Saturday, April 21, 2018

Terrorism Financing

The Dean of the Qatar University College of Law Provides a Perspective

On April 16, 2018, Dr. Mohammed A Al-Khulaifi, Dean of the QU College of Law, wrote an op-ed piece for the Qatar Tribune, one of the English-language papers published in Qatar.   Entitled Terror Financing: A Crime that Requires Global Responses, Dr. Al-Khulaifi argued that regulating terror financing required a two-front approach: (1) supervising charitable contributions, and (2) preventing financial crimes or other illegal economic activities.

He posed two questions: (1) What are the international standards that are designed to prevent and combat financing terrorism?, and (2) How does the State of Qatar comply with these standards?

He then outlines the international framework for combating terrorism financing, including the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism (1937); the Convention on Offenses and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft (1963); the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005); the International Convention for the Suppression of Financing Terrorism (1999).

This last convention requires states to criminalize terrorism-related offenses in their domestic laws.

UN Security Council Resolutions 2178 and 1373 also seek to regulate terrorism financing.

The Arab world has also embraced conventions to control terrorism financing, including the Arab Convention of the Suppression of Terrorism (1998) and the Convention of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Combating International Terrorism (1999).

The UN's Global Counter Terrorism Strategy calls for five areas of focus: (1) dissuading disaffected groups from embracing terrorism; (2) denying groups or individuals the means to commit acts of terrorism; (3) making it difficult for states to support terrorist groups; (4) developing capabilities to defeat terrorism; and (5) defending human rights.

The editorial goes on to describe Qatar's compliance with international laws and standards.  For example, Qatar:

  • Is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).  I discuss the assessment of Qatar in the context of this task force here.
  • Ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of Financing Terrorism (1999).
  • Passed Law No. 3 of 2004 on Combating Terrorism, which the Emir updated by decree in 2017. 
  • Founded the Authority for Charitable Activities to regulate the activities of charitable institutions.
  • Established an Economic Crimes Combating Section at the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ministry of the Interior.
  • Passed Law No. 4 of 2010 on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.
  • Issued rules in 2010 to implement Law No. 4 of 2010 through the Qatar Financial Market Authority.
  • Organized the seventh conference of the International Association of Police Academies to discuss trends in combating terrorism.
  • Held the 23rd and 24th plenary meetings of the Middle East and North African Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF).
  • Signed a MOU with the U.S. in July 2017 enhancing counter-terrorism and intelligence sharing.
The editorial ends by listing the nine recommendations of the FAFT:
  • Implementing UN conventions and resolutions.
  • Criminalizing terrorism and its financing.
  • Confiscating the assets of terrorists.
  • Reporting suspicious activities.
  • Enhancing international cooperation.
  • Monitoring money transfers.
  • Scrutinizing wire transfers.
  • Supervising non-profits that may serve as funnels for money intended for terrorism.
  • Detecting cross-border transportation of money and negotiable instruments.
The Dean concludes by saying: "[O]ne should emphasize the importance of incorporating these nine recommendations in any governmental efforts to combat the crime of financing terrorism." 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Week 9: The CREAC Test

Heads Down 
and Do Your Own Work!

That's what I tell my College of Law Students as we shift to more independent writing in my Legal Research & Writing I course.  Through Week 8, we slowly build the scaffold for this independent work with case briefs, exercises, and sample writings.

Last year at this time, I was not so enthusiastic about the work ethic of my male students.  Almost half the class was not prepared to handle this challenging course in a second language.  Several students tried to close the gap with attempts at cheating.   

But this year, the students are far more mature (many have jobs and families) and most of them have pretty good English-language skills.  The students with very good language skills lead discussions and set the pace.  I am very proud of Hamad, Abdullaziz (both of you), Mohammed (several of you), Awad, Amer, Fahad, Hadi, Hussein, Saoud, Walid, Khalid, and Jaber (and his "Egyptain lawyer" tutor).

At the same time, each semester I get better at teaching the course, especially to our at-risk students.  This year, I provided all the CREAC Test materials in advance so they could practice over spring break.  It reduced anxiety levels, while still meeting my pedagogical goals.  I want them to feel more in control as they learn this new skill.  I also want a better first draft to grade.  I hope the momentum continues into the last six weeks of the semester.  

These young men are making this semester one of my most enjoyable at Qatar University College of Law. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Protecting the Special Counsel's Investigation

Statement of Lawyers for Good Government

Lawyers for Good Government: Congress and the American people must prevent interference with the Special Counsel investigation

As an organization of more than 125,000 attorneys across the country, we (Lawyers for Good Government) are deeply concerned by recent reports that President Trump is considering firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and/or Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
If President Trump fires Rosenstein or Mueller, or takes other actions to obstruct their investigation, Congress and the American people must take immediate action to protect the rule of law and preserve our democracy.
As lawyers, we have sworn to uphold the rule of law, a key ideal on which American democracy is based. Upholding this ideal means that no one - not even the most powerful individual in our government - is above the law.
Any attempt by President Trump to interfere with or terminate the Special Counsel’s investigation would be contrary to the rule of law. It must be strongly opposed by Congress and by the American people.

