Center’s e-newsletter recaps last year, looks forward to great 2016-17 events

Very pleased to share the e-newsletter we at the Dean Rusk International Law Center mailed to our University of Georgia School of Law community and beyond. E-mail us to request direct mailing of future editions.

News from Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk International Law Center

Since last October, when we rededicated our Louis B. Sohn Library on International Relations and celebrated the 38th birthday of our University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center, we’ve pursued a range of initiatives: conferences and scholarly endeavors; global practice preparation via externships, research projects, international advocacy, and student engagement; and partnerships with Global Atlanta and other internationally minded groups, at home and abroad. Many initiatives are profiled at our Exchange of Notes blog—we’re pleased to share highlights with you.

Conference on Geneva Conventions Commentaries leads 2016-17

The new International Committee of the Red Cross Commentary was the focus of a conference keynoted by the editor of the commentaries project, Dr. Jean-Marie Henckaerts, one of the more than 450 foreign-trained lawyers who’ve earned a Georgia LL.M. since we first awarded the degree four decades ago. Henckaerts is a Geneva-based Legal Adviser for the ICRC, which cosponsored the conference along with our Center and the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law—a publication for which Henckaerts once served as an Associate Editor, and which marks its 45th birthday this year. Joining him at the September 2016 conference were experts with experience in academia, armed forces and government, and international organizations. Georgia Law moderators were Professor Harlan Grant Cohen, Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann, who leads our Center, and Kathleen A. Doty, our Center’s Director of Global Practice Preparation.

Preceding Henckaerts’ visit was that of another LL.M. alumnus, Dr. Kannan Rajarathinam, who serves as Head of Office, U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq. GJICL will publish his speech, “The United Nations at 70: Pursuing Peace in the 21st Century,” which keynoted our Center’s October 2015 rededication. Cosponsors for this official UN70 event included the Section of International Law of the American Bar Association, the American Branch of the International Law Association, and the American Society of International Law.

Other events highlights: “The Whole World Is Watching: Foreign Policy and the U.S. Presidential Election,” a September 2016 lecture by Derek Shearer, Chevalier Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College and former U.S. Ambassador to Finland, cosponsored by the World Affairs Council of Atlanta and the University of Georgia School of Public & International Affairs; “The President wants it; the Candidates all oppose it: What is the TPP?,” a September 2016 talk on international trade by Professor Harlan Grant Cohen; “Common Challenges to Diverse Security Threats,” presented by Mallory Stewart, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Emerging Security Challenges & Defense Policy, and hosted by our Center in Washington, D.C., in partnership with ASIL’s Nonproliferation, Arms Control & Disarmament Interest Group; and “Tomb Raiders and Terrorist Financing: Cutting off the Illicit Traffic in ‘Blood Antiquities,’” a lecture delivered in April 2016 at the Georgia Museum of Art by our J.D. alumna Tess Davis, a cultural heritage expert who serves as Executive Director of the D.C.-based Antiquities Coalition.

Later in 2016-17, we look forward to welcoming: Navanethem Pillay, former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and Judge at the International Criminal Court and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda; Viet Thanh Nguyen, whose novel The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and whose nonfiction work that will form the basis of his visit to our Center,Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, is a National Book Award nominee; the 10th anniversary conference of IntLawGrrls blog; and Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler, Professor of Law at the University of Geneva. Introduced by another international arbitration expert, our Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, Kaufmann-Kohler will deliver the 2d Glenn Hendrix Lecture, which we’re proud to cosponsor with the Atlanta International Arbitration Society. Details on these and other events here.

Global Practice Preparation

Numerous initiatives prepare Georgia Law J.D. and LL.M. students to practice law in our globalized profession—both at home and abroad, in both private and public sectors. Our Center employs Student Ambassadors to conduct research and aid its work, and it awarded Louis B. Sohn Professional Development Fellowships to support students’ participation at the 2016 ASIL annual meeting and visit to the Pentagon.

