National Lawyers Guild

International Committee Newsletter
April 2000

COME TO HAVANA! IADL CONGRESS SET FOR OCTOBER 2000

The 15th Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) will be held in Havana, Cuba from October 16-20, 2000. It is a tremendous opportunity for Guild lawyers, legal workers and students Ėwhatever their past involvement in international legal issues --to learn about IADLís efforts to establish a just international legal order, to meet colleagues from throughout the world, and particularly to celebrate and support our comrades in Cuba!

IADL was created in 1946 by jurists who fought in World War II and participated in the Nuremberg Trials, as an organization of lawyers to promote the defense of peace, fundamental human rights, and to support the aims of the United Nations. It is composed of legal groups such as the Guild from throughout the World: South Africa, India, France, England, Vietnam, several Arab countries Ė wherever people struggle to use law to effect social and political change.

Particularly with the collapse of the Soviet Union, IADL has had to adapt to a changing world economically and politically. Historically it was one of the first organizations to send legal delegations to numerous countries to report on human and legal rights abuses. In the past year, IADL has sent delegations to Mexico, convened an international commission in Paris to evaulate international legal remedies for NATOís illegal bombings in Yugoslavia, conducted a seminar in India on globalization and its implications for developing economies. As an NGO (non-governmental organization), it is a consultant to UNESCO and to UNICEF and participates regularly in the proceedings of the UN Human Rights Commission and its various subcommisions.

The enclosed brochure tells you about the conference. If youíre interested, register now! If you would like to do a paper for the conference, let us know. Pass the brochure on to a friend. For more information about the conference, visit IADLís website: or contact Steve Goldberg at the addresses listed below.

 

 

PROSECUTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN HAITI

Guild member Brian Concannon works with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux ("BAI"), a group of lawyers helping the Haitian judiciary prosecute human rights cases from the 1991-94 dictatorship. Our biggest case is the 1994 Raboteau massacre, a military/paramilitary attack against unarmed pro-democracy activists. In September, 1999, the Juge d'Instruction ("investigating magistrate") on the case issued his final "ordonnance", which formally charges those responsible for the massacre. 22 of those charged are in prison in Haiti, while 34 are at large. Those at large include the former army chief, Raoul Cedras, the former head of the high command, Philippe Biamby (both in Panama), former police chief Michel Francois (Honduras), the rest of the military high command (most reported to be in Florida), and paramilitary chief Emmanuel Constant (in New York, despite a 1995 deportation order).

Some defendants appealed the charges, and in February 2000 the appeals court issued its decision, upholding the ordonnance in its entirety. In March, seven defendants appealed this decision, to the Cour de Cassation (supreme court). Once the Cour de Cassation issues its decision, a trial date will be set, probably for some time this summer.

The BAI also helps several Haitian groups with the Campaign for the Return of the FRAPH/FADH Documents. The campaign demands the return of approximately 160,000 pages of documents (including "trophy photos" of human rights victims with their torturers, as well as videos and audiocassettes) removed from Haitian military and paramilitary facilities by U.S. troops in 1994. These documents are the legal property of Haiti under national and international law. They are important for Haitians to establish the truth about the 1991-94 military dictatorship, and to prepare cases against those responsible for the regime's human rights violations.

The BAI acts as the foreign liason for the campaign, and advises it on U.S. legal issues. So far we have supporters in over 30 countries, including many prominent national and international NGO's, three Nobel Peace Prize winners, five members of the European Parliament, 69 current or former members of the U.S. Congress and the OAS. Most recently, several groups in the campaign met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Harold Koh, during his February visit to Haiti. The groups underlined the importance of the Documents to human rights in Haiti, and noted the inconsistency between Mr. Koh's calls for Haitians to respect the rule of law and the U.S.' failure to respect its legal obligation to return the Documents. For more information on the campaign, email to avokahaiti@aol.com

 or visit the website at http://members.bellatlantic.net/~advocacy


CCR ASKS: WHY HAS PERUVIAN TORTURER NOT BEEN ARRESTED?

