Student Rebecca Wackym on her GEO at Hebron Rehabilitation Committee

This is one in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law students, writing on their participation in our 2017 Global Governance Summer School or Global Externship Overseas initiative. Author of this post is 2L Rebecca Wackym, who spent her 1L summer as a GEO, or Global Extern Overseas.

For six weeks this summer, I lived and worked in the ancient and industrial city of Hebron (in Arabic, “Al-Khalil”) in the southern West Bank. Hebron is often touted as a “microcosm” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And for good reason: Hebron’s contested Old City district is home to both 30,000 Palestinians and 500-800 Israeli settlers, the latter protected by approximately 2,000 Israeli troops.

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At the center of the Old City and the conflict in Hebron is the Ibrahimi Mosque. It is the burial place of the patriarchs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah. It is the oldest religious building in the world that has been continually used for its original purpose, and it is the only religious building that serves as both a mosque and a synagogue. Much like the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock area, the Ibrahimi Mosque has been the subject of a tug of war between the Israelis and Palestinians since the occupation began.

The organization I worked for, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC), is on the front lines of the battle for cultural heritage rights. HRC succeeded in its efforts to designate the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Old City of Hebron as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger. During my time in Hebron, I worked with the Legal Unit of Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, which was founded to respond to human rights violations against the Palestinian citizens of the Old City, particularly violations pertaining to personal and public property.

Wackym6.jpgThe Legal Unit of the HRC uses several legal and policy strategies to achieve this purpose. These include: filing domestic complaints against Israeli Defense Forces orders; filing complaints with various international human rights bodies; conducting international awareness campaigns; and directly educating Palestinians about their rights. I had the opportunity to work on several of these complaints. On one filed with the United Nations Human Rights Council, I did research on Israeli case law.  My research involved the exhaustion of domestic remedies requirement in the context of road closure cases, in which the courts typically do not get involved if the closure can be justified by a “security-related” reason. I also wrote a complaint to the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. For this project, I conducted interviews with victims, compiled evidence, and researched relevant military orders and case law.

The transition from living in the United States to living in a conservative, Muslim-majority place was daunting, but my supervisor, Nicole Trudeau, did everything she could to ease the culture shock. She introduced me to her Palestinian friends and invited me to eat with local residents of the Old City. I felt very welcome and even at home during my time in Hebron. The professional culture was more relaxed than in the United States – the office closed at 3 pm, and tea breaks were customary– but I was surprised to find that it was also almost as progressive. Women outnumbered men in the office and had leadership roles. It was an eye-opening to see a conservative culture value women in the workforce.

During my externship with HRC, I received an invaluable education not only in human rights, cultural heritage, and humanitarian law practice, but also in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and their respective cultures. I spent weekends traveling all over Israel and the West Bank. I spoke with members of the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian soldiers, young people in Tel Aviv and Ramallah, settlers in Hebron, and local and international activists just trying to make the situation better. The experience was absolutely incredible. And I will never forget the friends I left in Hebron. Salam!

Professor Amann publishes AJIL essay on ICJ’s nuclear weapons rulings

Professor Diane Marie Amann‘s most recent publication appears in the latest print edition of the American Journal of International Law, in the section that analyzes recent judgments. Entitled “International Decisions: Obligations Concerning Negotiations Relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament,” it may be found at 111 AJIL 439 (2017).

The essay sets forth key aspects of 3 judgments (available here) that the International Court of Justice issued in October 2016 – as well as the response to those rulings by one party, the United Kingdom. It offers thoughts on potential future nuclear disarmament efforts. (It went to press before adoption of one such effort, the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which at this writing has 3 states parties and 53 signatories, none of them nuclear weapons states.)

Here at the University of Georgia School of Law, Amann holds the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and serves as Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center. Her article, which also forms part of Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center Research Paper Series at SSRN, may be downloaded at this SSRN link.

Here’s the abstract:

“In a trio of decisions, the International Court of Justice rejected the applications in which the Republic of the Marshall Islands claimed that three large states known to possess nuclear weapons, India, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom, had breached their international obligations to undertake and conclude negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament. This essay discusses those decisions, as well as the United Kingdom’s subsequent limitation of the circumstances under which it will accept the ICJ’s jurisdiction over such complaints. This development, coupled with the Court’s own narrowing of circumstances in which such an application will be accepted, make the likelihood of an eventual ruling on the nuclear disarmament issue quite remote.”

An adventure in Germany: GEO student Nick Duffey on his externship at GÖRG

This is the 1st in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law students, writing on their participation in our 2017 Global Governance Summer School and Global Externship Overseas initiatives. Author of this post is 2L Nick Duffey.

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Before my Global Externship Overseas, I had an interest in transnational business, taxation, and trade, but I did not understand how businesses from different countries resolved their disputes. After spending my 1L summer working at GÖRG, a law firm in Cologne, Germany, it is amazing how much more perspective I have on international business law and practice.

International business transactions affect our everyday lives, from the products we use to the services we need to maintain our lifestyles and businesses. Most transactions, whether for the manufacture and shipping of products or for services rendered by a party from one nation to another, contain arbitration clauses or provide for another means of alternative dispute resolution. These dispute resolution mechanisms were the precise focus of my work at GÖRG.

My favorite project during my internship was an emergency arbitration at the 20170707_134329.jpgInternational Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration. The entire process, from start to finish, lasted only fifteen days. During this intense period, I was given a particular issue to research, and I was thrilled when the material I found was cited by the arbitrator in the order. The opportunity to see the whole arbitration action from start to finish, and to be integrated into the team working on the project, was very interesting.

