Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic students invoke Convention Against Torture in 9th Circuit oral argument

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments last week in an immigration case involving the Convention against Torture – a case prepared by a team of students in the Appellate Litigation Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Georgia Law 3L Jason N. Sigalos argued on behalf of client Graciela Arellano Herrera in Case No. 19-72750, Arellano Herrera v. Barr. On account of the covid-19 pandemic, Sigalos’ argument was delivered virtually (video here), to a panel composed of Ninth Circuit Judges Margaret M. McKeown and Lawrence James Christopher VanDyke, along with U.S. District Judge Virginia Mary Kendall, sitting by designation. (Sigalos, who spoke from Georgia Law’s Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom, is pictured above at bottom right.)

Joining Sigalos on the briefs were his classmates in the Appellate Litigation Clinic (prior posts), 3L Mollie M. Fiero and John Lex Kenerly IV, who earned his J.D. earlier this year.

Together they represent appellant Arellano Herrera, the mother of seven children and grandmother of another seven, all U.S.-born citizens. The client herself has lived in this country since her parents brought her to the United States three days after her birth in Mexico.

Her appeal seeks reversal of a Board of Immigration Appeals order that she be removed from the United States. Relying on non-refoulement (non-return) obligations the United States took on when it ratified the 1984 Convention Against Torture, she argues that prior forced involvement with a drug cartel makes it unsafe for her to relocate anywhere in Mexico. She contends that if she were she to be sent back, it is more likely than not that cartel members would torture her, with the acquiescence of one or more public officials.

The Ninth Circuit panel is now deliberating.

Georgia Law Dean Bo Rutledge, 2L student Emina Sadic Herzberger publish on circuit split regarding discovery before arbitral tribunals

A federal judicial disagreement on the extent to which a discovery statute applies to private arbitration is the subject of a new commentary by the dean and a student researcher here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Coauthoring the Daily Report article, entitled “Circuit Split Deepened by Second Circuit’s ‘Functional’ Test Application in Recent Section 1782 Ruling,” were international business law expert Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, Dean and Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law at Georgia  Law, along with 2L Emina Sadic Herzberger.

The article concerns whether 28 U.S.C. § 1782 – which authorizes discovery for use in proceedings before a “foreign or international tribunal” – extends to proceedings before private arbitral tribunals. The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 4th and 6th Circuits generally say yes; for the 2d and 5th Circuits, no. The doctrine is uncertain, the authors point out, in the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit.

Their full commentary is here.

Georgia Law 3L Devon Pawloski reflects on significance of her Global Externship at DC-Cam in Phnom Penh


Today we welcome a guest post by Devon E. Pawloski, a member of the University of Georgia School of Law Class of 2021 who is enrolled in the JD/MHP, or Juris Doctor and Master of Historic Preservation dual degree curriculum. The summer after her first year of law school, Devon benefited from a GEO – a Global Externship Overseas, administered by Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center. Her post describes that experience and then reflects on how it helped guide her career preparation.

I spent my 1L summer working at the Documentation Center of Cambodia, or DC-Cam, in Phnom Penh as a Georgia Law Global Extern Overseas. DC-Cam is a nongovernmental organization that archives documents and objections for the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, and also creates educational materials, curates historic exhibits, and builds programming to promote reconciliation regarding the Khmer Rouge genocide.

My main project connected Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage to DC-Cam’s education and reconciliation goals. Destruction of cultural heritage is often not acknowledged as a significant part of war and genocide. But throughout its history Cambodia’s heritage has been plundered, under French colonization, the Lon Nol civil war, the Khmer Rouge genocide, Vietnamese occupation, and even today. My research focused on the prevention of looting and the incorporation of cultural heritage education in schools, with the ultimate goal of helping Cambodia to heal from the Khmer Rouge atrocities by rallying around Cambodia’s heritage.