On Friday, March 10, 2000, the State Department let an alleged Peruvian torturer go free. Under Secretary Thomas Pickering did so on the grounds that Tomas Ricardo Anderson had diplomatic immunity. There was simply no basis for this decision and it appears to have been driven more by politics than law. The decision not to arrest Anderson casts into doubt the U.S. commitment to adhere to the Convention Against Torture and its willingness to insure that torturers are brought to justice. The lack of a legal basis for not arresting and prosecuting Anderson is set forth below.

Tomas Ricardo Anderson Kohatsu, a major in Peruís Army Intelligence Service, was sent by Peru in early March to testify before a hearing of the Organization of American States Inter-American Commission on Human Right in Washington, D.C. The commission was hearing allegations of Peruís involvement in torture and wire-tapping. Anderson was sent voluntarily by Peru to defend its human rights record; he was not requested to appear by the Commission.

In the State Departmentís annual human rights report Anderson had been linked to "horrendous crimes." The Center for Justice and International Law or CEJIL stated that "overwhelming evidence implicated Anderson in the torture of La Rosa Bustamente, also a former intelligence officer, who was left a paraplegic as a result of the torture." She was tortured in 1997.

Once Anderson was in the U.S. and human rights groups were made aware of his presence, pressure was put on the Justice Department to have him arrested. It was pointed out that under the Convention Against Torture the United States was obligated to arrest Anderson once it had information that he had committed torture in Peru. This is an absolute obligation under the convention. U.S. officials recognized that the information they had provided a sufficient basis for arresting Anderson and did not dispute that there was probable cause to believe was a torturer. In fact, FBI agents were sent by Justice on Thursday evening, March 9th to the Houston airport where Anderson was awaiting a plane to leave the United States. At the airport the agents apparently detained and questioned Anderson. However after a few hours he was allowed to leave the country. He was permitted to do so by a decision of Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering of the State Department. Pickering apparently found that Anderson was entitled to diplomatic immunity and could not be arrested or prosecuted.

This decision by Thomas Pickering and the State Department raise a number of serious questions. First, why did the State Department give Anderson a visa? Second, on what legal basis did Pickering decide that Anderson had immunity? Third, Why did Pickering allow Anderson to leave the country and not have the issue of his immunity decided by a court? Fourth, what of the U.S. obligation under the Convention Against Torture to bring Anderson to justice? These questions are answered below.

1. Anderson was granted what is known as a G-2 visa which applies to accredited members of the staff of the Peruvian mission to the Organization of American States, although he was apparently not accredited as such. In fact, he was to be a witness and was not a member of the staff. A G-2 visa overrides various grounds of inadmissibility including the fact that Anderson was inadmissable to the United States because of his alleged involvement in torture and other horrendous human rights violations. It is clear that this visa should never have been granted to Anderson--his atrocious human rights record was known to the State Department--and it is unlikely that the Department of Justice was consulted with regard to it.

2. The granting of this visa despite Andersonís human rights record is not the same or even the equivalent of giving Anderson diplomatic immunity. It has nothing to do with whether or not Anderson is protected by diplomatic immunity from criminal or civil suit in the United States. It only permits him to enter the U.S. despite his alleged crimes. It does not protect him from arrest or prosecution. Nor do the agreements with the OAS protect Anderson. By their terms they give immunity only to accredited staff and advisors. Anderson was neither. He was merely a witness to a proceeding sent here voluntarily by his own government. There is simply no basis to grant immunity that goes beyond the terms of the agreements.

 

3. Even if there was some question as to whether or not Anderson was entitled to immunity, the proper way to proceed was to have him arrested and let the courts make the determination. This is precisely what occurred in the Pinochet case where there were serious questions regarding whether on not Pinochet was protected by head of state immunity. The arrest proceeded and the courts made the determination as to whether Pinochet was entitled to such immunity. Here, despite serious doubts as to Andersonís claimed immunity, the decision to allow him to return to Peru was made by the State Department and not the courts.

