Georgia Law Professors Christopher Bruner and MJ Durkee present during plenary sessions at annual National Business Law Scholars Conference

The University of Georgia School of Law was well represented at the 13th annual National Business Law Scholars Conference, with both Professor Christopher M. Bruner and Professor Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee presenting at plenary sessions:

  • Durkee (above left), who is Georgia Law’s Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor, presented at a session entitled “International Law, National Security, and Corporate Law.” Joining her on the panel were Kish Parella of Washington and Lee University School of Law, Tom C.W. Lin of Temple University Beasley School of Law, Evan Criddle of William & Mary Law School, and moderator Megan W. Shaner of University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Held at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, the conference brought together more than four dozen scholars from around the United States for two days of discussions on an array of business law topics including, in addition to international law and corporate governance, securities regulation, technology, corporate criminal law, and bankruptcy law.

Georgia Law students take part in ASIL annual meeting through Louis B. Sohn Professional Development Fellowships

Still holding warm memories of this year’s American Society of International Law Annual Meeting are the four University of Georgia School of Law students who volunteered at last month’s gathering of international lawyers in Washington, D.C. Pictured above, they are, from left, LL.M. candidates Agustina Figueroa Imfeld and Veronika Grubenko, along with 1Ls Jack Schlafly and John Carter.

Once again this year, Louis B. Sohn Professional Development Fellowships, awarded by the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, supported the students’ travel to the April 2022 conference. (Prior posts here, here, and here.)

Meeting students and professionals from many locales was rewarding, Grubenko said. “Each of them shared their knowledge of preparing and sitting for various bar exams, job search, and university experiences.” For those students who had never visited Washington before, the opportunity to visit historical landmarks, at a time when the famed cherry blossoms still were in bloom, was most welcome.

In addition to assisting with annual meeting logistics, all four attended “Privatizing International Governance,” a session chaired by Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, who is Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor here at Georgia Law.

Many other sessions also were of interest, on issues ranging from transnational discovery of e-evidence to international criminal law. In the words of Figueroa Imfeld:

“There were so many pressing issues being discussed: climate change, shareholder activism, migration, war, sanctions, digital privacy, etc. It was particularly interesting to hear from lawyers on the opposite sides of those issues, which made me rethink a lot of my own opinions about them.”

Citing in particular remarks delivered by Chile Eboe-Osuji, former President of the International Criminal Court, on the ICC’s jurisdiction over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Carter described the annual meeting as “highly engaging” and “intellectually stimulating,” adding that it “helped expose me to career paths that I can model as I move forward in law school.” Echoing him was Schlafly, who said: “Attending the ASIL conference further confirmed my desire to work in international law.”

Georgia Law Professor Amann joins panel on paths to accountability in conference cosponsored by law schools at Notre Dame and Ukrainian Catholic universities

Diane Marie Amann, who is Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, spoke yesterday at “Legal Challenges Posed by the Large-Scale Russian Invasion of Ukraine,” a conference cosponsored by the University of Notre Dame Law School and the Ukrainian Catholic University Law School.

The latter university is located in Lviv, Ukraine – also the birthplace of the late Louis B. Sohn, who was the inaugural holder of Georgia Law’s Woodruff Chair in International Law.

Professor Amann took part in a panel entitled “Prosecution,” along with Marko Milanovic, Professor of Public International Law at the University of Nottingham School of Law in the United Kingdom and Oleksandr Komarov of the Ukrainian Catholic University Law School. Moderating was Tamás Ádány, Fulbright Visiting Professor at Notre Dame Law this semester, and also Head of the Department of International Law at Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest, Hungary.

Discussed in their panel were legal frameworks and forums that hold potential for providing measures of accountability for violations of international law reported since Russia’s February 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine. These include the illegal resort to armed force – that is, the crime of aggression – as well as atrocity crimes committed once the armed conflict had begun. (Related prior posts here, here, here, and here.)