Under the guidance of American attorney-advisors, I worked with the DC-Cam staff and a Tulane Law student, Ben Evans, to document the state of cultural heritage looting in Cambodia. Ben and I first researched international heritage conventions and Cambodia’s cultural heritage laws from the French colonial period (1863 to 1953) to the present. We then selected two sites to use as case studies, in which we interviewed government officials, police officers, soldiers, museum curators, teachers, students, and other locals about their personal experiences with looting and their knowledge of cultural heritage laws. The sites were:

  • Angkor Borei, the location of the ancient Funan Empire capital. Looting of Angkor Borei dates to the French colonial period, when French scholars and others took decorative elements and statuary from Phnom Da, a nearby temple that, along with Angkor Borei, has been tentatively nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage list. The French made meaningful attempts to restore portions of the temple, but the damage was done. The temple’s remaining statuary was removed for safekeeping in the 1990s. However, villagers still find remnants of the ancient kingdom in their backyards. Until recently, it was common for villagers to dig for beads, pots, statues, and other small items to sell for food and clothing. Local middlemen approached the villagers to request items, which were then smuggled across the border. In 2011, looting slowed down after an information campaign about cultural heritage laws. (pictured at top left, Devon, as part of her field research, interviews a nun in Wat Kamnou, Angkor Borei) 
  • Ta Moan, an 11th century temple which sits on the contested border between Cambodia and Thailand. Smugglers toted off almost all of Ta Moan’s statuary to Thailand during the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia in the 1980s and 1990s. Between 2009 and 2011, fighting broke out between Cambodia and Thailand along the border, including within the temple complex itself. In 2011, the countries reached a ceasefire, but armed Khmer and Thai soldiers still occupy the site. (pictured at top right, part of Ta Moan)

This field research led to a paper, “Protecting Cambodia’s Heritage: An Exploration of International and Domestic Law,” which described the current legal historic preservation framework in Cambodia and the lack of enforcement of these laws, then suggested mechanisms for looting prevention. Suggestions includes local cultural heritage education in secondary schools and  heritage protection education for soldiers, by means of DC-Cam’s genocide education program. To help DC-Cam implement this, I drafted a cultural heritage education syllabus with reading materials and activity suggestions that can be added as a final chapter to future editions of DC-Cam’s genocide education textbook.

In addition to this work, I was able to explore many beautiful places throughout Cambodia, including Siem Reap, famous for its Angkor Wat temple complex, and Kep, a beach town with French colonial architecture. When I finished my GEO, I traveled to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I even gained a few new skills in Khmer and Vietnamese cooking classes, which have been fun to brush up in these recent months of quarantine.

* * * *

The highlight of my law school experience, my Summer 2018 GEO in Cambodia has since influenced my educational and professional path. When I returned from Cambodia, I dove into international law to contextualize my summer experience. I took courses in international law, including International Human Rights with Professor Diane Marie Amann and International Legal Research with Professor Anne Burnett, and I worked with Professor Kate Doty on the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law.

When I applied for the University of Georgia Master of Historic Preservation degree program later that year, I wrote about my international heritage law research in Cambodia. Once I was admitted to the program, I wrote about international heritage law and repatriation of Native American artifacts. Although a master’s thesis about international heritage law is not feasible during this pandemic, the skills that I gained during my GEO, including research and communication across cultural boundaries, will be fundamental to my research.

My GEO is also provided an excellent foundation for the beginning of my legal career. I have been asked about my GEO in every job interview I have had since my 1L summer. Interviewers can easily understand my passion for cultural heritage, international law, and even environmental law when I am asked about my incredible experience in Cambodia. I am not sure where my post-law school career will take me, but I know that I will continue to volunteer with my friends and colleagues at the Documentation Center of Cambodia.

Georgia Law Appellate Clinic secures at-risk client’s release from immigration detention center

The Appellate Litigation Clinic here at the University of Georgia School of Law has secured the release from immigration detention of a Cuban client who suffers from asthma and a history of cancer.

The 26 year old client, who has no criminal history, had come to the United States to avoid repeated police beatings for his protests against the government in Cuba. He had been held for nineteen months without a bond hearing at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, where as of mid-August 2 inmates had died from COVID-19 and more than 150 had been infected.

