“Reaffirmed my passion for human rights”: Hanna Karimipour on her Global Externship with Brussels NGO No Peace Without Justice

IMG_7351This is one in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law students, writing on their participation in our Global Governance Summer School or our Global Externship Overseas initiative. Author of this post is 2L Hanna Karimipour (right), who spent her 1L summer as a GEO, or Global Extern Overseas.

This summer, I had the opportunity to work at No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) in Brussels, Belgium, as part of the Global Externships Overseas (GEO) initiative. NPWJ was founded in 1993 to support the establishment and operation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Since then, NPWJ has worked on human rights and accountability in conflict and post-conflict settings around the world.

I came to law school because I’ve always known that I wanted to work in international relations and on human rights issues. After spending my 1L year getting the basics of U.S. law down and taking one international law course, I was eager to gain meaningful exposure to international law practice at NPWJ. As I sat for my final exams, the thought of my upcoming externship, as well as all the Belgian frites and waffles I would eat, carried me through.

On arriving in Brussels, I was not disappointed. Right away, I was researching the actus reus for aiding and abetting liability for war crimes under Article 25(3)(c) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. I was struck by the challenges to international legal research. There is no single database that catalogues case law, and considering that the ICC is only sixteen years old, the available precedent is limited. Moreover, ad hoc criminal tribunals – in particular, the ICTY – may have helpful case law,  for the issue I was working on, but the approaches of each court vary widely, and their case law can even be contradictory. Although at first I was overwhelmed, by the end of the summer I found the process of combing through cases, the text of the Statute itself, travaux préparatoires, academic articles, and books to be a thrilling and surprisingly fun process.

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As a part of my GEO, I was also able to travel with NPWJ. I went on a two-day mission to Geneva, Switzerland to the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights. There, NPWJ was invited to represent civil society at the Joint UN/Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) Seminar on Human Rights for PAM Members of Parliaments. Also in Geneva, I visited the Palais des Nations to attend a panel on transitional justice in Tunisia. As someone whose childhood dream was to be a United Nations ambassador, it was utterly exciting to be in the Palais des Nations, right down an escalator from where the Human Rights Council was in session.

The highlight of my experience, however, came when I was able to gain experience in the field as part of a six-day mission to Gaziantep, Turkey. Gaziantep is located approximately 30 miles from the Syrian border – about half the distance from Athens to Atlanta! I assisted with a NPWJ training on negotiation for members of Syrian civil society. It was a powerful experience to contribute to giving organizations the tools to safeguard human rights and to ensure transitional justice occurs and in the midst of the conflict in Syria. During this mission, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with several Syrian people who are directly taking action to improve the situation. Before this summer, the possibility of doing human rights field work wasn’t even on my radar. Now, it is something I am seriously considering for after law school.

My GEO at NPWJ was one of the most valuable experiences I have had thus far in my education and career, and has reaffirmed my passion for human rights. Oh, and I got plenty of the frites and waffles, too. I am looking forward to continuing my exploration of international law on campus at Georgia Law.

Belgium week of our Global Governance Summer School concludes on a (World Cup) celebratory note

LEUVEN – Final sessions of our 2018 Global Governance Summer School‘s Belgium leg came to an end yesterday, even as the country’s national team vaulted into the final four of the World Cup.

Day 5 of the summer school, devoted to Global Security Governance,  began with a lecture by Dr. Nicolas Hachez. He is a Fellow at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven, with which we at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law, partner to present the Global Governance Summer School. Hachez’ lecture began with an historical account dating to Aristotle, and ended with a survey of contemporary challenges to rule of law and democracy. (Just below, he listens to a response from Georgia Law student Brooke Carrington.) The presentation provided a valuable recap of many issues raised at the high-level RECONNECT conference our students attended earlier in the week.

Next, yours truly, Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, one of our Center’s Faculty Co-Directors, and a founding Co-Director of the Global Governance Summer School. I introduced the concept of Global Security Governance, which incorporates within its analysis of human, national, and collective security insights from traditional international law subfields like human rights, the laws of war, and development law.

Our Center’s Director, Kathleen A. Doty, offered an overview of legal regimes related to disarmament and weapons control, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Then, as pictured at top, she led our summer school students – variously educated at Georgia Law, Leuven, and several other European institutions – in a spirited, simulated, multilateral negotiation for a new treaty to curb an imagined new development in weapons technology.

