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.

U.S. Court Authorizes John Doe Summonses about Finnish Residents Using 3 U.S. Bank Payment Cards Linked to Non-Finnish Bank Accounts

Friday, May 3, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On May 1, 2019, a U.S. Court in North Carolina authorized the Internal Revenue Service to serve John Doe summonses on Bank of America, Charles Schwab, and TD Bank in an order that was unsealed on April 30.  The John Doe summonses seek information about persons residing in Finland that have Bank of America, Charles Schwab, or TD Bank payment cards linked to bank accounts located outside of Finland.  The summonses are known as “John Doe” summonses because the IRS does not know the identity of the persons under investigation.

EIA Releases Report Showing Illegal Logging and Wood Trade by Chinese Company in Congo and Gabon

Friday, May 3, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On March 25, 2019, the Environmental Investigation Agency, after four years of investigating the logging sector in Congo and Gabon, released a report and accompanying video, Toxic Trade: Forest Crime. The report explains that The Congo Basin, which is home to the second largest tropical forest in the world after the Amazon and equal in size to half of the continental United States (U.S.), is of vital importance for thousands of species. EIA has investigated the logging sector in the Congo and Gabon, countries that together account for approximately 60 percent of the total area under forest management in the Congo Basin. EIA’s report  shows that one the most influential groups of affiliated timber companies in Africa, the  “Dejia (deh-ja) Group,” has developed  its business model on bribery and other crimes.  The report alleges the Group has continuously broken the most fundamental forest laws, turned timber trade regulations upside-down, and diverted millions in unpaid taxes from the governments of Gabon and the Republic of Congo.

European Parliament Approves New Directive on the Protection of Whistleblowers

Friday, May 3, 2019
Author: 
Michael Plachta
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On April 16, 2019, the European Parliament adopted a legislative resolution by which it approved a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of whistleblowers. The new rules, adopted with 591 votes in favor, 29 against, and 33 abstentions, and already in agreement with EU ministers, lay down new, EU-wide standards to protect whistleblowers revealing breaches of EU law in a wide range of areas including public procurement, financial services, money laundering, product and transport safety, nuclear safety, public health, consumer, and data protection. Currently, only ten EU countries (France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden, and the UK) have a comprehensive law protecting whistleblowers. In the remaining EU countries, the protection granted is partial: it covers only public servants or only specific sectors (e.g. financial services) or only specific types of wrongdoings (e.g. corruption). Recent scandals, from LuxLeaks to Panama Papers to Global Laundromat, uncovered by whistleblowers illustrate how insufficient protection in one country not only negatively impacts the functioning of EU policies there, but can also spill over into other countries and into the EU as a whole.

Two Months Later, Questions Remain After the Raiding of the North Korean Embassy in Madrid

Friday, May 3, 2019
Author: 
Alex Psilakis
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On April 23, 2019, the U.S. arrested Christopher Philip Ahn, a U.S. citizen and former Marine, for his alleged involvement in the February 22 raid of the North Korean embassy in Madrid. Spain, who put out the arrest warrant against Ahn, has filed a number of charges against him, including robbery, illegal restraint, and associating with criminal organization. U.S. enforcement officials learned of Ahn’s participation in the raid when Adrian Hong Chang, the de facto leader of the group, informed the FBI of Ahn’s involvement. Video surveillance captured images of Ahn as well. Awaiting extradition, Judge Jean Rosenbluth denied Ahn bond, forcing him to remain in custody. Just days after Ahn’s arrest, U.S. authorities issued an arrest warrant for Hong Chang himself. A Mexican citizen with permanent residency in the U.S., Hong Chang faces charges similar to those of Ahn, including breaking and entering, as well as causing injuries. The arrest warrant – which references information provided by Spanish authorities – labels Hong Chang as the architect and leader of the seven-person raid.

INTERPOL’s Power to Act Preemptively in Fighting Government Abuse

Friday, May 3, 2019
Author: 
Yuriy L. Nemets
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

In May 2018, Spanish authorities detained Bill Browder, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.  It has been alleged that Spain acted on an active Russian request disseminated through INTERPOL’s channels. Prior to this arrest, INTERPOL had refused to cooperate with Russia, calling Mr. Browder’s case “predominantly political.”  However, after several unsuccessful attempts to persuade the INTERPOL General Secretariat to approve a red notice, Russia reportedly put Mr. Browder on the international wanted list by disseminating an INTERPOL diffusion. Unlike notices, which are subject to the General Secretariat’s approval, governments can exchange diffusions directly, without prior approval from INTERPOL.

Family of Victim File Lawsuit against Former Sri Lankan Defense Minister for Human Rights Violations

Saturday, April 27, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On April 15, 2019, a U.S. District Court for the Central District of California unsealed a civil lawsuit against former Sir Lankan Defense Minister Gotabay Rajapaska, a dual U.S.-Sri Lankan citizen, seeking damages for his alleged involvement in the 2009 killing of journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga. On April 4, 2019, Ahimsa Wickramatunga, the journalist’s daughter, filed the suit under seal. The complaint against Rajapaksa alleges that he led a broad campaign against journalists during his ten years or so as defense minister, from 2005 to 2015.  On January 9, 2009, Mr. Wickramatunga, editor of The Sunday Leader at the time, was beaten to death, after he exposed alleged corruption by Rajapaksa.  The complaint alleges that men allegedly part of the Tripoli Platoon, which operated under Rajapaksa’s command, carried out the beatings.

Appearing Invested in Transitional Justice, Balkan States Remain Slow to Convict Their Own

Saturday, April 27, 2019
Author: 
Alex Psilakis
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On April 10, 2019, Balkan Insight reported that the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Sarajevo Canton allocated over 350,000 euros of its 2019 budget to providing legal assistance to those charged with war crimes. Approximately 230,000 euros have gone to funding defendants’ lawyers, while 128,000 euros have funded legal assistance-oriented NGOs working alongside Bosnia’s ex-soldiers and former officers. Members of the Bosnian legal community praised the decision, recognizing that war crimes cases can run for years and accumulate steep legal bills. Since more than 50 ex-soldiers and former officers are currently on trial in Sarajevo, many view these funds as key to carrying out the trials against this large number of defendants. Other Balkan states, such as Croatia and Serbia, partially fund the defense of certain war crimes suspects, making the move fairly uncontroversial. Yet some members of the Serb-majority Republika Srpska have spoken out against the plan, as it only aids former members of the Bosniak-led army

U.S. Announces New Sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua

Friday, April 26, 2019
Author: 
Bruce Zagaris
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On April 17, 2019, the United States government announced new sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. While giving a speech in Miami, National Security Advisor John Bolton announced that the Trump administration is re-imposing limits on the amount of money Cuban Americans can send to relatives in Cuba and ordering new restrictions on U.S. citizen, nonfamily travel to Cuba. Also on April 17, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration will remove restrictions that have prevented lawsuits from U.S. citizens seeking compensation for property expropriated by the Cuban governments when it came to power in 1958.

        

Radovan Karadžić Sentenced to Life on Appeal

Friday, April 26, 2019
Author: 
Maria O'Sullivan
Volume: 
35
Issue: 
5
Abstract: 

On March 20, 2019, Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sentenced Radovan Karadžić to life in prison on appeal, an increase from his original 40 year sentence. Karadžić will not be able to appeal this verdict and the President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals will decide the location of the imprisonment. Though the trial – which began in October of 2009 following Karadžić’s July 2008 arrest – has finally come to a close, feelings of justice are lacking.

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