Jul 15, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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JAN 035 - If You Cross the Border, What is the Law Which Governs Your Conduct?- A Neophyte’s Look at Public and Private International Law

Lower Division

“The world is flat,” says New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Maybe, but countries still have borders. Borders represent the jealous protection of the customs, mores, religion, and laws of each country’s peoples. Crossing borders invites a duty of respect and compliance. But in this globalized world, whose law applies to exchanges among this family of nations or to citizens in transit or to international commercial transactions?

Concepts such as “crimes against humanity” were used post-World War Two to prosecute Nazi leaders and the war leaders of Japan. Who had the authority to make such laws, especially after the wrongful acts had already been committed? Who has the power to prosecute Balkan Serb leaders for their acts against indigenous Muslims and again in the prosecution of the tyrants of Rwanda.

The United Nations, the European Economic Union, NATO, the World Trade Organization and the like come about following the principles of public international law-the stuff of diplomats. But what about the alleged environmental wrong doings of Texaco in Ecuador? Should Chevron, who purchased Texaco after the alleged spills, be liable? To whom? Who should decide… Ecuador courts or U.S. courts?

Nation-to-nation public international law has a long history from which certain principles have become accepted practice. The same is not true for law governing conduct of individuals or trans-national commercial activities. This course introduces participants to the fascinating and complex world of public and private international law, the glue which brings certainty to the cross-border activities of globalization.

Course credits: 1

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