Hague briefings at ICC, Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and ICJ launch 2017 Global Governance Summer School

At the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, front from left: Ana Morales Ramos, Legal Adviser; Hossein Piran, Senior Legal Adviser; Kathleen A. Doty, Interim Director, Dean Rusk International Law Center; David Caron, Tribunal Member; and Georgia Law Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann. Back row, students Nicholas Duffey, Lyddy O’Brien, Brian Griffin, Wade Herring, Jennifer Cotton, Evans Horsley, Casey Callaghan, Kristopher Kolb, Nils Okeson, James Cox, and Ezra Thompson.

HAGUE – Briefings at key international law institutions here have highlighted the initial leg of the Global Governance Summer School led by the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center.

Our students’ journey began with a visit yesterday to the International Criminal Court Permanent Premises (left), a tile-and-ivy structure, located in dunelands not far from the North Sea, that opened just 18 months ago. Accompanying them were Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann and our Center’s Interim Director, Kathleen A. Doty, both of whom will lecture at the summer school next week.

Outlining the work of the Office of the Prosecutor were the Prosecutor’s Senior Legal Adviser, Shamila Batohi, and Legal Assistant, Annie O’Reilly (right), with whom Associate Dean Amann works in her capacity as the Prosecutor’s Special Adviser on Children in and affected by Armed Conflict. Topics included case selection and specific cases, complementarity and state cooperation, and the role of the prosecution in relation to other organs of the court.

Then Leiden Law Professor Dov Jacobs, a Legal Assistant in Defense at the ICC and member of the defense team for Laurent Gbagbo, the former Ivoirian President now on trial before the court. Shifting from the theoretical to the practical and back again, he spoke about the nature and challenges of international criminal justice, particularly as it relates to the defense function before contemporary bodies like the ICC.

The journey continued today with a morning briefing at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, an international organization established by treaty 36 years ago as a means to settle disputes arising out of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. It comprises 3 Americans, 3 Iranians, and three members from other countries. Offering a fascinating dialogue on the history and operations of the tribunal were Dr. David Caron, a U.S. member of the tribunaland an international law professor at Kings College London, and Dr. Hossein Piran, Senior Legal Adviser at the tribunal.

(It was a treat to learn that one of Dr. Piran’s professors was the late Gabriel N. Wilner, who founded our European summer study abroad during his long tenure on the Georgia Law faculty. Holding the professorship named after Wilner is Georgia Law Professor Harlan Cohen, who will lecture in this summer school next week, along with Leuven Law Professor Jan Wouters and others.)

The afternoon brought us to the Hague’s Vredepalais (left), or Peace Palace, built in the early 1900s to house international institutions that would foster pacific, rather than warlike, settlements of disputes.

Leading discussion on one of those institutions, the International Court of Justice set up under the 1945 Charter of the United Nations, was Dr. Xavier-Baptiste Ruedin (right), Legal Adviser for Judge Joan E. Donoghue. Topics ranged from provisional measures, like those recently issued in a case involving India and Pakistan, to jurisdiction via advisory opinion (including one soon to arrive at the court, following yesterday’s U.N. General Assembly vote) or contentious case.

A question common to all 3 visits was the role of such institutions – and international law more generally – in the governance of global affairs. We’ll continue to seek answers next week, when our Global Governance Summer School moves to Belgium for classroom seminars and an experts conference with our partner institution, KU Leuven’s Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies.

Applications welcome for Dean Rusk International Law Center Director

We at the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center, a global nucleus that will celebrate its 40th anniversary this October, seek applications for the position of Director. As stated in the vacancy notice:

“The Director’s work shall consist of (a) teaching (b) service (including, among other matters, symposia, seminars and training) and ( c) administration. A faculty director (or co-directors) may advise the director but will have no direct or indirect supervisory responsibility. This position will begin July 1, 2017 and be located in Athens, Georgia. Athens is an energetic city with a vibrant arts and cultural environment. It is located 75 miles northeast of Atlanta.

