The International Enforcement Law Reporter

The International Enforcement Law Reporter is a monthly print and online journal covering news and trends in international enforcement law.

Since September 1985, the International Enforcement Law Reporter has analyzed the premier developments in both the substantive and procedural aspects of international enforcement law. Read by practitioners, academics, and politicians, the IELR is a valuable guide to the difficult and dynamic field of international law.

Mass Protests Against Controversial Hong Kong Extradition Bill

Friday, June 14, 2019
Author: 
Michael Plachta
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

Between June 9 and June 12, 2019, Hong Kong witnessed a massive and violent wave of protests attended by up to one million. They demonstrated against a proposed extradition law that would allow suspects to be handed over to mainland Chinese authorities for prosecution. Demonstrators were shocked by the violence, when police charged on protesters, firing rubber bullets and tear gas. At least 72 people were hospitalized, two of which were in serious condition. Rights group Human Rights Watch accused the police of using "excessive force" against protesters. An immediate result of the protests was that the debate on the controversial extradition law was not held on June 12. Instead, Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo) delayed a second reading of the controversial extradition bill and it is unclear when it will take place. Another victory was that the government raised the proposed threshold for extradition to crimes that carried sentences of seven years in prison, compared with the initial three-year threshold. The proposed amendments to the extradition law should be seen in a broader legal and political context. The “one country, two systems” framework agreed to when the UK handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997 was meant to guarantee the territory’s civic freedoms and legal system – unique in China – for 50 years. The policy has helped preserve Hong Kong’s civil service, independent courts, freewheeling press, open internet, and other features that distinguish it from the Chinese mainland.

EU Council Makes Progress on Various Justice and Law Enforcement Issues

Friday, June 14, 2019
Author: 
Michael Plachta
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

At its 3697th meeting on June 6 and 7, 2019, the European Union’s Justice and Home Affairs Council discussed and adopted position on a number of criminal justice, home, and law enforcement issues. Ministers debated the future of EU substantive criminal law based on a report presented by the Romanian presidency. The report aims to feed into the reflection process on further developing the regulatory framework in the field of EU substantive criminal law. The report and the discussion focused on the following issues: (i) defining areas where it could be necessary to broaden the regulatory framework; (ii) defining areas of substantive criminal law instruments where it could be necessary to further harmonize the sanctioning system; (iii) the need to develop a common understanding of terms that are regularly used; and (iv) analysis of the current application of the regulatory framework. While it was not possible to reach a full consensus on the issues under discussion, the Presidency has drawn some conclusions, without prejudice to the right of initiative of the Commission. Member States seem to agree that, at this stage, the emphasis should be on ensuring the effectiveness and quality of the implementation of existing EU legislation – instead of making more efforts aimed at preparing and adopting new legislative acts – and more efforts should be deployed to that effect.

Ecuador President Denies U.S. Extradition Request for Alleged Facebook Fraudster

Friday, June 14, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

On June 7, 2019, Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno denied the extradition request by the United States of Paul Ceglia, who is charged in New York with attempt to defraud Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg. In November 2018, an Ecuadorean court authorized Ceglia’s extradition. His lawyer, Roberto Calderon, said he had appealed the extradition decision and Ceglia would remain jailed in Ecuador pending the appeal. According to Calderon, the extradition order only covered the wire fraud charge. Hence, Ceglia would not be able to be tried for mail fraud in the U.S. While Ceglia and his wife were in Ecuador, they had a third son, almost a year old at the time the Ecuadorean court authorized his extradition. In his asylum application, Ceglia cited his relationship to the baby, a citizen of the nation by birth. Ceglia’s lawyer claimed that Iasia Ceglia, who isn’t charged, could face charges of helping her husband flee if she returns to the U.S., potentially leaving the child without parents.

Airport Seizures Emphasize the Role of the Illicit Wildlife Trade in India

Friday, June 14, 2019
Author: 
Alex Psilakis
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

One day they found an African horn pit viper, two rhinoceros iguanas, and three rock iguanas. Less than two weeks before that, they discovered 18kg of peacock feathers. A month before that, they uncovered a leopard cub. The list goes on. This isn’t a zoo, but the Chennai International Airport – a location that has rapidly become a hotspot in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. The customs department at the airport has grown used to seizing creatures and goods that smugglers seek to illegally sneak out the country, such as star tortoises and sea cucumbers. Yet the airport is facing a new challenge in curbing the smuggling of wildlife into the country. A number of reasons help to explain this development...

Trump Administration Concludes Migration Enforcement Accords with Guatemala and Mexico

Friday, June 14, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

On June 1 and 7, 2019, the Trump Administration concluded migration enforcement agreements with Guatemala and Mexico. On June 1, 2019, Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), signed a two-year agreement with Guatemala to send up to 80 homeland security agents to Guatemala to help train the local authorities and combat human trafficking rings. DHS officials will work as “advisers” to Guatemala’s national police and migration authorities, attempting to disrupt and interdict human smuggling operations.  The idea is to cut off popular routes to the U.S. and deter migrants from starting their trips north through Mexico. The U.S. and Guatemala have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation.  DHS says the agreement permits “concrete actions” including “law enforcement training and collaboration to improve criminal investigations. In a predawn raid on May 29, the investigators jointed Guatemalan policy to break a human trafficking ring.  Guatemala served 10 arrest warrants, including for Luis Augusto Torres Rosales, known as “Bimbo.”  Authorities suspect him of illegally transporting dozens of migrants from El Salvador and Honduras through Guatemala to Mexico.