4. Even were there a strong argument that Anderson had some form of immunity, the Convention Against Torture still requires his arrest and prosecution. The Convention defines torture as an act committed by a public official and contains no exemption from its extradite or prosecute requirements for diplomatic immunity. Particularly in a case such as Andersonís, where his immunity, if any, was not the equivalent of that given to a recognized diplomat under the Vienna Convention, the obligation to initiate a prosecution should prevail. In any case, a final decision on that matter should be for the courts.

The State Department made the wrong decision. We should all insure that it does not do so again. Write, fax and e-mail Thomas Pickering. Say and say strongly, that he failed in his obligations to insure U.S. compliance with the Convention, with our obligations under international law and with the values that should govern our country. He let an alleged torturer go free. To let Pickering and State know how you feel call Thomas Pickering at 202 647-2471; or write to him at U.S. Department of State, Wash. D.C. 20520; or e-mail For more information, contact Michael Ratner at the Center for Constitutional Rights, 212-614-6430, mratner@igc.org

 

 

 

GUILD LAWYERS TAKE ON US NAVY FOR VIEQUES DESTRUCTION

Guild attorneys continue to use international tribunals and commissions to assert human rights violations. On June 23, 1999, Linda Backiel and Will Harrell submitted a Request for Precautionary Measures (under Article 27 of the Regulations to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States) on behalf of El Comite Pro Rescate y Desarollo de Vieques. The Petition urges the Commission to order the US to discontinue Naval exercises on the Island of Vieques in Puerto Rico so as to protect the life and health of the people there. (This, despite the Sunday New York Times Travel section of April 9, 2000 declaring Vieques as "mostly mellow.")

Demonstrating just how arbitrary and politically biased the system is, the Commission has repeatedly neglected to act on the submission. In this multilateral body, some member states are clearly more equal than others. In fact, on June 25, 1999, Harrell was informed that the Commission had sent a letter to the US Mission to the OAS regarding Petitionersí allegations and requested an explanation. Later they denied that the letter was ever sent and refused to communicate the matter to the US Government. The Commission maintains that the matter has not been properly exhausted through the US Judicial system. This is despite the fact that the Courts, including the US Supreme Court, have made it clear that they view US Naval operations as a political question left to the administrative branch of the US Government and hence nonjusticiable.

Recently Harrell and Backiel received a request from the Commission to comment on the US Governmentís communique that there has been a political resolution to the matter. The US claims the matter is moot because the Governor of Puerto Rico has agreed to certain terms of the Navyís continued presence. This is a positive development as it at least represents an official dialogue being undertaken by Petitioners and the US Government facilitated by the Commission. Backiel and Harrell are currently developing a response. For more information, contact Will Harrell at nlgpp@ccr-ny.org

 

 

 

There is always more work to be done than we have time for. The Guild convention this year will be in Boston. Many of us getting ready for the IADL Conference simply donít have time to plan International-related workshops for the Convention. If you have any interest in planning such a workshop, we need to know IMMEDIATELY! Please contact Steven Goldberg with your ideas.

Please join the International Committee, if you havenít already done so, by sending us your meager dues of $15. Be certain we have an email address for you.

For more information, contact:

Steve Goldberg
1020 SW Taylor, Suite 530
Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 224-2372 / Fax: (503) 224-1123
Email: Steven Goldberg sgold3631@inetarena.com

 

 

REQUEST FOR PARTICIPANTS IN DELEGATION TO EUSKAL HERRIA (THE BASQUE COUNTRY)

 

Much of what has been written about Basque politics has focused narrowly on the armed struggle. Little has been said about the historical or social circumstances facing the Basque people. Yet since the death of General Franco in 1975, their struggle for independence has been marked by increasing repression by the Spanish government. Today there are more political prisoners in Spanish jails than at any time during Francoís dictatorship. Thousands of Basque activists have suffered, and scores have died in the struggle for an independent Euskal Herria (the Basque Country). It is time we asked why "western powers" have recognized national rights in the former Republic of Yugoslavia while the majority voice of the Basque people goes unanswered.