“To meet the requirements for appointment at the rank of Academic Professional, applicants must have a J.D. from an accredited university and should ideally have (1) superior academic credentials, (2) a superior teaching ability, (3) a record of participation in institutional and professional service, and (4) recognition in the field of international law.”

Details and online application here.

Associate Dean Amann named Spring 2018 Research Visitor and Visiting Fellow at University of Oxford, England

The University of Oxford, England, will host Georgia Law Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann during her research-intensive Spring 2018 semester. In the Hilary and Trinity Terms – March through June – she will be a Research Visitor at Oxford’s Bonavero Institute of Human Rights hosted by the Faculty of Law and a Visiting Fellow at its Mansfield College, where the Institute is based.

Amann joined the University of Georgia School of Law faculty in 2011, taking up the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law. She also has served, since 2015, as the law school’s Associate Dean for International Programs & Strategic Initiatives.

While at Oxford, Amann (right) plans to continue her research on “Women at Nuremberg,” which explores the many roles women played in post-World War II international criminal trials in Europe, as prosecutors, defense counsel, journalists, witnesses, staffers, and defendants.

As a Research Visitor, she also will have the opportunity to take part in Bonavero Institute activities, and will benefit from Oxford’s libraries, seminars and lectures, and other offerings.

The Bonavero Institute was founded in 2016 as a unit of the Oxford Faculty of Law, under the direction of Professor Kate O’Regan, a former judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Construction of the institute building, located at Mansfield College, is expected to be completed in early autumn.

Amann’s research visit in England will follow a January 2018 stint as the inaugural Breslauer, Rutman and Anderson Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Genocide Research at the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles.

Thoughts on ASIL annual meeting, by Sohn Fellow Johann Ebongom

Johann Ebongom, one of several Georgia Law students who traveled to Washington last month as Louis B. Sohn Professional Development Fellows, reflects below on that experience. This Saturday Ebongom, a lawyer from Cameroon, will receive his Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree at our commencement ceremony.

From April 12-15, I, along with University of Georgia School of Law classmates, volunteered at the 111th annual meeting of the American Society of International Law in Washington, D.C. What a great networking occasion for young students interested in the legal management of international affairs and the development of a stronger and more efficient international rule of law.

I was so excited to be offered an opportunity to be a privileged observer of one the world’s biggest and most prestigious international law gatherings, particularly in a time when most nations have adopted new policies towards the protection of their interests and the security of their citizens. With the Brexit in Europe, the Syrian crisis in Middle East, the North Korean nuclear tests, the relationship between African countries and the International Criminal Court, and the recent foreign-policy-related decisions of the current President of the United States of America, no need to say that this year’s ASIL meeting was a decisive one! As an LL.M. student at Georgia Law who has a keen interest in global affairs, I could not ask for a better way to strengthen my analysis and understanding for future research.

For three days, I had the great fortune to listen and interact with experts, scholars, judges, and practitioners coming from various institutions, such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Criminal Court, and the U.S. Department of State, among others. Several people shared with me valuable career advice. This experience was further highlighted by an in-depth exchange with Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the ICC, on the inevitable collaboration between the ICC and the soon-to-be-established African Court of Justice, which will lead to a reform of the current hierarchical organization of the international criminal justice system. Also, I enjoyed meeting Georgia Law alums – whom I’ve found always willing to assist.

The conference principally questioned the values of international law at a time when the world is subject to several events that might well compromise the value of international frameworks most nations had once believed in. The main highlighted issue seems to reside in the application or implementation of international law principles. Nations usually sign and ratify international conventions; however, these are far from being implemented, precisely in countries that are powerful enough to bypass the international order to preserve their interests.

It was an honor and privilege to represent Georgia Law as an LL.M. student. Being present for this year’s annual meeting was an inspiration for me, to one day enter the conversation in the hopes of creating a more just, more livable, and more connected world. I am very grateful to the Dean Rusk International Law Center for all its efforts and support in ensuring we have an unforgettable and fruitful time at the University of Georgia School of Law.

