Treaty Interpretation in International Organizations

I did not really care about this case before, but its judgement seems to redefine quite a few concepts of international law.

Witness (3) Arthur Ivatts: Can the United Kingdom’s experience help prevent the mis-education of Roma, Gypsy and Traveler children?

This is a very crucial question in Hungarian politics, one that political parties can gain or loose votes on. I, for one, am a strong belilever in education as the foundation of any solution of the roma issue, so I was extremely happy to read about successes on that front. Make sure to check out the other posts of this series too.

Hungary votes

Parliamentary elections are held in Hungary on Sunday, April 6.

The governing Fidesz party, the likely winner of this election have previously made numerous changes on the election law with its 2/3 majority in parliament.

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The size of parliament has been reduced from 386 to 199 MPs. 106 of those seats are filled by individual candidates and the rest from party lists.

This is the first time in 24 years, since the fall of communism that there won’t be a second round held according to the new law. The final results will be decided today by the above pictured rules.

As you can see below, there are 18 party lists to choose from which is a record number of registered candidate parties.

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BTW, this is also the first time I can post this picture on election day without considering whether this platform falls under the effect of Hungarian election law thus violating campaing silence, as there is no campaign silence in the new rules. Except for 150 meters around voting stations, you can talk politics all you want all day long.

I could go on listing a number of novelties, like voting rights for non-resident Hungarian citizens; no minimum turnout for a valid election; the national minority list and the right for minorities to send a spokesperson to parliament whether they gain enough votes or not.

Check out the Hungarian National Election Office’s homepage to learn more.

And, if you are a voting aged Hungarian citizen in Hungary today, please go cast your vote!

shortformblog:


Anja Niedringhaus faced down some of the world’s greatest dangers and had one of the world’s loudest laughs. She photographed dying and death, and embraced humanity and life. She gave herself to the subjects of her lens, and gave her talents to the world, with images of wars’ unwitting victims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and beyond.
Shot to death by an Afghan policeman Friday, Niedringhaus leaves behind a body of work that won awards and broke hearts. She trained her camera on children caught between the front lines, yet who still find a place to play. She singled out soldiers from their armies as they were confronted by death, injuries and enemies’ attacks.

Niedringhaus, a Pulitzer Prize winner, was one of two Western journalists shot by the Afghan police officer ahead of the election in the country.

shortformblog:

Anja Niedringhaus faced down some of the world’s greatest dangers and had one of the world’s loudest laughs. She photographed dying and death, and embraced humanity and life. She gave herself to the subjects of her lens, and gave her talents to the world, with images of wars’ unwitting victims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and beyond.

Shot to death by an Afghan policeman Friday, Niedringhaus leaves behind a body of work that won awards and broke hearts. She trained her camera on children caught between the front lines, yet who still find a place to play. She singled out soldiers from their armies as they were confronted by death, injuries and enemies’ attacks.

Niedringhaus, a Pulitzer Prize winner, was one of two Western journalists shot by the Afghan police officer ahead of the election in the country.

NATO turns 65 today!
Watch this great video timeline:



statedept:

On April 4, 1949, #SecState Dean Acheson signed the most successful military-political treaty in the world. This treaty has been protecting citizens and keeping peace around the world ever since. Happy Birthday, #NATO! #throwbackthursday #NATOat65

NATO turns 65 today!

Watch this great video timeline:

statedept:

On April 4, 1949, #SecState Dean Acheson signed the most successful military-political treaty in the world. This treaty has been protecting citizens and keeping peace around the world ever since. Happy Birthday, #NATO! #throwbackthursday #NATOat65

thepoliticalnotebook:

Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa and photojournalist Ricardo Garcia Vilanova returned home today after six months held captive by an Al Qaeda-linked group in Syria. Above, Espinosa greets his son Yerai on the Torrejon military airport in Madrid.
Photo: AFP/Getty

thepoliticalnotebook:

Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa and photojournalist Ricardo Garcia Vilanova returned home today after six months held captive by an Al Qaeda-linked group in Syria. Above, Espinosa greets his son Yerai on the Torrejon military airport in Madrid.

Photo: AFP/Getty

Sunday Smack

50th Birthday Party Decorations Giant  Party Sign 50

Welcome to the 50th Sunday Smack!

That’s right, the 50th! :)

How great that this one is the first Sunday Smack I get to write on my new laptop! Yes, that of course means I have no excuse anymore not to act on all my great ideas regarding this blog (and everything else). 

Minus two weeks, I have been doing this for a whole year. It is unbelievable, really, and I have to say I’ve really enjoyed every bit of it, it helps me keep my professional reading in order. I can only hope it’s also useful to at least a few of you out there who are reading - for which I am grateful as always!

So, here’s to another 50! I hope to see you all here in another 50 weeks!

And now, on to much more serious issues, here’s my usual (I can say usual after 50, right?) weekly round up my favorite reads of the week…

The 5 Territories that Russia Could Annex Next

There are quite a few regions surrounding Russia with ethnic Russian minorities just like Crimea. Are they in danger now?

Crimea and (the Lack of) Continuity in Russian Approaches to International Law

Great piece on how this was not the first time Russia changed its mind over international treaties on Crimea.

Obama and Putin Talk Ukraine as Tensions Mount

Honestly, I think there is nothing at this point that the US and/or the international community can say or do to turn Russia back. Not just on Crimea, but on whatever Putin’s next plan is. Yet, it is interesting to see them trying.

Finally Some Justice for Sri Lanka?

After 5 years, there seems to be a chance now to bring perpetrators of mass atrocities in Sri Lanka to justice.

Sisi declares his presidency run

Not that it is a surprise. Egypt is on its way back to the times of pre-revolution regimes, if not there already.

It’s Earth Hour today!

For about three years now I participate. Usually I take part in the official Earth Hour program somewhere, but this year I had a pre-scheduled program somewhere else. Still, I won’t be home at the time (20.30-21.30), so switching off will be no sacrifice.

Will you participate?

Sunday Smack

Happy Sunday Everybody!

You may forgive me for citing various pieces on the very same topic again, but there are such exciting debates going on in international law circles these days that it’s hard to choose but a few.

On Crimean Secession, Fairness and Self-Determination

Great one about the numerous aspects and previous precedents to keep in mind when judging this case.

The Precedential Value of the Kosovo Non-Precedent Precedent for Crimea

I can see non-lawyers rolling their eyes right now, but this is actually well-explained in the post, worth checking out.

Crimea’s Declaration of Independence

This is another one on the Kosovo precedent of the ICJ and how it relates to the Crimean case.

Crimea’s Referendum and Secession: Why it Resembles Northern Cyprus More than Kosovo

And one more on the legal perception of self determination with examples from the past.

Looking at Maidan through the Nicaragua Standard: Did the EU and the US violate the Non-Intervention Principle?

Great, thought provocing post on things we might not know or just never considered regarding Ukraine’s revolution.

What the MH370 Mistery Tells us About Southeast Asian Politics

While the search goes on, there might be deeper causes behind the ineffectiveness over there (and no, this one’s not about conspiracy theories).

Exclusive: South Sudanese Military Targets United Nations

There is a UN Peacekeeping force operating in South Sudan and the South Sudanese government’s relationship with the UN is worse than ever.

On World Water Day I just have to share this.

united-nations:

22 March is World Water Day!
Saving water saves energy; saving energy saves water — and both are crucial for reducing poverty.
Find out what you can do to promote sustainable water and energy here.

united-nations:

22 March is World Water Day!

Saving water saves energy; saving energy saves water — and both are crucial for reducing poverty.

Find out what you can do to promote sustainable water and energy here.