Friday, July 24, 2009
Prof. Gates' arrest did not come as a huge surprise to me (unfortunately)... 99% of my clients (criminal defendants) are either black or Hispanic. I know very well how so many white police officers treat my clients out in the streets. But somehow Obama's disappointed remark about how 'stupid' the police were, raised furor, forcing him to explain his comment away... One more example of how racially divided our country is... Is racial profiling just an expression or reality?! I am quite upset that they even dare to force Obama to take back what he says when he does not even say enough, in light of his own race and political posture... As much as he tries to unify this country-- an awesome and courageous promise-- I doubt if some people even appreciate it or want to embrace. Believe me, they are intransigent.. It is a wall that you can break yourself on before trying to break it.
As a side note, this incident also shows how fragile and insecure is Obama's position at this time. Did Bush ever have to explain away his comments, as stupid and outrageous as they were, or even apologize for anything? Why would Obama, the first African-American President, be treated differently?!
Click here for the story
Friday, July 10, 2009
The European Court of Human Rights has decided that the case of Georgia v. Russia is admissible to be heard in that Court. Press release.
This was a very important step forward because the ECHR declares many applications inadmissible. Of course, this was only a threshold to cross and as the press release indicates, in no way pre-judges the merits of the case. But the Court basically disagreed with the Russian Government's arguments that these allegations were unsubstantiated.
I do not have in my hands the documents and materials submitted by the Georgian side, but when I heard the hearing in April (personally), my instincts said to me that the case could be found inadmissible. The Georgian side was not convincing at this hearing and the Russian side made some very compelling arguments.
Politics aside, it is going to be very interesting to see how legally the Court will decide this case on the merits. But before it even gets to the legal issues, there must be strong evidence presented by the Georgian side because their claims are pretty serious. International law and especially human rights law should not be held hostage to politics. That is the hope.