The week’s classroom component concluded with a lecture on “Global Governance, International Law and Informal Lawmaking in Times of Antiglobalism and Populism” by Leuven Professor Jan Wouters (right), Jean Monnet Chair ad personam EU and Global Governance, Full Professor of International Law and International Organizations, Director of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, and founding Co-Director of our summer school. Touching on concepts and issues introduced throughout the week, Wouters exposed shortcomings of classic international law. He further urged greater acceptance of the significance of informal lawmaking actors, norms, and processes, which form the core of global governance studies.

Leuven and Georgia Law students, faculty, staff, and friends then enjoyed a conference dinner, plus a live, and lively, screening of the Belgium Red Devils’ 2-1 World Cup victory over Brazil – then headed to Oude Markt to celebrate with other denizens of this lovely city.

Global Governance Summer School students at high-level conference on project aiming to RECONNECT Europe

Yesterday’s sessions of our Georgia Law-Leuven Centre Global Governance Summer School were devoted to a new, 4-year research project aimed at reinvigorating core values of the European Union.

Called RECONNECT: Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law and supported by funds from the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme, the project has just been established by KU Leuven’s Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and 17 partner institutions.

Our summer school’s morning began at a classroom in Leuven, where Michal Ovádek (left), a Leuven Centre PhD candidate and research fellow,  provided an introduction to the structure of, and contemporary challenges, to European Union integration. Among them are the efforts of recently elected governments to undermine judicial independence, free press, and other democratic institutions in Poland and Hungary, as well as the aftermath of the 2016 Brexit referendum, in which a slight majority in the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU.

We then traveled to Brussels’ neoclassical Academy Palace, home to the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts and the site of an afternoon conference launching the RECONNECT project.

Leuven Law Professor Jan Wouters, whose many titles include Director of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and Co-Director of our summer school, opened the conference (top photo). Stating that “the EU and its members are confronted with an existential crisis,” Wouters explained how “RECONNECT will intervene in the public discourse, to build a new narrative for Europe.” The EU can “regain authority and legitimacy through democracy and the rule of law,” he said, “provided citizens’ views taken into account.”

Delivering keynotes were H.E. Didier Reynders, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs & European Affairs – who urged, as a way to reconnect, emphasizing that the EU is not just an economic project, but also based on values and principles – and Dr. Adam Bodnar, Ombudsman of the Republic of Poland.

Two policy roundtables followed:

► “Strengthening Democracy in the European Union,” chaired by Julie Smith and featuring Alberto Alemanno, Richard Youngs, Zselyke Csaky, Vivien Schmidt, Carlos Closa Montero, and Amichai Magen.

► “Addressing Rule of Law Challenges in the EU,” chaired by Laurent Pech and including Tamas Lukacsi, Philip Bittner, Peter Claes, Lotte Leicht, Petra Bárd, and Dimitry Kochenov.

Many speakers revisited developments in countries like Hungary, Poland, and post-Brexit UK, touching on issues ranging from freedom of speech to social media, economic anxiety and political processes. Europe’s responses to global migration both within and outside its borders, was another topic frequently mentioned.

In a particularly moving presentation, Lotte Leicht (3d from right), EU Director for Human Rights Watch, told of seeing, at a middle school where she recently spoke, signs saying “Be Kind” and “Treat One Another as You Want to Be Treated.” Commenting that youths “get it,” she proceeded to outline problems and to welcome innovative solutions.  Yet Leicht cautioned against adopting perceived solutions that would have negative effects:

“It is a redline when we start undermining the rule of law and our obligations under international law.”

Our stay in Leuven concludes tomorrow, after sessions on related to human rights and security governance – and, fittingly, after tomorrow night’s World Cup contest between Belgium and Brazil.

Human rights, criminal justice, NATO, business practice, reception with Georgia Law alums: Global Governance Summer School day 3, Brussels

Professor Amann, Ana Sofie Silveira, Lucia Hakala, Eunjun Kim, Bryant Oliver, Professor Doty, NATO Legal Adviser Steven Hill, Hanna Karimipour, Maddie Neel, Julian Skoruppa, Brooke Carrington, Saif Ahmed, Caroline Harvey, Mills Culver, and Frances Plunkett

BRUSSELS – A variety of briefings in this Belgium capital, and home of many European Union institutions, highlighted day 3 of the Global Governance School that our University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center offers with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies at KU Leuven, one of Europe’s premier research institutions.