Students working through the clinic contended that their client’s medical condition increased the risk that while in detention during the present pandemic, he too would contract the novel coronavirus disease. They litigated his case in many administrative and judicial forums: a hearing on a motion for bond in Stewart Immigration Court; multiple parole requests to ICE, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency; a habeas petition before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia; and an opening brief and motion to expedite before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Working on the case were Addison Smith and Spencer D. Woody, both of whom earned their Juris Doctor degrees this past spring, along with 3L Steven L. Miller and 2Ls Christopher O. Brock, Destiny J. Burch and Maria C. “Mia” Hughes.

The merits appeal and detention appeal both continue even though the client has been released from ICE custody. Under the supervision of Thomas V. Burch and Anna White Howard, who direct Georgia Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic, students will continue to pursue an Eleventh Circuit judgment in their client’s favor.

(Credit for photo of the Elbert P. Tuttle Courthouse in Atlanta, home to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit)

Georgia Law, ASIL to cosponsor conference on legal responsibility of corporations and nation-states

  • When private companies perform governmental functions and governments own companies, which acts should be attributed to the state?
  • Which should be attributed to the corporation?
  • And whose religious beliefs, speech rights, and moral standing can those entities claim?

These questions and more will be explored in The Law and Logics of Attribution: Constructing the Identity and Responsibility of States and Firms, a 2-day online conference that our Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law, will cohost next month.

Melissa “MJ” Durkee, Allen Post Professor at Georgia Law, is leading the event, which will bring together a multinational group of scholars in law and social sciences. It’s cosponsored by the American Society of International Law and ASIL’s Interest Group on International Legal Theory. Durkee serves as Vice Chair of that interest group; Chair is her Georgia Law colleague Harlan G. Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of our Center. Registration is available here.

Scheduled to speak at the conference, which will take place 1-5 p.m. Friday, September 11, and Friday, September 18:

Olabisi Akinkugbe, Assistant Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Canada

William C. Banks, Board of Advisors Distinguished Professor, Syracuse University College of Law, New York

Joshua Barkan, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Georgia

Kristen Boon, Miriam T. Rooney Professor of Law, Seton Hall School of Law, New Jersey

Rachel Brewster, Jeffrey and Bettysue Hughes Professor of Law, Duke Law School, North Carolina

David Ciepley, Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, California

Laura Dickinson, Oswald Symister Colclough Research Professor of Law, George Washington School of Law, District of Columbia

Melissa “MJ” Durkee, Allen Post Professor, University of Georgia School of Law

Benjamin Edwards, Associate Professor of Law, William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

James Gathii, Wing-Tat Lee Chair in International law, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Illinois

Sarah Haan, Associate Professor of Law, Washington and Lee School of Law, Virginia

Catherine Hardee, Associate Professor of Law, California Western School of Law

Doreen Lustig, Associate Professor, Tel Aviv University, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Israel

Kish Parella, Associate Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University School of Law, Virginia

Dalia Palombo, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Business Ethics, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

Mikko Rajavuori, Academy of Finland Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Eastern Finland Law School

Ingrid Wuerth, Helen Strong Curry Chair in International Law, Vanderbilt School of Law, Tennessee

 

They’ll be examining aspects of the conference’s concept note:

“In international law, scholars and practitioners struggle to attribute rights and responsibilities between state and private entities in areas as diverse as military contracting, environmental accountability, human rights, international investment, and cyber espionage and warfare. In the corporate governance realm, attributing responsibility to entities is increasingly challenging in the context of globally dispersed corporate families with intricate parent-subsidiary structures; identity attribution has also produced headlining debates.

“While attribution questions fuel important conversations in both corporate and international law, the two literatures are not often in conversation. Questions of attribution in both domains nevertheless are becoming more complex and urgent, and the fields increasingly intersect: In some areas of law, attribution doctrines must determine the dividing line between states and firms. Doctrines of attribution construct the public domain, and thereby also the private. Attribution questions in both domains reinvigorate classic inquiries about the nature of a corporation, the relationship between private entities and the state, and the proper function of the law in mediating between the two.