 

To find answers and to strengthen a mutual support network between progressives, the National Lawyers Guild and Senideak (Association of Relatives of Basque Political Prisoners, Refugees and Deportees) will be organizing a 5-day trip to Euskal Herria next winter. The delegation will involve more than legal workers. We will be including public figures along with prisoner-rights activists in a truly historical visit.

 

If you are interested in receiving an application and / or information on the aims of this delegation, please contact:

Nora Dwyer
NLG International Committee
603 Welch
Houston TX 77006
Phone / Fax No. 713.528.1817
Email --- npdwyer@hal-pc.org

 

 

Denis Langiois, a French lawyer and writer, wrote of the Basques after receiving Franceís Human Rights Prize. "I have eaten at their tables, I have slept under their roofs. I have talked with them, and my heart has been filled with hope. I have discovered a real community, not one of those folk loric things that are put on show in museums, a living community with its own language and an ancient culture that looks forward to tomorrow. This is a people among whom solidarity, friendship and brotherhood are not mere words. This is a community which closes ranks in the face of danger, but in which people sing and dance not only for sheer enjoyment but also out of a profound feeling that they are alive."

 

 

 

 

 

LABOR "RELATIONS" IN SOUTH AFRICA

NOTE: Lynn Marie Crider is a long-term Guild member. She has practiced labor law in Arkansas and Portland, Oregon, was chairperson of Oregonís Workersí Compensation Board, worked as a SEIU organizer in Seattle, and is now the research and education coordinator for the Oregon AFL-CIO.  Lynn Marieís observations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission, follow 

Two years ago, I left a job as staff attorney for a labor union, bought a six-month round-trip ticket, and boarded a plane for South Africa. I chose to go to South Africa, believing it to be the most exciting place in the world right now--at least for a person committed to building a socialist society. I also hoped to get some clue as to how a people can so dramatically change a society so seemingly well-defended as the apartheid regime.

I went without a real plan. I had tried, without success, to find unpaid work. So, I began the trip with two weeks as part of the Guild's Truth and Reconciliation Commission Monitoring Project. I figured that when in the country I'd figure out what else made sense to do.

I attended parts of three different amnesty hearings. The first concerned the application of seven members of an Inkatha Freedom Party hit squad that terrorized communities in what is now northeastern Kwazulu-Natal from the mid-80s to the mid-90s. (Inkatha, of course, is the party of Mangosuthu Buthelezi that dominated Zululand with the consent of the Apartheid regime until 1993 and still controls the provincial government.) The applicants described how they had been recruited out of high school into the homeland police and from there into the hit squads; how they had been trained in the bush by the South African Defense Force; how they had been taught to believe that the African National Congress would destroy their livelihoods and their families if it were to take power; and how almost random killing was used to demonstrate to the people that the ANC was powerless to protect them from IFP power.

The most striking things about this set of hearings were the way in which moral sense had been drummed out of the participants in the terror and the way in which the community nonetheless responded to their confessions. At the end of the third day of hearings, the attorneys for the applicants notified the Amnesty Committee that the applicants and the victims wished to meet before the victims' attorney decided how many witnesses to call. The Committee suspended the proceedings and the meeting took place--several hundred victims and community people, the applicants, the TRC translators, myself and a few press people. For several hours victims came forward and put questions to the applicants. They talked. At the end of each little dialogue, the questioner generally forgave the applicants. When the individual dialogues were done, an ANC leader (who was also a victim, his house having been burned) asked if everybody agreed that the men should be forgiven. There was no dissent. The group agreed that someone should made a statement to the Amnesty Committee the next day. As the meeting was coming to a close, someone started signing Nkosi Sikelele iAfrika, the ANC anthem turned national anthem. Everyone stood and joined in. Some raised fists. Some didn't. It moved me to tears. Then, at the request of one of the community one of the applicants prayed.

