Judge Joan Donoghue, Sibley Lecturer at Georgia Law, elected President of International Court of Justice

The Honorable Joan E. Donoghue, the American judge on the International Court of Justice, today was elected President of the International Court of Justice, the Hague-based institution known colloquially as the World Court.

She is the 3d American to serve a term as President, following Green H. Hackworth (1955-58) and Stephen M. Schwebel (1997-2000), and also the 2d woman, following Dame Rosalyn Higgins of the United Kingdom (2006-09).

We at the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center are pleased to welcome this news, not least because of Judge Donoghue’s generosity over the years toward our law school community:

  • In April 2012, a little more than a year before her initial election to the ICJ, Donoghue visited Georgia Law’s Athens campus to deliver our 108th Sibley Lecture. Her talk, entitled “The Role of the World Court Today,” (video) outlined the court’s history as the judicial organ of the United Nations, as well as the nature and evolution of its jurisdiction over disputes between nation-states and certain advisory matters. The text was published at 47 Georgia Law Review 181 (2012).
  • On occasions thereafter, as part of our Global Governance Summer School, the judge and her staff kindly hosted our students as they received a tour of the court’s seat, the Peace Palace, as well as a briefing on the court’s work.

As explained at the ICJ website:

“The President presides at all meetings of the Court; he/she directs its work and supervises its administration, with the assistance of a Budgetary and Administrative Committee and various other committees, all composed of Members of the Court. During judicial deliberations, the President has a casting vote in the event of votes being equally tied.”

Before joining the ICJ, Donoghue was Principal Deputy Legal Adviser in the U.S. Department of State, a position in which her duties included advising the Secretary of State and other officials on all aspects of international law. She’d practiced at State since 1984, with a few breaks to serve as Deputy General Counsel for the U.S. Department of the Treasury and General Counsel for Freddie Mac. She holds bachelor’s and law degrees from the Santa Cruz and Berkeley campuses, respectively, of the University of California.

Having been elected President by a vote of her peers on the court, Judge Donoghue will serve a 3-year term – as will her colleague who was elected Vice-President, Judge Kirill Gevorgian of the Russian Federation.

Students in Georgia Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic win Board of Immigration Appeals case on behalf of asylum-seeker from Russia

Four students in the University of Georgia School of Law Appellate Litigation Clinic have just secured asylum relief for a Russian client, and in so doing earned hands-on experience in practicing law in today’s interconnected world.

The client, Rim Iakovlev, is a Jehovah’s Witness who had fled to the United States after a ruling by the Russian Supreme Court outlawed his religion. A U.S. immigration judge granted his petition for asylum. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security appealed. It was at this point that the Board of Immigration Appeals, through its pro bono project, appointed Georgia Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic to represent asylum-seeker Iakovlev. The Board is an administrative appellate agency within the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Department of Justice.

Drafting the brief in the case, under supervision by Professor Thomas V. Burch, Director of the Appellate Litigation Clinic, were four Georgia Law students: 3Ls Wade H. Barron, C. Daniel Lockaby, and Sarah A. Quattrocchi, and 2L Addison Smith. Their brief stressed consistencies in the accounts given by Iakovlev and his wife, and also refuted the DHS contention that the asylum-seeker was obliged to present a letter from his congregation attesting to his status as a Jehovah’s Witness.

Upon reading the parties’ briefs, the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the immigration judge’s decision to grant Iakovlev’s petition for asylum. DHS chose not to appeal the Board’s decision, so that Iakovlev was released from detention last week.

Russian law students & practitioners invited to free webinar on LL.M. study in the United States

1Law students and lawyers in Russia are invited to take part in a free webinar regarding postgraduate legal study in the United States. It’s set for 17:00 (UTC+3, Moscow time) on Wednesday, November 7, and will focus on “Understanding the LL.M. Application Process and the LL.M. experience at U.S. Law Schools.”

Hosted by EducationUSA Russia, the free webinar will feature Laura Tate Kagel, our Center’s Associate Director of International Professional Education. Joining her will be  Valeria Subocheva Smith, who completed her LL.M. degree at Georgia Law in 2018.  Valeria will share her experiences and answer questions from prospective applicants.

No registration is necessary. Details on how to join the webinar, here. Details about Georgia Law’s LL.M. degree here.