“This conference will draw together corporate and international legal scholars, as well as thinkers outside the law, in order to cross-pollinate these two fields and the questions at their intersection, and to unearth promising theoretical tools. It will consider theoretical and doctrinal approaches to attribution, potential consequences of these approaches, and whether they may reconcile the ambiguities and deficiencies that drive current debates. The project aims to offer a new point of entry to enduring theoretical and doctrinal questions about the nature of corporations, of states, and of the relationship between them. It is particularly relevant at a time where corporations are ‘jurisdictionally ambiguous and spatially diffuse,’ states are deferential, dependent or outflanked, and multilateralism is at an ebb.”

Full details, including registration for this online event, are available here.

Georgia Law Prof. Cohen presents “Nations and Markets” at International Economic Law and Policy seminar

Harlan Cohen, who is Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, recently presented his paper, “Nations and Markets,” in the International Economic Law and Policy work-in-progress seminar.

IELAP is a London-based series (currently online) convened by: Dr. Federico Ortino, Reader of International Economic Law, King’s College London; Dr. Lauge Poulsen, Associate Professor in International Political Economy and Director of Graduate Studies in Political Science, University College London; and Dr. Mona Pinchis-Paulsen , Assistant Professor at the Department of Law, London School of Economics.

Georgia Law Professor Harlan Cohen on “Metaphors of International Law”

Harlan G. Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law, has posted “Metaphors of International Law”, to appear in International Law’s Invisible Frames – Social Cognition and Knowledge Production in International Legal Processes.

Set to be published by Oxford University Press in 2021, the volume is co-edited by Andrea Bianchi, Professor of International Law at Switzerland’s Graduate Institute Geneva, and Moshe Hirsch, Maria Von Hofmannsthal Chair in International Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Cohen presented the essay at a European Society of International Law workshop in Israel last December (prior post).

Here’s the abstract:

This chapter explores international law in search of its hidden and not-so-hidden metaphors. In so doing, it discovers a world inhabited by states, where rules are mined or picked when ripe, where trade keeps boats forever afloat on rising tides. But is also unveils a world in which voices are silenced, inequality is ignored, and hands are washed of responsibility.

International law is built on metaphors. Metaphors provide a language to describe and convey the law’s operation, help international lawyers identify legal subjects and categorize situations in doctrinal categories, and provide normative justifications for the law. Exploring their operation at each of these levels, this chapter describes the ways metaphors allow international lawyers to build a shared, tangible universe of legal meaning. But it also reveals how metaphors simultaneously help hide international law’s dark side, blind international lawyers to alternative ways of organizing the world, and prejudge legal outcomes. Metaphors, a key building block of the international law we know, become key also to its demolition, restoration, or remodeling.

The chapter is now available at SSRN.

Georgia Law Professor Christopher Bruner presents to International Monetary Fund on corporations and sustainability

Professor Christopher Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, recently presented “The Corporation as Technology: Re-Calibrating Corporate Governance for a Sustainable Future” to the International Monetary Fund, a 75-year-old organization of 189 countries that, operating within the United Nations system, works to “foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.”

Bruner’s online presentation was organized by the IMF Legal Department and moderated by Rhoda Weeks-Brown, Director of the Legal Department and the IMF’s General Counsel.  Attendees included staff lawyers and economists from across the IMF.

His talk was based on the book that he is currently writing, which is due to be published by Oxford University Press next year.

Brutal Peace: Lieber Code, NATO mission, and personal journey, by Georgia Law 3L Miles S. Porter


In this item, Miles S. Porter, a J.D. candidate in the University of Georgia School of Law Class of 2021, reflects on his Spring 2020 full-semester externship at NATO HQ SACT in Norfolk, Virginia. Miles’ background includes: B.A. degree in international relations and German, University of South Carolina 2011; U.S. Army active duty 2013-2018, including tour in Afghanistan; and U.S. Army reservist since 2018.