Participants in the online conference’s two other panels examined additional aspects of the Ukraine-Russia conflict; namely, challenges to the collective security structure, and the use of economic sanctions by states and international organizations.

MJ Durkee, Georgia Law Associate Dean and our Center’s Director, presents forthcoming article at William & Mary Law School International Law Workshop

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, who is Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor here at Georgia Law, took part as both a presenter and a commentator at the daylong International Law Workshop sponsored online Saturday by William & Mary Law School.

Durkee presented “The Pledging World Order,” an article forthcoming in the Yale Journal of International Law.

She also commented on a paper entitled “The Powers of Judgment: Hannah Arendt’s Moral and Legal Thought,” by David Luban, University Professor and Professor of Law and Philosophy at Georgetown Law.

Commenting on Durkee’s paper was William & Mary Law Professor Evan Criddle. Along with another William & Mary Law Professor, Nancy Combs, Criddle hosted the workshop, which featured scholars from several law faculties in the United States and in The Netherlands.

Georgia Law students named top oralists, and team finishes in world’s top 16, at Jessup International Law Moot Court

Our exceptionally talented team of University of Georgia School of Law students – 2Ls Millie Price, Courtney Robinson, Caleb Grant, James Stewart, and Alex Krupp – competed last week through to the Octofinals of one of the world’s most prestigious law tournaments, the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

2022 Georgia Law Jessup team: clockwise from upper left, Caleb Grant, James Stewart, Alex Krupp, Millie Price, Courtney Robinson

Making their achievement even sweeter, team member Robinson tied as the best overall oralist through the Advanced Rounds, while teammate Stewart was named fifth best. They and they teammates prepared written memorials and gave oral arguments as if they were appearing before the International Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the United Nations which adjudicates international law disputes.

In reaching the Octofinals, the Georgia Law team bested many other competitors, in a tournament that attracted nearly 3,500 students from about 700 law schools in 100 countries and jurisdictions. They lost in that International Round to a team from Canada’s University of Western Ontario. Winning the entire tournament was Harvard, against whom Georgia had competed last month in Jessup’s U.S. championship round.

Leading the team were 3L coach Courtney Hogan and faculty advisor/coach Anna White Howard, both themselves former Jessup advocates.

The team benefited from moots and other assistance by many members of the Georgia Law community, including: Professor Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs and Director of the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Professors Diane Marie Amann and Harlan Grant Cohen, the Center’s Faculty Co-Directors; Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge; Kellie Casey, Director of Advocacy; Anne Burnett, Foreign and International Law Librarian; Professors Nathan S. Chapman, Rob McNiff, and Lori A. Ringhand; and alums, Judge Ben Cheesbro, Ellen Clarke, Erik Chambers Myra Creighton, Amy Helmick, and Roger Grantham..

The Washington, D.C.-based International Law Students Association is Jessup’s primary host, with the law firm of White & Case sponsoring the International Rounds as well as some national competitions.

In D.C. during ASIL Annual Meeting this week, Georgia Law scholars on panels at ASIL and at Brookings Institution

Scholars at the University of Georgia School of Law are taking part on panels during this week’s 116th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, the theme of which is “Privatizing International Governance.”

The annual meeting opened yesterday and runs through Saturday – in person, in Washington, D.C., for the first time in a couple years. Indeed, the meeting is hybrid, with registration available for online viewers – including, at ASIL Academic Partners like Georgia Law, free registration for students.

Georgia Law representation includes these panels:

10:30-11:30 a.m., Friday, April 8: Privatizing International Governance

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, who is Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor (pictured above left), will serve as moderator for a panel entitled “Privatizing International Governance,” part of the meeting’s International Law Beyond the State track.