Our cohort of students from Georgia Law and multiple European universities first traveled to the Brussels office of No Peace Without Justice (left), a nongovernmental organization founded a quarter-century ago to promote “the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and international justice.” There Alison A. Smith (left), Legal Counsel and Director of the organization’s International Criminal Justice Program, took part in a dialogue on “International Human Rights Lawyering” with Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and one of our Center’s Faculty Co-Directors. Then the organization’s Secretary-General, Niccolò A. Figà-Talamanca, described the Rome diplomatic conference that led to adoption in 1998 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Next, Steven Hill, Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of Legal Affairs at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, outlined the work of his office, where an 8-lawyer team serves as counsel to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenburg and further liaises with NATO lawyers throughout the world. He then discussed key issues likely to be discussed at next week’s NATO Summit. (Preparations for that meeting of member states’ heads of state and government precluded a visit to the new NATO headquarters; we are grateful to the Brussels law firm Van Bael & Bellis for providing the lovely conference room, pictured above, where our students met with Hill.)

Finally, we made our way to the Brussels office of Sidley Austin LLP. There Stephen Spinks (Georgia Law JD’76), a member of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, led a presentation on key areas of global business practice at his office. Spinks is the immediate past managing partner of that office, and a well-known lawyer expert in matters related to EU competition (in effect, antitrust) law and trade law. Assisting in the presentation by Spinks (standing, at left) were 4 additional Sidley lawyers. From left: Dr. Michele Boggiani, who spoke on anti-corruption and life sciences law, Paul Greaves, on data privacy law, Anne Robert, on competition law, and Dr. Bregt Natens, on trade law.

The day concluded with a lively reception that Sidley kindly hosted. Participants included our students, firm attorneys, Center Director Kathleen A. Doty and myself, Sidley attorneys including Wim Nauwelaerts (LLM’94), an alumnus and head of the firm’s data privacy group, plus other Georgia Law graduates. These included: Johan De Bruycker (LLM’90), General Counsel, Ageas, Brussels; Porter Elliott (JD’96), the Van Bael & Bellis partner who helped secure a room for the morning NATO presentation; Daniel J. Felz (JD’09), an associate at Alston & Bird LLP; Professor Erik Franckxx (LLM’83), Professor of Law Director of the Department of International and European Law at Vrije Universiteit Brussel; and Dr. Christof Siefarth (LLM’86), a partner at GÖRG law firm in Cologne, Germany, and member of our Center’s Council.

Our group returns to Brussels tomorrow, to the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, to take part in Reconnect: Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law, a conference kicking off a 4-year-research project among 18 partners, including our partner institution, the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, KU Leuven.

Contemporary challenges to global trade and sustainable development the focus of 2018 Georgia Law-Leuven Centre Global Governance Summer School day 2

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Global Governance Summer School students and faculty at the Central Library at Leuven. From Left: Professor Doty, Lucia Halala, Ana Sofia Silveira, Sarah Brugger, Hanna Karimipour, Caroline Harvey, Saif-Ullah Ahmed, Frances Plunkett, Brooke Carrington, Julian Skoruppa, Maddie Neel, Bryant Oliver, Mills Culver, Professor Cohen.

LEUVEN – Fresh from a walking tour of this centuries-old university city (top), not to mention last night’s celebrations in the Oude Markt plaza of Belgium’s breathtaking World Cup win, students in our 2018 Georgia Law-Leuven Centre Global Governance Summer School returned to the classroom today to explore contemporary challenges in the areas of global trade and sustainable development.

They took part in four lectures on the subject:IMG_2537 (1)

1st, Dr. Jan Van Hove (left), Professor of European and International Economics at KU Leuven, presented “A Political Economic Perspective on Global Economic and Trade Governance,” focusing on the changing landscape of global trade, including disruptions to traditional trade regimes.

IMG_25492d, Georgia Law Professor Harlan G. Cohen (right), Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and one of our Center’s Faculty Co-Directors, lectured on “Global Economic and Trade Law.” His lecture highlighted the issue of governance choice in the areas of trade, finance, and international business transactions.

