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While students traditionally head for the beaches on spring break, students in Professor John Reitz’s seminar on selected topics in comparative law will be heading for Moscow for spring break 2015. Reitz has been awarded a grant by the U.S. State Department to pay the travel costs for up to ten students in his seminar to travel to Moscow for five nights over spring break to work with Russian law students at the Higher School of Economics to compare U.S. and Russian law on a variety of common legal topics.
The grant will also pay to bring up to ten of the Russian students and their instructor, Professor Alexander Domrin, to Iowa in April. The major task for both sets of joint meetings is to work out for each topic a joint statement of the similarities and differences in the two legal systems and their respective strengths and weaknesses. The students will also present their work in public presentations and meet with various legal professionals in both countries.
The award is part of the State Department’s “Peer-to-Peer Dialogue” grants. Reitz explained that “in this period of heightened tension and competition between our countries with respect to the Ukraine, these kinds of discussions between Russian and U.S. citizens are all the more important. I am glad that the State Department recognizes the importance of making sure that the dialogues include future lawyers, who after all are likely to play leading roles in their respective countries’ businesses, governmental bodies, and civic and political groups.”
On October 17, Professor Pettys joined in a discussion Iowa Public Radio's River to River program on the politics and perception of the Supreme Court "to highlight some of the most significant cases currently before the Court, including a case that brings up the question: How much religious freedom do you have in prison? He also describes the implications of a case that deals with a husband threatening his wife via social media, who claims he has a first amendment right to do so."
Listen to the podcast at: http://iowapublicradio.org/post/us-supreme-court-theres-far-more-agreement-commonly-understood.
Prof. Mark Osiel, Aliber Family Chair in Law, recently spent several days in Bogotá, Colombia, consulting with officials at the High Commissioner for Peace, Office of the President, concerning legal issues involved in ending the country’s longstanding civil war. This ongoing conflict has claimed, by all accounts, more than six million victims over the last sixty years. During the preceding generation alone, a deadly mix of drug cartels, right-wing paramilitaries, leftist revolutionary movements, and state military campaigns to combat all three of these well-armed forces have driven over two hundred thousand small farmers from their lands. As the government today negotiates a promising peace agreement with the revolutionaries, these victims of “internal displacement” seek legal remedies for their far-reaching losses. With dozens of victims themselves in attendance, Osiel addressed an audience of several hundred public officials on this subject. He advocated a victims’ trust fund, administered through a “mass claims mechanism” with simplified, expeditious procedures, on the model employed by U.S. government in compensating victims of the 9/11 terror attacks.
This was Osiel’s third trip to Bogotá in recent years, to lecture and consult on related matters. While there, he also spoke to a gathering of law students at the Universidad de los Andes and participated in a doctoral dissertation examination at that institution.
Osiel is a leading scholar in the study of legal strategies by which countries respond to such mass atrocities as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. He is the author of several books and many scholarly articles on the subject.