Here’s the panel description:

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights both encourage engaging business groups as partners in developing global governance agendas. Such multi-stakeholder and public-private partnerships are increasingly common and seen as essential to the future of international business regulation. The participation of affected groups brings expertise, promotes engagement and buy-in, and secures funding. At the same time, critics have raised alarms about industry capture of the UN climate change bodies, global financial governance institutions, and international public health standard-setting efforts. In response, institutions like the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization are implementing reforms to prevent mission-distortion by business groups. At a time when multilateral cooperation is at an ebb, public-private partnerships are indispensable, and yet the danger of undue influence is real. The time is therefore ripe to consider how to productively engage business groups in global governance. This roundtable of experts will discuss cutting-edge efforts by international organizations to capture the benefits of business participation while reducing the harms. The roundtable will consider access rules, existing and proposed reforms, and how past experience may offer lessons for future challenges.”

Panelists will be: Patricia Kameri-Mbote, United Nations Environment Programme; Nora Mardirossian, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment; Suzy Nikièma, Lead, Sustainable Investment, International Institute for Sustainable Development; and Nancy Thevenin, United States Council for International Business.

3-4:30 p.m., Friday, April 8: Fourth Annual International Law Review Editors-in-Chief Roundtable

Harlan G. Cohen, who is Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law (above right), will serve as a panelist in the “Fourth Annual International Law Review Editors-in-Chief Roundtable,” an online session that is part of the meeting’s Professional and Academic Development track.

Here’s the panel description:

“In recognition of the important role that student-edited international law journals play in the dissemination of international legal scholarship, the Society hosts an annual International Law Review Editor Roundtable. This Roundtable will discuss key issues around legal scholarship, including: selecting great topics that might be more relevant to the various audiences of law journals, including scholars and practitioners; how international law journals can be more effective at soliciting and/or selecting relevant pieces of international legal scholarship; and how to work with authors (who may have different cultural perspectives) to successfully publish their pieces. The Roundtable will be facilitated by international law experts as well as sitting editors-in-chief of law student-run international law journals. The Society invites current students and recent graduates interested in the process of scholarship and publication in international law to connect with their peers and distinguished scholars and practitioners.”

Joining Professor Cohen on the panel will be Colorado Law Professor James Anaya and Vanderbilt Law Professor Ingrid Wuerth.

Additionally:

11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, April 8: Eighth Annual Justice Stephen Breyer Lecture on International Law, Brookings Institution

Diane Marie Amann, who is Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, and Faculty Co-Director of our Center (above second from left), will serve on a panel to be held after Philippe Sands, a barrister and University College London law professor now visiting at Harvard Law, delivers a lecture entitled “Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide, and Ecocide: of Rights, Responsibilities, and International Order.” Other panelists will be Georgetown Law Professor Jane Stromseth and George Washington University Law Professor Sean D. Murphy. Online registration is still available here for this event.

Georgia Law professors also are taking part in ASIL leadership meetings during the annual conference, which is supported by four volunteer Georgia Law students: 1Ls John Carter and Jack Schlafly and LLMs Veronika Grubenko and Agustina Figueroa Imfeld.

Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann keynotes 2022 ESIL Research Forum in Glasgow, Scotland

No Exit at Nuremberg: The Postwar Order as Stage for 21st-Century Global Insecurity” is the title of the keynote address that University of Georgia School of Law Professor Diane Marie Amann delivered Thursday at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, thus opening the 2022 Research Forum of the European Society of International Law. Her topic dovetailed with the forum’s overall theme, “International Law an Global Security: Regulating an Illusion?”

Introducing Amann – who is Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center – was Glasgow Law Professor Christian J. Tams, Director of the Glasgow Centre for International Law & Security.

Amann framed her talk around two artefacts of the period immediately after World War II, when the 1945-46 Trial of Major War Criminals was unfolding before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany: the play that Jean-Paul Sartre entitled Huis Clos but that is known in English as Vicious Circle or No Exit; and the front page of a French newspaper that referred not only to that play, but also to food shortages, the East-West threat spurred by the advent of nuclear weapons, and the IMT trial. She then linked the military, economic, political, and human security threads these artefacts raised to current events including conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere.