For more than a decade, our International Law Colloquium has welcomed leading scholars to workshop their works in progress with students as well as faculty discussants. Presenters have come to our Athens campus from throughout the United States and as far as Galway, Geneva, London, Montreal, Rome, and Toronto to explore an array of legal topics. Our Spring 2017 course, led by Professor Harlan Grant Cohen, continues that tradition. Confirmed professors: Duncan Hollis, Temple Law; Benedict Kingsbury, New York University Law; Jonathan Todres, Georgia State University Law; Sergio Puig, Arizona State Law; Melissa J. Durkee, University of Washington Law; and Saira Mohamed, Berkeley Law.

Overseas opportunities include: our Spring Semester at Oxford University in England, where in 2017 Professor Nathan S. Chapman, following the lead of Professor James C. Smith last year, will join Oxford colleagues to offer courses with comparative and transnational elements; and our summer study abroad in partnership with Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies at Belgium’s University of Leuven. Our Global Externships support international and transnational law placements in firms, corporations, governmental ministries, and international and nongovernmental organizations—last year, at home, in New York, Washington, and Atlanta, and overseas, in Cambodia, China, England, Germany, Italy, Palestine, Russia, and Thailand.

Global Practice Preparation includes support for student organizations, such as: our Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot team, which placed 5th in the 2016 finals in Vienna (left), as well as our Jessup International Moot Court Competition team; the International Law Society, Georgia Law’s student chapter of the International Law Students Association; and the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law, which last year issued “Children and International Criminal Justice,” an edition publishing a keynote by International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, a foreword by Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann, and other papers from a recent symposium.

Scholarly achievements

Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann will speak in November at The Hague, Netherlands, launch of the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor Policy on Children. She has assisted in the drafting of the policy since her 2012 appointment as the Prosecutor’s Special Adviser on Children in and affected by Armed Conflict. Amann presented on the crime of aggression in July at the University of Oxford in England, on international humanitarian law at an International Committee of the Red Cross panel in April in Washington, D.C., and on children at the 2015 International Law Weekend in New York. Her publications are available here.

Professor Mehrsa Baradaran published How the Other Half Banks, a book on inequality in financial services, in September 2015. Commentary with a transnational turn has included: her presentation at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.; an interview on Irish radio; and quotations in London’s Guardian as well as “What the U.S. doesn’t like about Japan’s post offices,” a Washington Postarticle.

Professor Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, an expert in complex litigation, will present in early 2017 at “Fifty Years of Class Actions—A Global Perspective,” a Theoretical Inquiries in Law conference at Tel Aviv University, Israel. In fall 2015, Zeit Online, The National Law Journal, and The New York Times quoted Burch on transnational litigation involving Volkswagen’s claims about diesel emissions.

Professor Jason A. Cade published “Enforcing Immigration Equity” in Fordham Law Review and also affiliated with the University of Georgia Latin American & Caribbean Studies Institute. His “Return of the JRAD” appeared at New York University Law Review Online and spurred many response essays by immigration law experts.

Professor Nathan S. Chapman presented a work in progress, “Due Process of War,” at Wake Forest University School of Law.


Since his 2015 appointment as Managing Editor of AJIL Unbound, the online extension of the American Journal of International Law, Professor Harlan G. Cohen has overseen the publication of 126 essays, from authors in more than 18 countries, on topics as diverse as Latin American constitutionalism, climate change, the crime of aggression, the appointment of international arbitrators, conflicts of law, and the legacy of the Sykes-Picot agreement. He has presented at many law schools; recent publications include “Methodology and Misdirection: Custom and the ICJ” at EJIL: Talk! and “A Politics-Reinforcing Political Question Doctrine,” forthcoming in the Arizona State Law Journal.

In February, our Center’s Director of Global Practice Preparation, Kathleen A. Doty, presented “Guantánamo’s Future” in a University of Georgia symposium on “Cuba and the U.S. South: A Shared History.” At the ASIL annual meeting in April, she led a panel she’d organized as chair of the Nonproliferation, Arms Control & Disarmament Interest Group, and in May she was selected for travel to Asia as a World Affairs Council of Atlanta Young Leaders Fellow.