The next day, a representative of the victims asked the Committee to grant amnesty. Although the law requires, as a condition of amnesty, that the acts be both political and proportional to the end, it was hard to imagine a TRC denial of amnesty when the community had already forgiven.

I also attended sparsely attended hearings in Durban, for several white members of the AWB, an ultra-right group that was involved in bombing a restaurant frequented by the ANC and attacking a police station to get weapons to turn over to the IFP. As in the Inkatha hit squad hearings, applicants were asked not only why they committed the acts for which they sought amnesty but also if they were sorry and why. Motivation is crucial since only politically motivated crimes are covered by the amnesty law. Remorse, while not a legal requirement for amnesty, is undoubtedly important if reconciliation is to occur. One of the AWB applicants said that he regretted his actions because it turned out that the AWB leaders had lied to them: When the ANC came to power, the world did not come to an end. The volk (white people) did not lose everything because of the ANC. But the foot soldiers of the AWB were now jailed for nothing.

Finally, I attended a hearing on the amnesty application of Aboobaker Ismail who was, from 1987 forward, the chief of ordnance for Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC. Unlike the foot soldiers I had heard from in the earlier hearings, Ismail was passionate in his defense of the just war and very articulate in describing the ANC's policies on the use of violence and its selection of targets. His case for use of targeted violence against military and police targets was compelling. More troubling was the ANC's arming of the civilian population in the early '90s, at which point the ANC lost control of targeting and the number of deaths sky-rocketed. On the other hand, after some months in South Africa, I became persuaded that the transfer of power would never have occurred if the ANC had not created a crisis of governability in the townships which threatened to spill over into white South Africa. The Mandelas and Ramaphosas made genteel deals but their power to exact concessions came from the streets.

Once in South Africa, I was able to meet with labor union leaders and labor educators who very quickly schooled me in the struggle going on within the ANC between the trade unions and the key leaders of the party. The struggle is between neo-liberal policy and the socialist vision of the struggle years. The government, anxious not to drive out foreign capital or to hasten the exodus of skilled whites, has adopted a quite conservative economic policy characterized by low tax rates (although white people insist that South Africa has the highest tax rates in the world--does everyone believe that of their own country?); elimination of protections for domestic goods; and privatization. The unions insist that the public sector must be strengthened in order to provide basic services for all. The government seeks to make opportunity for blacks in the ranks of managers and entrepreneurs; the unions seek to reduce inequality (rather than to change its ethnic complexion).

I spent four months of my stay in South Africa working in the Parliamentary office of the Congress of South African Trade Unions. COSATU is the largest of three South African trade union federations, including unions representing two million workers. Its leadership is black--meaning African, Indian, and coloured--and most of its membership is black. The federation is quite thinly staffed owing to the meager earnings of most of the workers its affiliates represent. Nevertheless, the federation established the Parliamentary office in 1995 in order to advocate in Parliament and with the ministries for government policies more consistent with a program of social and economic transformation than that pursued by the ANC leadership. Because the ANC is so dominant in the government, the Parliament is a forum for debate and refinement of ANC policy initiatives. One does not lobby in the manner we do in Congress and the state legislatures. Nevertheless, COSATU continues to see the Parliament as an important venue for the policy debate.

The Parliamentary office has a director, two research staff, and a secretary, so the addition of a third researcher (albeit an American one) significantly increased the office's capacity. Our work involved monitoring Parliamentary meetings on bills of importance; analyzing government policy papers; analyzing proposed legislation; preparing written comments on policy papers and legislation, including proposing amendments to bills; discussing the COSATU position with other organizations in civil society, ANC caucuses, and ministry staff; and presenting our position to Parliamentary Committees.