For other international law-minded Georgia Law students: Participating in an ASIL annual meeting is a good start to meet the international law community and benefit from invaluable advice! Do not hesitate to join next time.

(Cross-posted); prior Exchanges of Notes posts for which Johann Ebongom was a co-author here and here)

 

Alum Jon Smibert, U.S. Justice attaché in E. Europe, honored for public service

A distinguished University of Georgia School of Law alumnus, Jon R. Smibert (JD 1996), has been honored as one of the United States’ top federal employees. The honor was celebrated this month at a breakfast at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Smibert serves as Resident Legal Advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania. As reported in the Washington Post, he is one of 26 finalists for a 2017 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, also known as a “Sammie,” awarded by the Partnership for Public Service. Smibert is a finalist in National Security and International Affairs; the medalwinners will be chosen later in the year.

In addition to this U.S. recognition, Smibert recently received a medal from  from the President of Albania. In that country, he has worked to assist in overhauling the legal system, with the particular aim of reducing public corruption. Smibert helped to redraft about a third of Albania’s constitution and more than a dozen statutes. Innovations included vetting requirement for judges and prosecutors, as well as establishment of a Constitution-level body dedicated to investigating and prosecuting corruption.

Of Smibert’s work, Donald Lu, U.S. Ambassador to Albania, said:

“A lot of Albanians consider him a hero. The Albanian prime minister has called this ‘the most important reform since the fall of communism. Jon Smibert has a real passion for what he does, not only for representing the U.S., but in making Albania better.”

Before his posting in Albania, Smibert served in Pristina, Kosovo. In addition to helping to establish independent prosecution offices and to draft Kosovo’s Criminal Procedure Code, Smibert helped to launch the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, a war crimes court that sits at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Smibert began his career as a federal prosecutor in Atlanta, Georgia, and later in Cleveland, Ohio. His publications include a 240-page book, Principles of Evidence (2014).

International Jurist features LLM study at University of Georgia School of Law

The Master of Laws (LL.M.) curriculum at the University of Georgia School of Law is featured in the latest edition of The International Jurist, described as “the magazine for foreign attorneys studying in the U.S.”

Our curriculum is highlighted on page 8 of the issue entitled “Best LL.M. Programs.” The item pays particular note to last year’s winning Georgia Law LL.M.-J.D. team in the Southeast Model African Union, as well as  the many experiential learning opportunities and skills-based courses available. It states:

“For example, an LL.M. student from Bangladesh assigned to Magistrate Court conducts legal research, writes memos and observes trials.”

More information and the Georgia Law LL.M. brochure are available here, or by e-mailing Dr. Laura Tate Kagel, Director of International Professional Education at the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, at LLM@uga.edu.

On World Trade Day, alum Bill Poole earns Global Leadership Award

Very pleased to congratulate our distinguished alumnus William M. Poole (JD’73), recipient of the Global Leadership Award bestowed by the World Trade Center Atlanta.

The Center bestowed the award during its World Trade Day celebration on May 2, in order to recognize Poole’s

“exemplary service to the facilitation of international trade and investment between Georgia and the rest of the world.”

Poole, who goes by Bill, is Of Counsel at Atlanta’s Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. Serving as head of the office’s International Practice, Poole, whose expertise includes transnational tax law, focuses on transnational business and investment matters.

He’s taught international business transactions law as an adjunct professor here at his alma mater. While a law student, he was Editor-in-Chief of the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law and took part in our Jessup International Moot Court and Brussels Seminar initiatives. After earning his undergraduate degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Poole served in Vietnam and Germany.

Through its World Trade Day event, the World Trade Center Atlanta brought an array of leaders to discuss issues of trade and investment. In Georgia last year, this sector accounted for more than $157.2 billion in imports and exports.