Peace can be brutal. I am reminded of this axiom as an unwelcome silence invades my office space from the street below. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought life to what some have called a “peaceful” and “virtual” standstill. But with an unprecedented 30-plus million Americans claiming unemployment in the last month, “brutal” seems a more appropriate descriptor.

Like many of my peers, I finished my spring semester externship from home, a mere 800 socially distanced miles from my worksite, the NATO headquarters in Norfolk. Early on, I had looked forward to watching the 30th flag raised at Norfolk in honor of North Macedonia’s recent membership, to enjoying the parade of nations at the NATO Festival, and to hearing former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation General James Mattis speak at the Norfolk Forum. Instead I am at home, reflecting.

While America finds itself embroiled in yet another metaphorical war, against COVID,  perhaps it is appropriate then that my thoughts have ultimately turned to war itself. Specifically, they have turned to a theory of war that decries the paradox of a “humane war.” This paradox is explored in the 2012 book I read as part of my externship tutorial: Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History, by Yale Law Professor John Fabian Witt. A compelling narrative about one of the first codifications of the laws of war and perhaps one of the earliest uses of lawfare, Lincoln’s Code is more page-turning adventure story than legal treatise.

The book’s conclusions, far from uncontroversial, initially resonated with me. But they also raised important questions about the role of NATO, the rule of law, and the future of warfare. This post will examine those questions, then end with some thoughts on my NATO experience.

Now to “Old Hundred.”

“Old Hundred”

The U.S. War Department issued General Order No. 100, also known as the Lieber Code, in May 1863, at the height of America’s bloodiest war. Commissioned by President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, and endorsed by the General-in-Chief of all Union Armies, Henry Halleck—an attorney himself—the “Old Hundred” was a necessary contribution to the Union’s war efforts. First, it helped frame the conflict in legal terms, extending law of war protections to prisoners and proving to foreign states that the Union’s actions were in fact legitimate. Second, it enabled Lincoln to achieve his goal of emancipation.

Lincoln had won the 1860 election on a platform that denounced the expansion of slavery into new states. This precipitated the secession of South Carolina even while James Buchanan was still President, and set the nation on the path to civil war.

The story of The Code is told in tandem with the story of its author, and the maxims within are better read as a story of lessons learned. While Francis Lieber was an academic, a professor first at the University of South Carolina and later at what is now Columbia University, he was also a soldier. He was someone who had his family and his life torn apart by war. His sons fought on opposite sides during the conflict he helped to end. Rather than devote himself to pacifism, however, Lieber thought the call to arms was “the most honorable calling of mankind” and that “when carried on by civilized peoples, just wars were the way civilization spread. … Justice, not peace, [was] the highest ideal.”  (Witt 178). Not only did he believe in the importance of just wars, Lieber had kept slaves himself for a time and had seen firsthand the effects of slavery while living in South Carolina. It is in this context that “Old Hundred” should be read.

A notable characteristic of Lieber’s work was that it ran counter to then-conventional doctrine on the laws of war. Lieber openly spoke out against the end of war advocated by the leading contemporary European thinkers (182), preferring the writings of older theorists like Clausewitz. Humanizing wars, in Lieber’s opinion, had the paradoxical effect of prolonging human suffering.  He urged short and sharp wars because “the more earnestly and keenly wars are carried on, the better for humanity, for peace and civilization.” (184) This became the basis for the last sentence in Article 29 of his Code:

“Sharp wars are brief.”

The principle at the essence of the Code is military necessity. As Witt shows, military necessity became an almost absolute power, remarkable for what it forbade and more remarkable for what it allowed. Torture was expressly forbidden but the starvation of villages, emancipation of slaves as enemy property, and martial law were permitted, even expected. And yet the principle persisted, so that in the present day military necessity is one of the five accepted principles of the laws of armed conflict, or LOAC.