The government has been revising a great deal of the fundamental law of the country, so legislative initiatives tend to be of large scope. I was closely involved in work on the Employment Equity Bill (which dealt with both discrimination in employment and affirmative action), the National Water Bill (which dealt with distribution of water resources), the Open Democracy Bill (which deals with open meetings and availability of public records), the Environmental Management Bill (which creates a framework for environmental regulation), the Medical Schemes Bill (which places new controls on medical insurance plans), as well as others.

The struggle over the Employment Equity Bill was the most fascinating. There was no opposition to the notion that there should be no discrimination on the basis of race or sex or religion. None of the debate that we heard in the '60s in this country about the right of various people to discriminate if they wished to. There was no opposition to inclusion of a ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or HIV status in the bill. What the Democratic Party fought, with the National Party in tow, was the affirmative action piece of the bill. (The Democratic Party was, in the apartheid era, the party of white liberals. It is now, and maybe always was, the party of big business. It is eclipsing the ruling party of the apartheid era, the National Party, as the leading opponent of the ANC government.) The DP argued that affirmative action was the new apartheid and whipped up its followers with rhetoric very similar to that we hear in this country today.

COSATU joined with many other groups in support of the bill. However, COSATU also fought a rather lonely battle to include, as part of an affirmative action plan, a plan to reduce what we called the apartheid wage gap. Apartheid was essentially a labor policy. It sought to separate black and white while ensuring that black labor was available on the farms and in industry. Blacks were segregated into certain jobs and the wages paid to those in those jobs were systematically held down. This has produced a situation in which the difference between the wages paid to skilled and unskilled labor is far in excess of that in this country, in Japan, or in the developing countries of east Asia. What COSATU argued was that it isn't enough to lift the barriers to black entrance into skilled work. It isn't enough to provide training to assist them in being successful. It is necessary to systematically raise the compensation of historically ill-paid work. Otherwise most black South Africans will remain poor while a few claim positions in the upper reaches of the economy.

COSATU proposed that affirmative action plans be required to set goals for diminution of the wage gap and that progress toward meeting those goals be reported. Needless to say, the DP and its NP allies fought this. They even fought disclosure of compensation levels, arguing that disclosure would be anti-competitive. Unfortunately, the chief minion of the Minister of Labour also fought the COSATU proposal, contending that the problem of the wage gap had no place in the employment equity legislation--that it should be addressed in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. (The Basic Conditions of Employment Act is like our Fair Labor Standards Act except that it deals with vacations, holidays, maternity leave, family leave, and other issues not addressed by the FLSA.) We were able to persuade the ANC caucus on the parliamentary committee that we were right; but business fought hard; and ultimately orders came from the Minister and the parliamentary committee rejected the COSATU amendments.

As an American, it is absolutely critical to be sensitive to the differences between our legal and political system and that of South Africa and our role as helpers, not shapers, of the new South Africa. I often heard stories about loud, know-it-all Americans. But, on the other hand, South Africans are eager to learn from international experience. The Constitutional Court studies international precedent in interpreting the new constitution. The ministries study German, Scandinavian, Canadian, New Zealanders and U.S. approaches to problems.

The most important quality that enabled me to make a contribution to COSATU's work was my wholehearted agreement with COSATU's socialist political vision and its critique of government macro-economic policy.

In addition, it was important that I was willing to do whatever work was required, just like everyone else in the office. I might be running an errand; I might be editing someone else's work; I might be doing background research; I might be attending a meeting. I had to do my own typing. I didn't have my own office space.

Finally, my legal and legislative experience were important. I had worked for the Oregon Legislature for a couple of legislative sessions and represented a government agency before the Legislature during two other sessions. I had also worked in a quasi-judicial capacity. My experience in legislative drafting and interpretation made me very comfortable with the technical part of our work in the Parliamentary Office. I had a skill that the others on the staff did not.

At the end of my stay, my COSATU colleagues confessed their initial skepticism about a volunteer "from the citadel of imperialism" but declared that I had truly been a brigadista.

They would like to discuss bringing additional volunteers into their work.