If we allow the rule of law to break down, we risk becoming an autocracy (a country governed by one person with absolute power) instead of a democracy.

America was never meant to be, nor can it be allowed to become, an autocracy.
This week, we learned that President Trump considered firing Robert Mueller in December of 2017, after bank records relating to a bank Trump had used for his businesses were reportedly subpoenaed. Also this week, following a referral by Mueller, the F.B.I. searched the offices and residence of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s private attorney (who is now himself under criminal investigation).
As reported, President Trump was incensed by these actions, mischaracterizing the lawful investigation as a “witch hunt.” He has decided, in response, not to speak with Mueller or his team to further the investigation.
The President’s emotional responses, however, have no bearing on the legitimacy of the investigation. His concerns about potential harm to himself and his associates are not a legitimate reason to terminate an investigation into a suspected attack on our nation’s electoral system.
While President Trump seems to believe he is above the law, he is not.

There is no legitimate reason to fire Mueller or Rosenstein, or to interfere with the investigation.

A few so-called “legal experts” have recently claimed that the President has the right to fire Mueller and/or interfere with the investigation for any reason.
They’re wrong. When it comes to obstruction of justice, motives matter.
Under DOJ regulations, only the Attorney General (or, since the Attorney General has recused himself, the Deputy Attorney General) can fire a special counsel. Even in that case, the special counsel may only be fired for good cause - and there is no evidence of any such “good cause.”
Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has rightly indicated that he won’t fire Mueller without good cause, leading to speculation that Trump may fire Rosenstein just to replace him with someone who would fire Mueller.
President Trump cannot be allowed to fire Rosenstein (or Mueller) solely to protect the President’s personal interests. Allowing the President to abuse his authority in this way would be an immediate threat to our democracy.

The future of our democracy is at stake. Each of us must fight to protect it.

We urge every American to:
  • Demand that your members of Congress protect the Special Counsel’s office, including preserving its files and staff and ensuring it receives the full cooperation of federal government law enforcement.
  • Demand that Congress create a modern-day version of the Senate Select Watergate Committee to investigate all matters involved in the Russia scandals as well as the President’s alleged abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
  • Demand bipartisan hearings in the House Judiciary Committee on obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
  • Peacefully assemble to support our government and the investigation. Visit this page to find an event near you.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Building a Diverse Legal Profession in the Arab Gulf

Women and the Law Conference
March 22, 2018
Qatar University College of Law

When I graduated from law school in 1982, only 8 percent of all lawyers in the U.S. were women. Even today, less than 17 percent of all law partners are women, a number that has been sadly durable for at least a decade. I have practiced law for over 36 years, and yet the need continues to discuss gender bias in the profession and paths to success for women lawyers.


The March 22 conference obviously filled that need for women lawyers practicing in the Arab Gulf. Over 160 registered for the event. Over 110 women participated.   
The discussion coming out of the Women and Law Conference sponsored by Qatar University (QU) College of Law expressed concerns by both expats and Qatari women lawyers about the barriers women face to full participation in the opportunities offered by the legal profession. At the same time, the discussion showed a refreshing commitment, expressed by a number of Qatari law students, to self-reliance and self-confidence in dealing with explicit and implicit bias in the workplace.

Twenty-five women participated as moderators, presenters, or panelists. This women-only event kicked off with a welcoming address from Prof. Mariam Al-Maaeed, the Vice President for Research & Graduate Studies at QU. Next, Asma AlHamadi, a TV presenter at the Al Jazeera Media Network, spoke about women in leadership as the keynote address. Rawda AlThani offered an Arabic-language film, Women in the Law, featuring several female law students.  

The conference organizer, Prof. Melissa Deehring, gave a plenary session presentation, The Landscape of Women in Law in Qatar, focused on current statistics for women lawyers in Qatar. She discussed issues confronting women in the legal profession and strategies for encouraging more women in Qatar to enter the practice of law. Press stories here and here discuss some of her research data, although Prof. Deehring advises she will need to make some corrections to the stories. 

The programming then shifted to panel discussions on the following topics:
  • Moving from Action to Results, discussing training programs in law firms and law departments.
  • The Realities of Gender Bias – Fact or Fiction, discussing the most effective ways for dealing with gender bias.
  • What is Success and How to Attain It, exploring work-life balance and whether women lawyers “can have it all.”
  • More Women Leading in the Courtroom, discussing the under-representation of Qatari women as judges and prosecutors and in other courtroom roles.  
The panel discussions featured a student moderator along with at least two Qatari lawyers. Expat lawyers filled out the three or four-person panels. 