Professor Walter Hellerstein took part in conferences and workshops in Austria, France, and Kazakhstan, and was a guest professor at the Vienna University of Economics & Business. Recent publications include “Specialized Courts in Multijurisdictional Systems: An American Perspective,” a chapter in Recent Developments in Value Added Taxes, and “Taxing Remote Sales in the Digital Age: A Global Perspective,” in the American University Law Review.

Dr. Laura Tate Kagel, our Center’s Director of International Professional Education, affiliated with the University of Georgia Latin American & Caribbean Studies Institute, and has traveled to Eastern Europe in support of our LL.M. degree initiative.

Professor Lisa C. Milot’s scholarship on performance-enhancing drugs drew attention during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: her work was featured in Vice Sports and in “El debate sobre el doping,” published in Chile’s La Tercera.

Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge published “The Testamentary Foundations of Commercial Arbitration” in Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, and spoke about arbitration at a New York University conference, at the annual conference of the Atlanta International Arbitration Society, and at a regional meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General.

Professor Margaret V. Sachs presented on international securities fraud during a panel entitled “Rulemaking, National and International” at the annual meeting of the Law and Society Association in New Orleans.

Ethisphere listed Professor Larry R. Thompson, former PepsiCo General Counsel and an expert on corporate responsibility, among the 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics.


Professor Sonja R. West traveled to Budapest to speak on “Improving Press Coverage of the Courts through Communication” at the European Judicial Conference on Courts and Communication, organized by Bíróság, Hungary’s National Office for the Judiciary.

Old Europe and new transnational challenges in latest Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law

gjicl44_1Issues circling the globe are featured in  Volume 44 Issue 1 of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, or GJICL, just published and available online.

The volume begins with two articles, by scholars with ties to France, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the United States:

kingNew Judicial Review in Old Europe, by Alyssa S. King (right)

bermanHuman Rights Law and Racial Hate Speech Regulation in Australia: Reform and Replace?, by Dr. Alan Berman (left)

Four notes, by alums who received their Georgia Law J.D.s in 2016, also appear in the volume:

carrollThe TBT Agreement’s Failure To Solve U.S.–COOL, an analysis of a World Trade Organization dispute respecting country-of-original labeling, by Elinore R. Carroll (right)

domineyEbola, Experimental Medicine, Economics, and Ethics: An Evaluation of International Disease Outbreak Law, by Sara Louise Dominey (left)

singletonBalancing a Right to Be Forgotten with a Right to Freedom of Expression in the Wake of Google Spain v. AEPD, by Shaniqua Singleton (right)

► Regulating Lolicon: Toward Japanese Compliance with Its International Legal Obligations to Ban Virtual Child Pornography, by Cory Lyn Takeuchi

How will current and future conflicts test 2016 ICRC Commentary?

It’s our pleasure today to publish this post by Chanel Chauvet, a member of the Georgia Law Class of 2018 who serves as a Student Ambassador at our Dean Rusk International Law Center. This past summer, Chanel (below left) completed a summer course on international humanitarian law at Leiden Law School’s Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at The Hague, Netherlands. While there, she accompanied Georgia Law Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann, who serves as the Special Adviser to International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Children in & affected by Armed Conflict, at an NGO consultation on the draft Policy on Children, set for final release this autumn. In today’s post, one in a series on our recent conference on international humanitarian law, Chanel writes:

chanel_dianeicc1I feel honored to be able to attend the University of Georgia School of Law, not only for the premier education, but also for the incredible opportunities that are extended to students.

Most recently, the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center and Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law, in conjunction with the International Committee of the Red Cross, coordinated “Humanity’s Common Heritage,” a conference on the 2016 ICRC Commentary on the First Geneva Convention. Organizers included Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann, Professor Harlan Cohen, and Kathleen Doty, the Center’s Director of Global Practice Preparation. Leading experts visited UGA Law to discuss this new development in the field of international humanitarian law, or IHL.

jean-marie-henckaertsFollowing introductions, the keynote speaker and UGA Law alumnus, Dr. Jean-Marie Henckaerts (right) delivered his lecture. To begin the conference, the Dean of University of Georgia School of Law, Peter “Bo” Rutledge, had given an introductory speech, in which he emphasized that UGA Law is a “home” to students and alumni. Personally, I thought it was great to have a distinguished alumnus working within the field of IHL return to our “home” to enrich the UGA Law community.