COSATU is not planning to put additional resources into the Parliamentary Office, and certainly not into paying foreign nationals to work there. However, living and working in South Africa was a rich experience for me. I would like to see us try to send additional volunteers. It would be important for us to send volunteers who have legislative and political background; who are willing to do some reading and study in advance of their trip; and who can stay for a minimum of four months. If we were to make sending volunteers a Guild project, we would want to develop a process for screening potential volunteers and assisting them with study materials. The cost of airfare and subsistence is not enormous, but we may want to consider whether the Guild could help subsidize this for an appropriate volunteer.

 

 

NLG LABOR ATTORNEYS MEET WITH FIDEL

NOTE: What follows is merely a summary of a fantastic (but lengthy) article submitted by Ted Franklin (California) and Dean Hubbard (New York) of the NLG Labor and Employment Committeeís 2000 Delegation to Cuba. The full article is a wonderful comparative analysis of labor law in the US and Cuba, which youíre encouraged to read in its entirety. 

 

From February 26 to March 4, 2000, a delegation of labor and employment lawyers affiliated with the Guild traveled to Cuba for a one-week professional research exchange with Cuban judges, labor lawyers, trade union leaders and workers. We visited as guests of the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (or "CTC," sort of the AFL-CIO of Cuba). Although most of us on the trip were lawyers, our delegation also included a trade union organizer, a school teacher, a staff-person from a nonprofit agency, and an 11 year old boy. The goal of the trip was to enable attorneys representing workers and unions in the two countries to learn about the very different legal frameworks and social realities within which they practice law to defend workersí rights.

The first day and a half of meetings with the labor attorneys consisted of panels with both American and Cuban attorneys addressing the same general topic from the perspectives of their home countries: trade union rights and unionsí rights in decision-making; the role of collective bargaining, solutions to labor disputes. The second day began with a panel of social security issues. One of the most interesting discussions revolved around the realization that both the US and Cuba are struggling with the problem of financing benefits for an aging population.

The second panel addressed international labor issues, and the impact of direct investment in our respective countries.

The rest of the trip was amazing: attending a construction workersí rally for Elian, meeting with Fidel, tours of law and medical schools, factories, the country outside of Havana. Again, the profound implications and lessons of the tour are discussed in detail in the committeeís full report.

 

 

HELP NEEDED FOR MIDDLE EAST PROJECTS

The Massachusetts Chapter hosted American-Israeli attorney Allegra Pacheco twice this winder for speaking events on her role in litigating the first decision of the Israeli high court against the use of torture, and about the probems with the Oslo agreements and the status of Palestinians within and without the Occupied territories. Itís been several years since there has been a Guild delegation to the Middle East, and Allegra was very excited about working with the Guild to organize such a delegation.

A proposal has been developed. But this delegation will not happen unless someone is willing to take on organizing it. If you have any interest in working on this project, please contact Steve Goldberg.

Other Guild attorneys continue to be active in Middle East work. Terry Rogers, formerly director of the legal aid program in Portland, Oregon, is living in Ramallah in the West Bank. Terry is working on a project designed to provide technical assistance to the new Palestinian Bar Association, thereby improving the legal system and legal services in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 1997, several Palestinian lawyers visited the DC Bar and the ABA to begin learning how a modern bar can function. This visit helped inspire the creation of the new Palestinian Bar, which will hold its first elections in May. If you are interested in learning more about the project, becoming involved in some way, or in simply being placed on the projectís mailing list/listserve, contact DC attorney Robert Brandon at Brandon & Associates, main@robertbrandon.com

 

 

GUILD ATTORNEYS IN JAPAN DISCUSS LESSONS OF YUGOSLAVIA

After the convention last year in San Francisco, several Guild attorneys visited Japan at the invitation of our Japanese comrades. At a conference on Globalization on 10/29/99 in Tokyo, Guild past president Peter Erlinder spoke about "Human rights or Human Rights Imperialism; Lessons from the War Against Yugolsvia." Click here for Peterís important remarks.