IMG_2558 (1)3d, Leuven Law Professor Geert Van Calster (left) spoke on “Trade Policy and Sustainable Development.” Concepts like regulatory harmonization and risk management design informed his lecture.

IMG_25654th, Dr. Axel Marx (right) concluded the day with a lecture on “Challenges of the Post-Westphalian Order.” Among the challenges to traditional public international law he discussed were non-state actors and the effectiveness of international rules and standards.

Tomorrow, students will travel to Belgium’s nearby capital, Brussels, for a day of professional development briefings at a variety of law offices.

On Belgium World Cup day, 2018 Georgia Law-Leuven Centre Global Governance Summer School begins

LEUVEN – Our 2018 Global Governance School has just begun in this centuries-old university city, where sidewalks cafes are awash in outdoor plasma screens and bedecked with Belgian flags, all in anticipation of the Red Devils’ knockout World Cup match this evening against Japan.

This is the 2d year that our University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center has presented this summer school in partnership with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies at KU Leuven, one of Europe’s premier research institutions. It continues a 4-decades-old Georgia Law tradition of summer international education in Belgium.

Today, students from Georgia Law and a range of European universities came together for three lectures designed to introduce them to the concept and practice of global governance:

1st, yours truly, Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann (left), Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and one of our Center’s Faculty Co-Directors, presented a classical account of international law. Using the example of the ongoing controversy over the Chagos Islands, I then raised questions of the challenges posed by the state-centric system at the core of that account.

2d, Dr. Leonie Reins (below), an Assistant Professor in Law at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, focused on issues related to climate change as a way to explore challenges of international environment law governance.

3d, Georgia Law Professor Harlan G. Cohen (top), Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and one of our Center’s Faculty Co-Directors, answered the question “Why Global Governance?” Concepts like the tragedy of the commons and game theory informed his presentation.

The week’s coursework resumes tomorrow, when a quartet of American and European experts will deliver lectures on trade and sustainable development.

Summer 2018 GEOs & Summer School: Georgia Law Students take off around the globe

Globe (002)_kdIn the weeks ahead, 13 rising 2L and 3L students at the University of Georgia School of Law will depart for Global Externship Overseas (GEO) and Global Externship At Home (GEA) placements all around the world. Administered by the Dean Rusk International Law Center, the GEO and GEA initiatives place Georgia Law students in externships lasting between four and twelve weeks, and offer students the opportunity to gain practical work experience in a variety of legal settings worldwide.

This summer, GEO students will undertake placements in law firms, in-house legal departments, nongovernmental organizations, and intergovernmental organizations across Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. Practice areas include: dispute resolution, corporate law, international trade law, intellectual property law, international human rights law, refugee law, cultural heritage law, and international environmental law.

This year’s GEO class includes the following students, who will complete placements in private law settings:

  • Brooke Carrington (2L) – Buse Heberer Fromm, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Brad Gerke (3L) – Ferrero S.A., Luxembourg
  • Ashley Henson (2L) – PwC, Turin, Italy
  • Maddie Neel ­(2L) – GÖRG, Cologne, Germany
  • Nicole Song (2L) – Araoz y Rueda, Madrid, Spain

Additionally, the following students will work in public interest law placements:

  • Zoe Ferguson (2L) – War Child, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Drew Hedin (2L) – Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Apia, Samoa
  • Hanna Karimipour (2L) – No Peace Without Justice, Brussels, Belgium
  • Matt Isihara (3L) – Boat People SOS, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Devon Pawloski (2L) – Documentation Centre of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Frances Plunkett (2L) – Open Society Justice Initiative, The Hague, Netherlands

Last, but certainly not least, two students will undertake GEA placements in Washington, D.C.:

  • Casey Callahan (3L) — International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Caroline Harvey (2L) – The Antiquities Coalition

Finally, during the first ten days of July, eight Georgia Law students will gather in Leuven, Belgium for the Global Governance Summer School, which the Center again co-presents with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies. Students will spend several days in classroom sessions at Leuven, and then spend two days in Brussels: one to attend a high-level policymaking event, and the other on professional development visits at a law firm, a nongovernmental organization, and an intergovernmental organization.  The group will then proceed to The Hague, Netherlands, for several days of briefings at international courts and tribunals and other cultural excursions.

Join us in wishing these students an unforgettable summer, and stay tuned for travel updates in the coming months!