MJ Durkee, Georgia Law Associate Dean and our Center’s Director, contributes to AJIL Unbound symposium issue


Our Center’s Director, Associate Dean Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, has contributed an essay in the newest symposium issue, which she edited, of American Journal of International Law Unbound.

Entitled “Introduction to the Symposium on Frédéric Mégret, “Are There ‘Inherently Sovereign Functions’ in International Law?”, the essay appears at 115 American Journal of International Law Unbound 299 (2021) and is available online at the Cambridge University Press site. It opens a symposium exploring an article just published in the American Journal of International Law by McGill University Law Professor Frédéric Mégret. Also contributing to the symposium are Cambridge Law Professor Eyal Benvenisti, Collège de France Professor Samantha Besson, Columbia Political Science Professor Jean L. Cohen, Nottingham Law Professor Nigel D. White, and California-Berkeley Political Science Professor Daniel Lee.

In addition to leading the Dean Rusk International Law Center, Durkee is Associate Dean for International Programs and the Allen Post Professor here at the University of Georgia School of Law. She is on the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law and is the supervising editor of AJIL Unbound. Both are publications of the American Society of International Law, for which Durkee serves as an Executive Council member and Vice Chair of the International Legal Theory Interest Group.

“Stockholm Declaration at 50,” October 8 Georgia Law journal conference, will feature experts in international environmental and human rights law

“The 1972 Stockholm Declaration at 50: Reflecting on a Half-Century of International Environmental Law” is the title of the daylong conference to be hosted Friday, October 8, 2021, by the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, with additional cosponsors including the American Society of International Law.

As described in the concept note:

The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment produced the “Stockholm Declaration,” an environmental manifesto that forcefully declared a human right to environmental health and birthed the field of modern international environmental law. In celebration of its 50th anniversary volume, the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law is convening a symposium to reflect on the first 50 years of international environmental law and the lessons this history may hold for the future.

The symposium will include a keynote address by Dinah L. Shelton, Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law Emeritus at George Washington University School of Law whose distinguished service in areas of human rights and environmental law includes President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Also featured will be scholars and practitioners from around the world, taking part in panel discussions and breakout sessions: on the rights-based approach to environmental protection; on anti-racism, decolonization, and environmental protection; and on the future of international environmental law. As indicated in the schedule below, the panels reflect themes in Principle 1 of the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, which states in full:

“Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations. In this respect, policies promoting or perpetuating apartheid, racial segregation, discrimination, colonial and other forms of oppression and foreign domination stand condemned and must be eliminated.”

The conference will take place on Zoom, though students and a limited number of registrants may attend in person. Details and registration here. The full schedule follows:

Welcome and Introduction by Georgia Law’s Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, Dean, MJ Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor, 9 a.m.

Panel 1: The Rights-Based Approach to Environmental Protection, 9:10 a.m. (followed by breakout session at 10:25 a.m.)

Recalling Principle 1’s statement that humankind “has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being,” the following panelists will explore how and in what contexts the Stockholm Declaration’s rights-based approach to environmental protection is useful, as well as limitations of this approach:

  • Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation
  • Tyler Giannini, Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Harvard Human Rights Program and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law
  • Kate Mackintosh, Executive Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA Law
  • Katie O’Bryan, Lecturer, Monash University, Australia
  • Moderating will be Diane Marie Amann, Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law

Panel 2: Anti-Racism, Decolonization, and Environmental Protection, 10:50 a.m. (followed by breakout session at 12:05 p.m.)

Recalling Principle 1’s statement that “policies promoting or perpetuating apartheid, racial segregation, discrimination, colonial and other forms of oppression and foreign domination stand condemned and must be eliminated,” the following panelists will explore how international environmental law addresses, or fails to address, environmental racism:

  • Sumudu Anopama Atapattu, Director of Research Centers and Senior Lecturer at Wisconsin Law
  • Robin Bronen, Executive Director of the Alaska Institute for Justice
  • Sarah Riley Case, Boulton Junior Fellow at McGill University Faculty of Law in Canada
  • Usha Natarajan, Edward W. Said Fellow at Columbia University
  • Moderating will be Harlan G. Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law

Panel 3: International Environmental Law’s Future, 1 p.m. (followed by breakout session at 2:15 p.m.)