Several panelists reinforced the need for strong training of new lawyers in issue spotting, legal writing, moot court, and other legal skills. They also mentioned the need for young attorneys to understand local law in the context of international practice. Panelists repeatedly mentioned the need for new lawyers to work hard, to show creativity in handling client problems, to listen deeply for a client’s concerns, fears, and interests, and to anchor practice in service to others. Members of the “success” panel urged new female lawyers to shift away from norms of university life and instead focus on a professional image that abandoned “flamingos and feathers.” They also encouraged young women lawyers to show self-confidence by initiating conversations in law firm or department meetings.  

The conference also featured two interactive workshops:
  • Using Grit, and Growth Mindset, to Advance Women in the Law
  • Strategies for Negotiating Salary
The event included two networking opportunities over a coffee break and lunch, which the women attending clearly used to create and reinforce professional relationships.

Conference materials included very detailed biographies of the participants, which I greatly appreciated. They also included three articles:

  • Tari Ellis, et al., Promoting Gender Diversity in the Gulf, McKinsey& Company (Feb. 2015), available here.
  • Katty Kay & Claire Shipman, The Confidence Gap, The Atlantic (May 2014), available here
  • Lauren Stiller Rikleen, Power Play Strategies for Women, Harvard Bus. Rev. (July 2, 2012).
Prof. Deehring plans to publish a white paper summarizing the discussion, questions, and audience comments. When completed, it will appear on the website of the National Priorities Research Program for Grant #9-341-5-047 from the Qatar National Research Fund.
Prof. Deerhing acknowledged several other people for their contributions to the great success of this conference: Sara Ahmed AlMohanadi; Emily Tomczak; Nanyce Hassan Soliman; Allabiba Enad Al-Enazi; and Noora Ahmad ALRomaihi.
One of my male colleagues jokingly said that in the patriarchal Gulf society, we “could have our little conferences” and nothing would change much. Perhaps. But, I remember the environment I faced in 1982, and I know that women lawyers changed the legal profession in the U.S. They can also shape the profession in the Gulf in ways they need and want. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Qatar's Efforts in Preventing Terrorism Funding

Let the Experts Speak on this Topic

From the beginning of the siege of Qatar, the blockading countries -- Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Bahrain, and Egypt -- anchored their narrative about Qatar in a way that arguably would trigger the passions of a Western audience. Qatar, they asserted, financed terrorists, sheltered terrorist leaders, and supported Islamic radical movements throughout the region.  Qatar, on the other hand, consistently denied these claims.  It also publicly condemned 2017-18 terrorist attacks in Qatif, Pakistan, Egypt, Manchester, Tehran, London, Bahrain, Somalia, Barcelona, Jeddah, Peshawar, Kabul, and Benghazi.

I am in the process of writing three articles about the siege of Qatar.  I spent the week-end closely examining these allegations.  I have found two reports worth reviewing: 

On July 19, 2017, the U.S. Department of State issued its annual Country Reports on Terrorism 2016.  U.S. law requires the department to provide Congress a complete report on terrorism for countries that meet certain criteria set out in the law.  The summary shows that Qatar equals or exceeds its neighbors in efforts in fighting terrorism.  On Qatar’s role in terror financing the report found:

Qatar is a member of the Middle East North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body, and the Qatar Financial Information Unit is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. Qatar has made significant progress on deficiencies identified in its MENAFATF Mutual Evaluation Report in 2008. According to the Second Biennial Update Report, Qatar is deemed “Compliant or Largely Compliant” with all but recommendation 26, which accounts for regulation and supervision of financial institutions.
* * *
The Government of Qatar has made progress on countering the financing of terrorism (CFT), but terrorist financiers within the country are still able to exploit Qatar’s informal financial system. In 2015 and 2016, Qatar prosecuted and convicted Qatari terrorist financiers for the first time. As part of ongoing reforms to curb terrorist financing, the State of Qatar issued the Cybercrime Prevention Law and the Law Regulating Charitable Activities in 2014. Qatar continued to be an active participant in U.S.-sponsored training and capacity building focused on CFT issues.
(Emphasis added.)  The report also discusses progress in the blockading countries and recognizes that each one faces unique challenges when trying to prevent money-laundering, eliminate funding for terrorism, and reduce the support for violent Islamist groups. While the report got very little attention in the press of Qatar or the West, it does support a narrative that Qatar has responded to the stated interest of its blockading neighbors. 

The second report allows a reader to analyze the extent of the efforts taken since 2008 by Qatar to meet the stated goals of eliminating terrorism in the world. It seems to serve as a baseline assessment.   Similar reports exist for the blockading countries.  