Dr. Henckaerts discussed three themes: his background; the foundations of international humanitarian law; and the process and methodology of updating the Commentaries to the four Geneva Conventions. This updating is needed, he said, because of advancements in technology and other forms of warfare that have developed since the Commentaries were last updated more than a half-century ago. The effort is significant because of its influence in enhancing the understanding of contemporary international law.



Aleppo, Syria, 2015 (credit for ICRC photo)

Regarding his background, Dr. Henckaerts serves as the main editor to the Commentaries, and the Legal Adviser at the ICRC. A private organization that was established in 1863, the ICRC consists of 1,500 staff members in 80 different countries. They work to promote and implement IHL, in addition to other initiatives, such as assisting and protecting persons in and affected by armed conflicts. One of the ICRC’s most recent efforts to support this goal involved delivering water in Syria, a country currently plagued with an ongoing non-international armed conflict. Dr. Henckaerts noted that aside from the fact that water is a basic human need, it is also important to prevent the spread of disease.


International humanitarian law essentially governs all aspects of war by regulating hostilities and protecting certain groups of people, including civilians and prisoners of war. It finds its basis in the four Geneva Conventions adopted in 1949, which are among some of the very few treaties that have been universally ratified or acceded to. I have listed below the primary purposes of each of the Geneva Conventions and the first two Additional Protocols:

  • GC 1: Conditions of the sick and wounded, medical personnel, medical units, medical transports, emblems, armed forces, rules on the missing, rules on the dead
  • GC 2: Conditions of the ship-wrecked and armed forces at sea
  • GC 3: Treatment of prisoners of war
  • GC 4: Protection of civilians in times of war

Additional Protocol I, which governs international armed conflicts, or IACs, and Additional Protocol II, which governs non-international armed conflicts, or NIACs, are also primary sources of international humanitarian law. These treaties are somewhat less regarded, though, demonstrated by the fact that they have not been ratified by all states.

According to Dr. Henckaerts, the value of 2016 ICRC Commentary on the First Geneva Convention is that it will serve as a tool and reference source on various topics of international humanitarian law.

Process & methodology

Jean S. Pictet (1914-2002),former ICRC Vice President, President of the Juridical Section and Director of General Affairs (photo credit)

With respect to the process and methodology of revising the Commentaries to the first Geneva Convention, he emphasized that the revision process was collaborative in nature. It was an effort between ICRC representatives and other IHL experts throughout the world to update the “Pictet Commentaries,” the Commentaries created shortly after the 1949 Geneva Conventions were adopted. Interestingly enough, the updated 2016 Commentary reflects diverging views extracted from various consultations between the experts.

Dr. Henckaerts also acknowledged that the Commentary cannot be regarded as the ultimate authority on the Geneva Conventions for a number of reasons:

  • First, states parties have not contributed to the clarification of the Commentaries. By the same token, there has not been a concerted public effort by any state to contribute its input to the updated Commentaries.
  • Second, the quality of the research and writing will determine the 2016 Commentary’s position of authority on the first Geneva Convention.

With regard to the process going forward, Dr. Henckaerts reported that the ICRC working group has both begun the revision process on the second Geneva Convention and implemented a timeline to complete the Commentaries to the remaining two Geneva Conventions.

Following this keynote address was a panel of IHL experts including Oxford Law Professor Dapo Akande, Emory Law Professor Laurie Blank, Major-General Blaise Cathcart, the Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces, and New York University Law Professor Ryan Goodman. They offered their critiques on the 2016 Commentary. One question they asked was left unanswered: How did the ICRC determine that the Commentaries needed to be updated?

Other questions, posed by Professor Goodman, related to how the Commentaries would address the concept of transnational NIACS, and what would be the implications of this classification within the cyber realm. To illustrate this ideam he asked how the Commentaries would address people, spread across different states, who organized a coalition in the online realm and used cyber weapons.

