B'Tselem: the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories “was established in 1989 by a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset (the house of representatives of the State of Israel) members.” The site’s goal is to document human rights violations in the Occupied Territories and to change Israeli government policy to ensure it protects the human rights of residents there and complies with its obligations under ternational law. The group documents various categories of human rights violations (such as destruction of property, use of fire arms, beating, and restrictions of movement) by Israel in the Occupied Territories and provides statistics, photos, video, personal testimony and interactive maps to bolster its findings. Each year, B'Tselem takes over 1,000 first-person testimonies from victims and eyewitnesses of human rights violations. Testimonies are cross-checked and supplemented with photographic and video evidence and information gathered from medical records, press reports, other organizations, and extensive correspondence with governmental and military authorities. You can sign up to receive a regular update via e-newsletter, or follow B’Tselem on Facebook, Twitter, or via RSS feed.
[Author: S. Leers]
As part of its larger website, the UN Commission on International Trade Law has created CLOUT, Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts, which the UNCITRAL Secretariat has established as a method to disseminate “information on court decisions and arbitral awards relating to the Conventions and Model Laws” the Commission has created. It publishes them “to promote knowledge of the conventions and their uniform interpretation.” The interface is simple with no graphics. While it seems that some portions of the site are frequently updated, it was difficult to tell if overall the site is well-maintained. Its coverage is well defined, with much of the information seeming to be scanned documents and PDFs. The database is in the official six languages of the UN and the conventions covered are: United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958); United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea (1978); United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (1980); UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985); UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce (1996); and the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency (1997). UN staff and national correspondents are responsible for the content of the website. The site has a simple interface. The left column and the opening page provide the same list of options: Abstracts [of cases], Digests, Thesauri, National Correspondents (which leads to a paragraph explaining what their function is and nothing more), and Search CLOUT cases. The main list also includes a Bibliography link, listing works on UNCITRAL. The digest provides concise information on the interpretation of the CISG and other conventions formatted such that each chapter covers specific articles of the convention. The Thesauri section includes the ‘thesauri’ which are classification schemes of the convention articles so that indices may be produced according to them. These indices will list the cases on particular issues in a way that makes locating them easier. This portion of the website will take some time to master and it may be more efficient to go straight to the "search" page instead. The search page for CLOUT cases has six fields that allow one to search on country, dates, parties, article, specific legislative texts (which convention), courts and arbitration tribunals as well as the CLOUT number, case number and court reference number. The results are logically displayed and provide name of parties and a link to the abstract. In several searches this reviewer found that many documents are PDF that load slowly and in a search for a year’s worth of cases (March 2011 –March 2012) on the CISG, there were only two cases, which suggests that updates may be slow.
[Author: J. Luke]
The Center on Wrongful Convictions was founded in 1998 following the National Conference on Wrongful Convictions and the Death Penalty and is run by the Northwestern University School of Law. The Center’s faculty, staff, cooperating outside attorneys, and Bluhm Legal Clinic students investigate possible wrongful convictions and represent imprisoned clients with claims of actual innocence. The website for The Center on Wrongful Convictions is very clearly laid out and focuses on the work done by the clinic in exonerating the wrongly accused or convicted. The center of the page is dedicated to cases and events the Center has been involved in and the work it has done. This includes links to recent stories about the Center and concise overviews of some of the cases in which they have been involved. Along the left side of the screen is where the researcher will find useful resources on this topic. This includes a glossary of terms, and a “resources” link that provides a collection of websites doing work in this area. This includes links to other innocence projects, death penalty websites, and websites for criminal justice organizations. Although limited in scope, a researcher may also find the “The Innocence Network Amicus Brief Bank” and the “Readings” links useful as starting places for conducting research in this area of law. The Brief Bank is organized by subject, making it very easy to browse. Like the Brief Bank, the Readings page is a useful starting point for research in this area of the law. However, the Center only provides the books’ titles without any summary of the content of the book. As such, it is difficult to determine with any specificity the exact subject matter of the book. Furthermore, the books are not freely available, while the rest of the material on the site is accessible to the user at no cost. A unique feature of this site is the section entitled “Meet the Exonerated.” Here you find a brief narrative about the first wrongful murder conviction case in the United States, the United States’ first DNA death row exoneration and a listing of exonerations in all states. In the state by state listing you will find the names of those who have been exonerated, some of which provide hyperlinks to a more detailed summary of the case. Some summaries include a case chronology, and case data. See the summary of Francis M. Carroll from Maine, as an example.
[Author: C. Hepler]
InSITE contributors: C. Hepler, S. Leers, J. Luke, J. Pajerek (editor)
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