I also worked on a project to compare the cost and rates of various arbitration institutions with the cost of litigating in the German court system. The goal was to determine the price at which each arbitration institution broke even with German courts. This required a lot of math and conversion of different currencies. Ultimately, I wrote a memo on my findings and created a presentation to demonstrate to clients the value of arbitration.

20170702_200454.jpgLiving and working in Germany was an adventure. The GÖRG building sits just north of the Deutzer Brücke, a bridge over the Rhine River in Köln; that is, Cologne. It is a modern building with seven floors. I shared an office with a German intern, and she was very helpful when I had questions about the German courts and legal system. I am also grateful to Christof Siefarth, a partner at the firm and an LL.M. graduate of Georgia Law, for his mentorship during the course of the summer and for organizing my externship.

In my free time, I had the chance to participate in cultural events and to travel within Germany. During Kölner Lichter, an annual festival of lights, people from all over Germany flocked to the city to watch the boat parade on the Rhine. I took a day trip south of Köln to visit Castle Drachenfels, a beautiful castle with a rich history. I also spent a weekend in Berlin, a must-see city in Germany. I enjoyed wonderful brunches until late in the afternoon, and visited sights such as the Brandenburg gate, Museum Island, and the Berlin Wall memorial, including the East Side Gallery.

Participating in a GEO at GÖRG is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I have a new interest in arbitration, and I plan to apply to work at an international arbitration center this coming summer. I look forward to building a career in this field because I want to better understand the way businesses clash and resolve issues on an international level. This summer was amazing not only because I garnered valuable practical legal experience, but also because I got to do so on a wonderful adventure that I will remember for life.

GEO student Zack Lindsey publishes in Global Atlanta

geo2University of Georgia School of Law second-year student Zack Lindsey published an article in Global Atlanta about his experience this summer working in Ghana.

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During his Global Externship Overseas, or GEO,  Zack spent approximately two months in Accra working with Women in Law and Development in Africa. His work focused on the implementation of the Ghanaian Domestic Violence Act of 2007; he was responsible for helping set up a volunteer court watch program, training volunteers on the law, and conducting court surveys. He describes this work as “a key issue for Ghana” because of high rates of spousal abuse, but low rates of conviction under the Act.

global atlantaZack is one of twenty Georgia Law students who participated in the GEO initiative this summer. His article in Global Atlanta, a partner organization of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, draws parallels between the challenges facing victims of domestic violence seeking redress in Ghana to Georgia.

Polish law students and practitioners invited to free webinar October 24 on LL.M. study at Georgia Law

1Law students and lawyers in Poland are invited to register for a free webinar on postgraduate study at the University of Georgia School of Law. It’s set for 17:00 CET on Tuesday, October 24, and will focus on our Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree, a one-year offering for foreign-trained lawyers.

As detailed in this web posting from EducationUSA, our partner in this outreach effort, this informational session will be hosted by Dr. Laura Tate Kagel, our Center’s Director of International Professional Education. Maria Kachniarz, now in her final year of J.D. studies at the University of Georgia School of Law, who is originally from Poland, will also be available to answer questions from prospective applicants about studying law in the United States.

Details on how to join the webinar here. Explore the Georgia Law LL.M. degree here.

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Defense lawyer in GTMO USS Cole bombing case to speak at Georgia Law

“Guantánamo, Torture and Terrorism” is the title of the lunch-hour talk that Rick Kammen, lead defense counsel in a leading U.S. Military Commission case, will present tomorrow, October 10, in Room A-120 Hirsch here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Kammen represents Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (above right), a Saudi national charged with capital offenses stemming from the bombings in October 2000 bombings in a Yemeni harbor of the Navy destroyer USS Cole and the French oil tanker MV Limburg. As listed in a Miami Herald report, charges include:

“perfidy, murder in violation of the law of war, attempted murder in violation of the law of war, terrorism, conspiracy, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, and hazarding a vessel.”

Al-Nashiri was arraigned in a courtroom at the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in 2011. Litigation since then has concerned not only the allegations against him, but also the circumstances of his detention and interrogation. According to the Miami Herald report:

“He is one of three former CIA captives the U.S. spy agency has admitted to waterboarding during his secret custody.”

Kammen (right), a U.S. Army veteran, earned his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1971. A name partner in a criminal defense law firm in Indianapolis, Indiana, his specialties include death penalty defense.

Sponsoring the talk is the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, whose Director, Kathleen A. Doty, twice has observed GTMO proceedings in United States v. al-Nashiri as a representative of the National Institute of Military Justice.

Seeking Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation: Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center

sign2We’re looking for a self-initiating, globally minded individual to lead the Global Practice Preparation portfolio here at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law.

The Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation will advance our 40-year-old Center’s mission by developing and administering global practice preparation initiatives, with the support of an administrative assistant and under the supervision of the Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center.

As detailed in the full job notice, initiatives include:

A J.D. or LL.M. degree or its equivalent is required for this possession. As detailed in the full job notice, the successful applicant also will have significant experience, practice- or research-based, in global affairs, international law, and/or global legal education; proficiency in languages other than English; and experience in events planning and coordination. The successful applicant further will have an ability to travel, as well as a demonstrated self-initiating, entrepreneurial, creative, and collaborative approach to work.

Also expected is dedicated to advancing the mission of the Dean Rusk International Law Center. Named after the former U.S. Secretary of State who taught at Georgia Law in the last decades of his career, the Center has served since 1977 as a nucleus for global research, education, and service.

A PDF of the full job notice is here. To apply, click here and follow registration/application instructions, inserting the posting number 20171879 in order to reach the vacancy, captioned “ASSOC DIRECTOR ADMINISTRATIVE.”

We look forward to filling this vital position asap, so if you’re interested, don’t delay!