There also seemed to be an overarching theme of the discussion. It centered on whether the Geneva Conventions should be interpreted through an originalist or an evolutionist perspective. The 2016 ICRC Commentary has provided enough deference to the original Commentaries, but it has evolved in a sense, in order to properly address the technological advances and military developments since the inception of the original Commentaries.

In any event, it is safe to say that all of the experts are curious to see how the current and future conflicts will test the 2016 ICRC Commentary.

For more information regarding the role of the Commentaries, please click here.

Professor West heads east: Upcoming media law lecture in Budapest

west-profileAmong the many University of Georgia School of Law professors whose work crosses national borders is Sonja R. West (right). In fact, Professor West will be traveling very soon to Hungary, to speak on Thursday, October 13, at the European Judicial Conference on Courts and Communication in Budapest, organized by Bíróság, Hungary’s National Office for the Judiciary.

Her talk, entitled “Improving Press Coverage of the Courts through Communication,” will examine various issues of failed communication between the press and the courts, as well as possible solutions.

It’s a topic well within her expertise. Professor West teaches courses in constitutional law, media law, and the Supreme Court at Georgia Law. Starting this spring, she will also teach media law at the university’s Grady College of Journalism, where she recently received a joint appointment. Her work on has been published in the reviews of Harvard, UCLA, Michigan law schools, among others. In recognition of her scholarship, the National Communication Association just awarded her its 2016 Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression.

She’s also has written for media outlets like Slate. Her other accomplishments include service as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and work as journalist in Illinois, Iowa, and Washington, D.C.

In addition to taking part in the judicial conference, Professor West plans to meet with Budapest-based alums of Georgia Law, and also with representatives from the Hungarian-American Fulbright Commission and faculty from the law faculty at Pázmány Péter Catholic University.

Become part of a 45-year tradition: Georgia Law Master of Laws (LLM)

2016brochure_coverwebIn 1973, a Belgian attorney became the first foreign-trained lawyer to earn a Master of Laws, or LLM, degree at the University of Georgia School of Law.

The tradition launched then continues today: Even as the our current LLM class of 2017 pursues studies, we work to build next year’s LLM student body. We welcome inquiries and applications for the Class of 2018.

As detailed in our brochure (online in booklet form here; in printable PDF here), Georgia Law LLMs may prepare to sit for a US bar examination, one among many concentrations:

  • Preparation for a U.S. Bar Examination
  • Business Law and Dispute Settlement
  • Family Law and Migration Law
  • Transnational, International, and Comparative Law
  • Public Institutions and the Law

It’s a vibrant program; see our Exchange of Notes blog posts here.

Members of that class will join an alumni/ae base of more than 450 Georgia Law LLMs, who have ties to 75 countries, on every continent in the world, and 10,000 alums overall. They include judges and law firm partners, leaders in governments and in intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, heads of corporate legal departments, and university professors.

Click here to join this tradition of excellence in international professional education, or here to apply now.

70 years ago, landmark international criminal law judgment at Nuremberg

This weekend marks the 70th anniversary of the Judgment of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, a moment recorded in this New York Times front page:


The judgment established that humans, and not only states, may be held responsible for violations of international law – a principle that the General Assembly endorsed in 1950. Recognition that individual acts mattered in the international law soon opened the way for recognition that acts committed against individuals also mattered. The Nuremberg Judgment thus stands as a foundational moment in the international human rights movement, as was recognized inter alia in a 1982 article by Georgia Law Professor Louis B. Sohn, when he was Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, a position I am now honored to hold.

Another Georgia Law professor who’s written about Nuremberg is my colleague Harlan Grant Cohen; these works include: ‘Undead’ Wartime Cases: Stare Decisis and the Lessons of History (2010); Historical American Perspectives on International Law (2009); The American Challenge to International Law: A Tentative Framework for Debate (2003).

My own writings, available here, include studies of the meaning of genocide and essays on women who worked as prosecutors, defense lawyers, and staff (no judges) at postwar trials in Nuremberg and Tokyo. “Women at Nuremberg” is a subject that many IntLawGrrls have addressed, not to mention many more posts on all aspects of international criminal law and international human rights law.