I will watch closely for the 2017 report that the U.S. Department of State will publish in July 2018.  So much has happened during that year.  I wonder how the department will analyze it. 

Trump Can Solve Qatar Blockade with a Phone Call

Ending the Siege of Qatar

At a Heritage Foundation event on January 29, 2017, Qatari Minister of State for Defense Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah declared: “The only person who can solve the GCC issue is President Trump . . . . He can solve it in a phone call.”

U.S.-Qatari Military-to-Military Relations, The Heritage Foundation (Jan. 29, 2018), (statement at about 43 minutes in audio recording).

Based on my research, I agree.  I am in the process of writing an article entitled:  

"The Siege of Qatar: Applying Dispute Resolution System Design Theory to Actions Taken by the Disputing Parties in the First Nine Months of the Siege."  I will let you know when it is published.  Anyone wanting a copy of the manuscript should send me an email.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Report on the Impact of the Gulf Crisis on Human Rights in Qatar

Blockade Called "Arbitrary":
No Evidence of Any "Legal Decisions" Motivating Measures Taken by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt

In December, 2017, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Technical Mission to the State of Qatar, issued a very important report that got no coverage by Western press.  You can find the report here.

I am quoting the Findings and Observation at the end of the report in full.  I have added the emphasis.

IV. Findings and observations
59. All Interlocutors met by the team mostly referred to the decision of 5 June as a  “blockade”, and some evoked an “embargo”, a “boycott” or “unilateral sanctions” against the State of Qatar and its inhabitants (nationals and residents). Most emphasized the unprecedented divide and distrust this situation has generated, not least given the tight family  bonds across the Gulf region. They also expressed concern about the uncertain and far-reaching consequences, with fears that this crisis may become protracted and/or deteriorate.

60. The team found that the unilateral measures, consisting of severe restrictions of  movement, termination and disruption of trade, financial and investment flows, as well as suspension of social and cultural exchanges imposed on the State of Qatar, had immediately translated into actions applying to nationals and residents of Qatar, including citizens of KSA, UAE and Bahrain. Many of these measures have a potentially durable effect on the enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of those affected. As there is no evidence of any legal decisions motivating these various measures, and due to the lack of any legal recourse for most individuals concerned, these measures can be considered as arbitrary. These actions were exacerbated by various and widespread forms of media defamation and campaigns hated against Qatar, its leadership and people.

61. The majority of the measures were broad and non-targeted, making no distinction between the Government of Qatar and its population. In that sense, they constitute core elements of the definition of unilateral coercive measures as proposed by the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee: “the use of economic, trade or other measures taken by a State, group of States or international organizations acting autonomously to compel a change of policy of another State or to pressure individuals, groups or entities in targeted States to 15 influence a course of action without the authorization of the Security Council”. Moreover, measures targeting individuals on the basis of their Qatari nationality or their links with Qatar can be qualified as non-disproportionate and discriminatory.

62. The considerable economic impact of the crisis takes over the dimension of an economic warfare, with significant financial losses for the State, companies and individuals, and the confidence of investors being eroded. To date, the wealth of Qatar and its human potential have allowed the country to promptly absorb the shock and protect the population from potentially disastrous economic and social consequences. However, the shock of the decision and the immediate and serious effect of unilateral coercive measures on many individuals have had a major psychological impact on the overall population. This has been exacerbated by a hostile media campaign that flared up from early June and is ongoing. All interlocutors met by the team evoked the lack of trust or even fear this situation has generated, and concerns about the social fabric of very closely-knit societies eroding.

63. In some cases, Qatari institutions, notably the NHRC, have proactively sought prompt solutions, especially for individuals whose studies were interrupted. The NHRC immediately, and for several weeks following 5 June, received a considerably number of complaints. They undertook a series of communications with regional and international mechanisms and have  endeavoured to engage with the national human rights institutions of KSA, UAE, Bahrain (to no avail to date) and Egypt (the latter has reportedly cooperated). The team received a detailed report prepared by the National Compensation Claims Commission on the impact of the crisis on individuals (including on human rights impact), and was informed that the National Compensation Claims Commission had hired a private American law firm company to look at options for potential legal actions against the States of KSA, UAE and Bahrain. The commission indicated that the legal file was in the hands of the Government for its consideration. 

64. The majority of cases remain unresolved and are likely to durably affect the victims, particularly those having experienced family separation, loss of employment or who have been barred from access to their assets. 

65. The crisis has been characterized by the absence of dialogue among the States concerned, with the mediation efforts initiated by Kuwait having stalled. The team noted strong resentment about the lack of action by regional organizations and about the role of the GCC, which many considered as de facto defunct. Given the origins and ramifications of the crisis in KSA, UAE and Bahrain, it would be critical to pursue opportunities to engage with the Governments of these countries to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the situation, notably of the actions they have taken and the impact on their own citizens and residents.