“Old Hundred” quickly gained traction abroad. European lawyers and politicians had been searching to codify their own “enlightened” laws of war after over a century of bloody conflicts. To this end, they concluded the very first Geneva Convention in 1864. Yet delegates at that Geneva Conference, influenced by some of the more pacifistic thinkers of the day, had gone in a somewhat different direction than Lieber. Their Convention outlawed some of the barbarities of war, reforming war in the hopes of one day ending it altogether. This approach foretold advancements in the laws of war that would occur in the wake of the World Wars of the 20th century.

Choosing an Approach

The Charter of the United Nations was signed and entered into force in 1945.  A short five years later, the North Atlantic Treaty, NATO’s founding document, likewise was signed and entered into force. Today, in 2020, Kabul, Afghanistan, has been the site of armed conflict and a nearly two-decades-long military presence by America and its NATO allies. The fact provokes questions:

  • Is the “forever war” a byproduct of the humanization of warfare?
  • Is that result what Francis Lieber had fought so vehemently against? Or is it merely indicative of the progress made towards the abolishment of warfare as an institution, which the United Nations and its progeny were designed to facilitate?
  • By sheathing the short war, have we lost a valuable weapon in our proverbial arsenal, holding ourselves to morals that our less scrupulous foes may not?

These were the questions that I faced after reading Lincoln’s Code.

Initially, I embraced the short, sharp wars advocated by Lieber, Tolstoy, and Clausewitz. Frustrated by a perceived lack of progress in recent war efforts and the absence of defining victories (ignoring a certain shipboard declaration of victory), my inclination was towards a strategy of power, shock, and awe. I thought that .

After further consideration, I think maybe this initial reaction was a bit rash: While I agree with many of the principles and ideals set forth by Lieber and his short-war sympathizers, I believe that he made some key mistakes. Like many who romanticize, he failed to account for the realities of the world.

If we do the same, we do so at our own peril.

Short wars reached their pinnacle with the Cold War. That is ironic since the Cold War was long – nearly a half-century prompted by the threat of the ultimate short war, nuclear war.  The international community has since demonstrated a strong aversion to this inhumane form of short war, to the point that in a near-peer conflict it may be more than ill-advised, it may be a nearly impossible strategy to pursue.  The changing instrumentalities of war, towards weapons of mass destruction, have altered the calculus of war.  As America’s near-peer adversaries retain an interest in a balanced geo-political environment, even short wars with non-nuclear equipped opponents seems unlikely.  The new realities of warfare include nuclear weapons, and as long as this remains true, the possibility of short wars will remain distant.

Post-Cold War NATO, or NATO 2.0, represents the other side of this equation. The military alliance, initially established as a After the USSR fell, NATO endured. It participated in some of the largest humanitarian efforts of the 20th and 21st centuries, in places like Kosovo, Haiti, and Afghanistan.

In truth, globalization, the threat of nuclear warfare, and a determined international effort to outlaw war have changed the face of warfare completely. Warfare today is about competition, about living in the gray areas of the law. It resembles humanitarian aid more than it does Gettysburg or Antietam.

Democracy, liberty, and the rule of law are the conquering tools of warfare in the 21st century. They have enabled the alliance to grow to 30 full-fledged members, to conclude official partnerships with 20 Partnership for Peace nations, as well as to develop relationships with numerous other nations from disparate corners of the earth, from Australia to Colombia to Pakistan. The great deterrents in today’s conflicts are not so much weapons as they are the financial costs of waging expeditionary wars and the potential damaging of financial systems. In this environment, communities of peace built on a common foundation are capable of outlasting more powerful foes.

NATO is also capable of holding its own during armed conflicts when they arise. (Another discussion could be had about member nations’ willingness to uphold their article 5 commitment of mutual defense, but that is a separate issue.) NATO retains flexibility in the deployment of its rules of engagement, which allow member nations to pursue their individual national interests while retaining a unity of effort. Effective management of NATO forces requires mastery of this concept by commanders across echelons. Once achieved, it leaves the alliance with plenty of capabilities to accomplish the mission.