U.S. Treasury and Commerce Slap More Sanctions on Cuba

Saturday, June 8, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

On June 4, 2019, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to further implement the President’s foreign policy on Cuba. These amendments complement changes to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which Commerce is also unveiling today.  These regulatory changes were announced on April 17, 2019 and include restrictions on non-family travel to Cuba. These actions continue to strengthen sanctions against Cuba in the implementation of the National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM) signed by the President on June 16, 2017 titled “Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba.”  These policies continue to work to channel economic activities away from the Cuban military, intelligence, and security services.  The Treasury changes took effect on June 5, 2019 when the regulations were published in the Federal Register.

Interpol’s Lack of Power to Act Preemptively in Fighting Government Abuse of the Diffusion System

Friday, June 7, 2019
Author: 
Ted Bromund
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

In Volume 35, Issue 5 of the International Enforcement Law Reporter (May 2019), Mr. Yuriy Nemets argued that “INTERPOL’s rules not only give the organization the power to screen all incoming diffusions, notices and requests from governments and block them before they enter the organization’s channels, the rules actually require INTERPOL to do so to prevent abuse.” While I accept this assessment as an accurate depiction of the legal position, I cannot accept it as an accurate assessment of the technical reality. Our disagreement stems fundamentally from our different understandings of INTERPOL’s nature, with Mr. Nemets seeing it as a legal entity, whereas I see it as a fundamentally political organization, albeit it one that acts in the realm of international law enforcement. Exploring these different understandings sheds light on the fundamental challenges that Mr. Nemets and I agree Interpol must confront. Before I explain the grounds of my disagreement, I will set out the subjects on which I believe Mr. Nemets and I agree. We are opposed to the abuse of the INTERPOL system for political and other illegitimate purposes, a subject on which I have written widely. We are also self-evidently concerned by abuse of INTERPOL diffusions, which has received less attention than INTERPOL’s red notices. Finally, we believe that INTERPOL should do more to combat these abuses, and that INTERPOL must abide by the rules in its Constitution and its Rules on the Processing of Data (RPD) if it is to limit these abuses.

International Report Filed with the ICC Accuses European Union of Crimes Against Humanity in the Libya Situation

Friday, June 7, 2019
Author: 
Michael Plachta
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 
On June 3, 2019, a group of international lawyers submitted a report to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) calling for the European Union (EU) and some of its Member States to face prosecution for enacting migration policies “intended to sacrifice the lives of migrants in distress at sea.” This document is a result of a two-year pro-bono clinical project, comprised of a group of lawyers and a dozen students. The two main authors of the submission are Juan Branco, who formerly worked at the ICC as well as at France’s foreign affairs ministry, and Omer Shatz, an Israeli lawyer who teaches at Sciences Po University in Paris. The lawyers assessed European migration policies in the Mediterranean over recent years, paying particular attention to the end of Italy’s military-humanitarian rescue operation Mare Nostrum in 2014 and the subsequent shift to policies focused on deterrence. Their submission claims that this shift toward deterring migrants from crossing the Mediterranean to reach the EU resulted in: (i) the deaths by drowning of thousands of migrants, (ii) the refoulement of tens of thousands of migrants attempting to flee Libya, and (iii) complicity in the subsequent crimes of deportation, murder, imprisonment, enslavement, torture, rape, persecution and other inhuman acts, taking place in Libyan detention camps and torture houses.

Danish Tax Authority Settles $239 Million Civil Fraud Case with U.S. Pension Funds

Friday, June 7, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

On May 29, 2019, the Danish Customs and Tax Administration (SKAT) announced that dozens of U.S. pension plans have agreed to a $239 million settlement, concluding litigation over dividend taxes.  According to the settlement, 61 pension plans have agreed to repay tax refunds received in connection with dividends between 2012 and 2015. The settlement is a major achievement in SKAT’s global effort to claw back tax refunds worth $2.8 billion for which Tax Minister Karsten Lauritzen said they had no right. According to Lauritzen, the agreement is for the full amount received by the 61 pension plans. The agreement, the terms of which are confidential, requires the pension funds to make an immediate payment of 950 million Danish kroner (approximately $141 million) and pay the remainder over four years.  The names of the pension funds were not disclosed. An important element of the settlement is that the settling pension plans have agreed to cooperate with SKAT’s remaining cases against 242 other U.S. funds who are continuing to litigate.

South Africa Decides to Extradite Former Finance Minister to Mozambique Rather than the U.S.

Friday, May 31, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
6
Abstract: 

On May 21, 2019, the South African Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha announced that his government intended to extradite Mozambique’s former finance minister Manuel Chang to Mozambique rather than the U.S.  In April the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court ruled that Chang could be extradited to either country, leaving the decision to the South African government. Robert Mearkle, spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Pretoria, registered on behalf of the U.S. “great disappointment” that South Africa has decided to extradite Chang to Mozambique rather than to the U.S. where he is charged with fraud and other related crimes.  Civil society organizations in Mozambique suspect that Chang will evade charges in Mozambique for alleged complicity in a huge shipping contract scam which has cost Mozambique US $2 billion.  Mearkle said the U.S. embassy is holding discussions with the South African government and exploring options to review the decision.

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