Georgia Law Professor Amann post proposes considering new war crimes commission to investigate in Ukraine

Referring to Russia’s invasion last month of Ukraine, as well as the brutal attacks that followed, Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann published “Time for a New War Crimes Commission?” Friday at Articles of War, the blog of the Lieber Institute for Law & Warfare, U.S. Military Academy West Point.

Amann, who is Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, began by outlining the limitation that international law rules place on existing tribunals, such as the International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice, and European Court of Human Rights, as well as a proposed special tribunal on the crime of aggression. Having thus identified gaps in accountability, she wrote:

“Now and going forward, accountability could be enhanced by setting up a clearinghouse for gathering, cataloging, and preserving evidence, with an aim to eventual prosecutions in multiple national, regional, and international systems. The idea is not new; indeed, a useful model may be found in a Second World War-era institution known as the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC).”

Her post proceeded to sketch the history of this 1943-1948 commission, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. She concluded by calling for a body that would be empowered to carry out the UNWCC’s “core function”:

“specifically, the conduct of investigations aimed at preserving evidence and facilitating criminal prosecutions of suspects at all levels, for all potential offenses, and before any number of national, regional, and international systems willing and able to afford the persons they accuse a full and fair trial.”

The full Articles of War post is here.

Dean Rusk International Law Center hosts “International Law and the Ukraine-Russia Conflict,” featuring Georgia Law Professors Amann, Cohen, and Durkee

Nearly a hundred members of the University of Georgia School of Law community took part Wednesday in “International Law and the Ukraine-Russia Conflict,” a forum hosted by our Dean Rusk International Law Center and presented by three international law experts on the law school’s faculty.

The armed conflict began on February 24, 2022, when Russian military troops invaded the neighboring state of Ukraine, entering the latter country at points on its northern, eastern, and southern borders. At this writing just a week later, thousands of persons, civilians and combatants alike, reportedly had been killed, and, according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, more than a million Ukrainians had been forcibly displaced.

At Wednesday’s forum, each of the three Georgia Law professors first offered a brief overview of a particular aspect of the armed conflict:

  • Our Center’s Director, Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, who is also Associate Dean for International Programs and Allen Post Professor, began by outlining the international rules that have outlawed aggressive war – that is, one country’s unjustified invasion of another – since the adoption of the 1945 Charter of the United Nations. She explained why reasons that Russia has put forward do not constitute legally valid justifications for the invasion, and further emphasized the threat that Russia’s actions place on the international rules-based order that came into being after the Allied victory in World War II. In so doing, Durkee cited a UN General Assembly resolution, adopted Wednesday by a huge majority of votes, which condemned Russia’s actions as violative of this order.
  • Next came Harlan Grant Cohen, who is Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and one of our Center’s 2 Faculty Co-Directors. Cohen focused on economic sanctions that have been levied against Russia in the last week, by individual countries including the United States and also by international organizations including the European Union. While noting that these types of economic actions had been developed in response to Iran’s nuclear program, Cohen stressed that the extent and impact of the sanctions already imposed against Russia is unprecedented.
  • Then followed our Center’s other Faculty Co-Director, Diane Marie Amann, who is also Regents’ Professor of International Law and Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law. She addressed international humanitarian law, the body of law concerned with the ways that armies and armed groups actually conduct the war. She underscored that this body of law concerns itself with all sides of the conflict, regardless of who started the conflict: fighters on either side may be found liable for violations, and thus charged with war crimes. Amann concluded with a look at forums already engaged to review legal issues arising out of the war, among them the European Court of Human Rights, International Criminal Court, and International Court of Justice.

The forum concluded with a lively and wide-ranging question-and-answer period.

Georgia Law Professor Cohen publishes introduction to AJIL Unbound symposium

Harlan Grant 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, published “Introduction to the Symposium on Gregory Shaffer, ‘Governing the Interface of U.S.-China Trade Relations'” in 116 AJIL Unbound 38 (2022).

Professor Cohen also helped organize and edit the symposium, in which numerous scholars offer commentary on a 2021 American Journal of International Law article by Shaffer, who is Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California-Irvine, and President-Elect of the American Society of International Law.