Samuel Estreicher, Dwight D. Opperman Professor of Law, and Eugene Kontorovich, an associate professor at Northwestern University School of Law, co-organized an all-day conference, "International Law and Israel," at Northwestern on May 17. Panelists discussed topics related to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including occupation and settlement, statehood and refugees, universal jurisdiction, use of force, and issues of fact-finding and bias.

In their invitation to a select group of academics, Estreicher and Kontorovich wrote, "Our hope is to begin the process of encouraging new work by international law scholars that would attempt a more balanced approach to the issues raised by this conflict than presently provided by various international bodies, NGOs, and activist-scholars."

Estreicher facilitated a lunchtime discussion on the Obama administration's diplomacy, and also presented a paper, "Privileging Asymmetric Warfare?: Defender Duties under International Law." Tracing the evolution of warfare from straightforward battlefield scenarios to conflicts located in more populated areas to the increasing prevalence of guerrilla warfare, Estreicher described the rise of international humanitarian law as a supplement to the preexisting laws of war. As "irregular" warfare, including the Arab-Palestinian conflict with Israel, became increasingly common, he said, two additional protocols to the Geneva Conventions in 1977 attempted to address the new realities of guerrilla conflicts.

Pointing out that the dangers posed to civilians in armed conflict come from defenders as well as attackers, Estreicher looked to existing legal documents to pinpoint defenders' duties in the context of international humanitarian law. These included prohibitions against civilian shields and perfidy; the duty to protect civilians from danger in the course of military operations and to remove civilians from the vicinity of military objectives if not avoiding densely populated areas altogether; and an obligation to avoid methods of warfare causing unnecessary injury or suffering.

Calling defender duties in conflicts a "neglected area" of international humanitarian law, Estreicher concluded, "This needs to change if the overall mission of this body of law—minimization of harm to civilians—is to have any reasonable prospect of being realized."

On May 18, Estreicher and Cornell Law School Dean Stewart J. Schwab presented Chapter 8 of the Restatement Third of Employment Law at the American Law Institute's annual meeting; Estreicher serves as the Restatement Third of Employment Law's chief reporter. The ALI membership tentatively approved the chapter with some alterations. Estreicher also co-authored, with Jones Day associate Elena Voss, "Supreme Court: No Class Arbitration Where Agreement Is Silent," published in the May 18 New York Law Journal. The article discusses the recently decided Supreme Court case Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp., in which the Court held that in instances when an arbitration agreement does not contain an explicit authorization of classwide arbitration, neither the arbitrator nor the court may require class arbitration.

Estreicher, who is executive director of NYU Law's Center for Labor and Employment Law, is also the organizer of its 63rd annual Conference on Labor. Scheduled for June 3 and 4, the conference will focus on "Resolving Labor and Employment Disputes: A Practical Guide."

Posted on May 21, 2010