Irish poet Robert Lynd once said:

“The belief in the possibility of a short, decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human delusions.”

The short wars envisioned by Lieber require justice to be the prevailing value in the pursuit of national objectives, and that in turn requires the actors pursuing these objectives to act justly.  The limited set of circumstances where this is achievable make his theory complicated enough to make unwise policy.  The abuses of the Code’s ideas that took place in subsequent conflicts, like the one in the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, make this clear.  As Witt demonstrated in Lincoln’s Code, the principle of military necessity acted as a cloak that attempted to legitimize abhorrent acts.

Whether organizations like NATO go too far in their pursuit of peace, whether they are influenced too much by groups trying to humanize an inherently inhumane act, strike me as unnecessary questions in today’s environment. Competition will indeed manifest itself as “forever wars.” I find this outcome preferable to the alternative of a persistent nuclear threat. 

Final Thoughts

I have found that even dream jobs can begin to show their faults after a few weeks. While NATO certainly suffers from its shortcomings, this job never lost its appeal. In fact, most of what I initially saw as shortcomings eventually appeared to have been deliberate components of NATO’s grand design. The endless hours needed to exhaust every opinion on a topic until consensus is reached certainly can be challenging. The fact that every nation gets a voice at all, however, is truly amazing.

One of my mentors at NATO once told me,

“The beauty of NATO is that it is.”

I hope that despite its challenges in the future, it will always continue to be.

Former DHS secretary lauds Georgia Law alumnus Chuck Allen on 20-year anniversary as DoD deputy general counsel for international affairs

An alumnus and member of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Council has garnered well-deserved praise from a fellow public servant and longtime colleague.

In “A Tribute to Charles A. Allen,” published Friday at Lawfare, Jeh Johnson, a partner in the Paul Weiss law firm and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security from 2013 to 2017, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the day that Allen took up the post of Deputy General Counsel (International Affairs) at the U.S. Department of Defense. Johnson wrote:

“To the benefit of us all, he remains in office today, with the vast responsibility of overseeing the legal aspects of the U.S. military’s operations abroad.

“Put simply: Chuck is one of the finest public servants I know. He embodies the best in federal civilian service.”

Johnson, also former general counsel both of the Department of Defense and of the U.S. Air Force, took particular note of Allen’s service, in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, “at the legal epicenter of the U.S. military’s armed conflicts against al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Taliban; the Iraq War; the conflicts in Libya and Syria; the maritime disputes with China and Iran; and many other conflicts, treaties and defense issues too numerous to list.”

Allen, Johnson continued, is “an earnest, low-key public official who consistently works long hours, mentors young national security lawyers and grinds out an extraordinary volume of work” – and the recipient of a Presidential Rank Award.

We at the University of Georgia School of Law are proud to call Allen (JD’82) an alumnus, former Research Editor of the Georgia Law Review, and author of two articles published in our Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law: “Civilian Starvation and Relief During Armed Conflict: The Modern Humanitarian Law” (1989) and “Countering Proliferation: WMD on the Move” (2011).

As stated in Allen’s DoD biography, he also earned an undergraduate degree from Stanford and an LL.M. from George Washington University. His service in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General Corps included a stint as Deputy Legal Adviser, National Security Council, and Attorney-Adviser, Office of Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State. In his current position, Allen’s responsibilities include

“legal advice on Department of Defense planning and conduct of military operations in the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq, including the law of armed conflict and war crimes, war powers, coalition relations and assistance, and activities of U.S. forces under international law and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions; arms control negotiations and implementation, non-proliferation, and cooperative threat reduction; status of forces agreements; cooperative research and development programs; international litigation; law of outer space; and multilateral agreements.”

(credit for 2015 International Committee of the Red Cross photo, above, of Charles A. “Chuck” Allen at Minerva–ICRC conference on International Humanitarian Law, held in Jerusalem 15-17 November 2015)