The Reluctant Reformer? Australia’s Role in the Fight Against International Bribery and Corruption – Anita Clifford

Close to twenty years after the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials entered into force, significant reform of Australia’s anti-bribery architecture is underway. Parliamentary debate over the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill 2017 (Cth) (the Bill) is anticipated during the next half of 2018. With an anti-bribery focus, the Bill presents an opportunity for Australia to play a greater role in the global fight against corruption and its pernicious effect on fair business and basic human rights. Sentiments expressed by Kofi Annan on the adoption of the 2003 UN Convention against Corruption are no less pertinent today. Imploring all nations, prosperous and less prosperous, to cooperate against corruption, the then Secretary-General noted that it ‘hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermining a government’s ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice, and discouraging foreign investment and aid’. Relatedly, bribery and corruption stagnates the rule of law and breeds distrust in government institutions.

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Interview with William Brydie-Watson, Legal Officer at Unidroit – Nandini Bajaj

I recently had the opportunity to interview William Brydie-Watson, a legal officer at the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Unidroit). Unidroit was established in 1926 as an auxiliary body for the League of Nations, and then reformed in 1940 under the Unidroit Statute. Its purpose is to study and develop needs and methods for modernising, harmonising, and coordinating private law between States, with a focus on commercial law. Mr Brydie-Watson oversees the development of several of Unidroit’s current legislative projects, acts as Unidroit’s representative to APEC, manages the Unidroit Foundation as well as supervising interns and research scholars at Unidroit.

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After the Greater Sunrise: The Foundations and Future of Alternative Dispute Resolution in International Law – Molly Thomas

The recent success of the conciliation between Timor-Leste and Australia has put a spotlight on alternative dispute resolution in international law, a far cry from the disappointments of the South China Sea arbitration in which China refused to participate. In the context of these recent developments, this article will explore the philosophy, popularity and possibilities of alternative dispute resolution in international law.

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Australia’s disengagement from international refugee law: The principle of non-refoulement and the doctrine of jurisdiction – Sophie Capicchiano Young

In an interview with Guardian Australia, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has voiced his opinion that ‘like-minded nations’ should consider a revision of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (“the Convention”). The objective of such a revision would be (though he has not explicitly said so) to degrade the non-refoulement obligation, which provides that States cannot expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. It is the cornerstone to refugee protection and the subject of the vast majority of refugee-related litigation globally.

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A New Dawn for the Greater Sunrise? Recent Developments in the Timor Sea Maritime Boundary Debate – Esther Pearson

On 6 March 2018, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Julie Bishop MP, and His Excellency Mr Hermenegildo Pereira, the East Timor Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister for the Delimitation of Borders, signed a historic agreement on the delimitation of maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea. The agreement, known formally as the Treaty Between Australia and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Establishing Their Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea, was signed in New York in the presence of the United Nations Secretary-General and the Chair of the Commission that conciliated the dispute between the two nations.

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Assisted Dying in Victoria – Part I: An Overview of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) – Stevie S Martin

Victoria has recently become the latest jurisdiction to legalise assisted dying (a term employed here as a ‘catchall’ phrase intended to cover both assisted suicide and euthanasia). It joins Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the US States of California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, and the District of Columbia, which have all introduced legislation permitting some form of assisted death.

Missing from this list are jurisdictions such as Switzerland in which assisted suicide is not unlawful but is also not expressly permitted by legislation. This might come as a surprise, as Switzerland is widely recognised as a jurisdiction that allows assisted suicide, largely as a result of organisations such as Dignitas which provide assistance to residents and non-residents in dying by suicide. In Switzerland, however, there is no legislation akin to Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (‘VAD’). Rather, art 115 of the Swiss Penal Code criminalises assisting or inciting another’s suicide based on ‘selfish motives’. Thus, provided the assistance is not so motivated, it may be given without risk of prosecution.

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The United Nations Human Rights Council: Bridge or Barrier to Change? – Dr John Pace

In his address at the opening of the current session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), the High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Husseini announced that, since this would be his last address as High Commissioner, he was going to be blunt – and indeed blunt he was.

His first target was the permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council (SC) and the ‘pernicious use of the veto’, which made those who used it responsible, ‘second to those who are criminally responsible … for the continuation of so much pain … it is they – the permanent members – who must answer before the victims’.

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The Exponential Growth of Child-Abuse via the Internet: A call for International and National Action – Judith Latta

With the development of peer-to-peer networks and the dark web (a sub set of the deep web), child abuse activities are now mostly occurring in anonymous and encrypted environments largely out of reach of law enforcement bodies. Images are stored by the terabytes on personal hard drives and shared by the millions. For some people the anonymity seems to have ignited what may previously have been latent tendencies. (Understanding and Preventing Online Sexual Exploitation of Children, Edited by Ethel Quayle and Kurt M. Ribisl. 2012 Routledge. Chapter 11, ‘Situational prevention of child abuse in the new technologies’. Richard Wortley, Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, University College London. Introduction.) Fueling the problem and driving it to new almost unthinkable dimensions is the issue of desensitisation and destabilisation. (Heather Wood, Internet pornography and paedophilia, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, (2013) 27:4, 319-338)

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Rights to Abortion in 2018: Sensing the Winds of Change? – Ailsa McKeon

It has been estimated that each year, approximately 25 million unsafe abortions take place. This number represents nearly half of all abortions undertaken worldwide. Almost all unsafe abortions occur in developing countries, where around 7 million women annually are hospitalised following terminations performed without the assistance of a trained health worker and in other conditions that place women at risk. Whether abortion is legal and accessible play an enormous role in determining whether a woman will have to take this route to end an unwanted pregnancy.

It is undeniable that the right to life represents a fundamental building block to achievement of all other human rights, but where argument tends to arise is in asking in whom this right accrues. The question of when life begins, considered from scientific, legal, philosophical and religious perspectives, yields a variety of answers, none of which is definitive. Yet, while this may be an interesting philosophical debate, for women seeking to terminate unwanted pregnancies the discord becomes tangible. Throughout the world women’s bodies are the subject of government intervention in the form of how society deals with the legality and practicalities of abortion. While some regimes are highly permissive, treating abortion as an issue of women’s health, others are restrictive to the point of harm, to the extent that a woman may be convicted of a crime for having suffered a miscarriage.

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