The Record: This Week in Review

New EU Law- The “Two Pack”

EU lawmakers have introduced a new law to strengthen the euro zone budget discipline and prevent another sovereign crisis debt. The EU commission will now have new levels of insight over member countries’ budgets.

Urgent Action Necessary to Protect the Arctic:

The UN Environment Program has stated that more effective measures need to be put in place to avoid damage to the Arctic. The most important recommendation to help the Arctic is the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions

UN Conference on Disarmament: North Korea v South Korea

North Korean diplomat, Jon Yong Ryong has received much criticism after he stated that South Koreas erratic behavior would result in its own destruction. Such a statement has been viewed as offensive by UN member states.

European Parliament Urges Stricter Reforms As Part of Basel III, But Talks Stall

The European Commission is considering stricter disclosure requirements for European banks as well as limits on the sizes of bonuses as part of the laws that will implement the international Basel III accords on banking regulations. There had been hopes of a deal being reached this week, but talks broke down Tuesday. They are expected to resume next week.

European Parliament Moves Towards Boosting Carbon Market

In 2008, a European carbon allowance cost €30 per ton.  Last year that price had dropped to €9 per ton.  Last month it reached a low of €2.80 per ton.  To support the carbon trading market—and the entire emissions trading scheme—the European Parliament’s environmental committee voted to allow the European Commission to reduce the number of allowances to be auctioned over the next three years.

US Business Groups Renew Push for Legislative Reform to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Last November, the US Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission released new guidance on how they would enforce the FCPA, which business groups have criticized for being too ambiguous.  While several lobbying groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, the American Bankers Association, and the National Association of Manufacturers, offered some praise for the guidance, they released a letter to federal regulators this week calling for legislative reforms to bring greater clarity to the act and provide for additional legal defenses.

Chinese Military May Be Tied to International Cyber Attacks

Mandiant, an American computer security firm, released a report this week that implicates the Chinese Army in a number of cyber attacks against American infrastructure and businesses.

G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bankers Pledge Not to Manipulate Exchange Rates

Two-day talks by G-20 finance ministers and central bankers ended on Sunday with the group strengthening its stance against exchange rate manipulation.  This is seen as an effort to lower fears of a global currency war and put pressure on Japan to stop publicly providing guidance on its currency’s value.

Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal Introduces Retroactive Legislation to Allow for Death Sentence

Bangladesh’s parliament has amended its laws so as to allow the state to appeal against the life sentence of an Islamist party leader. Jamaat chief Abdul Kader Mullah was given life for his alleged role in crimes in the 1971 war which resulted in independence from Pakistan. The amendment appears to be a reaction to violent protests that called for his execution. Human Rights Watch says the law is worrisome.

Moscow Unwilling to Back ICC Referral of Alleged Syrian War Criminals

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov indicated that Russia would not immediately back calls to refer the civil war in Syria to the International Criminal Court for the investigation and possible prosecution of alleged war criminals. Investigators recently urged the UN Security Council to act.

Afghanistan: “Human Cost of the Conflict Remains Unacceptable”

While the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan has decreased for the first time in six years, targeted killings by insurgents – particularly of women, girls and government employees – increased dramatically according to a UN report.

Tunisia Prime Minister Resigns in Shaky Post-Arab Spring Democracy

Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has resigned after failing to reach agreement on forming a new government. He had been trying to form a new coalition in response to the political crisis sparked by the killing of opposition leader, Chokri Belaid.

Former Head of State on Trial in Front of ICC

Ivorian ex-President Laurent Gbagbo has appeared at the International Criminal Court. He faces four charges, including murder and rape, in the wake of Ivory Coast’s disputed presidential poll in 2010. Defense lawyers argued that he was already under investigation in his own country and that the authorities there must be the ones to try him under the ICC’s principle of complementarity.

Protest in West Bank for Palestinian hunger Strikers in Israeli Jails

Protesters in the West Bank are marching in solidarity with hunger strikers in Israeli jails. One, Samer Issawi, has been on protest for 200 days and is said to be in critical condition. Many of the hunger strikers are under administrative detention, held without trial or charge by the military because it fears an immediate risk to security or to protect informants. UN as well as European governments have recently called on Israel to respect the human rights of Palestinian detainees.

UN Security Council Warns Yemeni Ex-Leaders Not to Interfere in Democratic Transition

The UN Security Council has warned Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and vice president that they could face sanctions if they continue to interfere in the country’s democratic transition. The statement also expressed concern about money and weapons being brought into Yemen. Mr. Saleh had stepped down in exchange for immunity in a deal arranged by the Council and elections are to be held in 2014.

Intellectually Disabled Prisoner’s Stay of Execution Sparks Legal Uncertainty

Warren Hill, Georgia prisoner who has been found by nine medical specialists to be mentally disabled, came within half an hour of being put to death on Tuesday night. The case has led to reactions from European leaders who called on the U.S. to strengthen its laws prohibiting the death penalty against intellectually disabled prisoners. The postponement is temporary and the Supreme Court has declined to hear his case, which leaves him in a state of legal uncertainty.