Recalling Principle 1’s statement that humankind “bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations,” the following panelists will explore what are the successes and failures of the last 50 years of environmental law, as well as the key international environmental law challenges for the next 50 years:

  • Rebecca M. Bratspies, Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Environmental Reform at CUNY Law
  • Jutta Brunnée, Dean, University Professor, and James Marshall Tory Dean’s Chair at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in Canada
  • Lakshman D. Guruswamy, Nicholas Doman Professor of International Environmental Law at Colorado Law
  • Cymie Payne, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Ecology and the School of Law, Rutgers University
  • Moderating will be MJ Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor at Georgia Law

Introduction of keynote by Adam D. Orford, Assistant Professor at Georgia Law, followed by keynote address, entitled “Stockholm Plus 50: Glass Half Full, Half Empty, or Shattered?” and delivered by Dinah L. Shelton, Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law Emeritus at George Washington University School of Law, 2:40 p.m.

Closing remarks by Kimberlee Styple, Editor-in-Chief of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, 3:15 p.m.

Besides ASIL, many units of the University of Georgia are cosponsoring this event. They include the International Law Society, Environmental Law Association, Georgia Initiative for Climate & Society, Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, School of Public & International Affairs, Center for International Trade & Security, Global Health Institute of the College of Public Health, School of Social Work, and College of Environment & Design.

Registration and details on the program and accommodations here.

Georgia Law Professor Thomas Kadri and McGill Law Professor Ignacio Cofone publish transnational analysis of cy près settlements in privacy class actions

University of Georgia School of Law Professor Thomas Kadri (above left) and McGill University Faculty of Law Professor Ignacio Cofone (above right) have published a chapter exploring a controversial procedural mechanism in privacy class actions.

The chapter, entitled “Cy Près Settlements in Privacy Class Actions,” was first featured in Class Actions in Privacy Law, a 2020 Routledge volume that Cofone edited. A Spanish translation recently was published, under the title “Acuerdos Cy Près en Acciones de Clase sobre Privacidad,” in 2 Revista Jurídica Austral 33 (2021).

Here’s the abstract for this chapter by Kadri and Cofone, as set out at SSRN:

This essay considers the potential for using cy près settlements in privacy class actions. These settlements are a procedural mechanism to overcome distribution challenges in class actions. When it is too burdensome to prove individual claims or too costly to distribute damages to class members, courts on occasions award damages to a charity or non-profit organization involved in work serving the class members’ interests. These controversial settlements have been gaining attention in various legal systems. The U.S. Supreme Court recently considered their propriety in Frank v. Gaos, while courts in Canada and several Latin American countries have been experimenting with cy près as well. The essay uses these cases to explore how this procedural mechanism can be particularly useful in privacy class actions. While cy près settlements require proper judicial supervision to prevent abuse, the chapter concludes that they can help to deter privacy invasions, enforce privacy laws, and provide plaintiffs with some measure of indirect relief when those laws are violated.

Welcoming Visiting Scholar Brianne McGonigle Leyh, Associate Professor at Netherlands’ Utrecht University

We at the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center are pleased to welcome Dr. Brianne McGonigle Leyh, a widely published expert in human rights law and global justice, with a focus on victims’ rights, transitional justice, social justice, and the documentation of serious crimes, as a Visiting Scholar. She joins us from Utrecht University School of Law in the Netherlands, where she is an Associate Professor. At Utrecht she is also a member of the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights, from which earned her Ph.D. in Law in 2011, the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law & Administration of Justice, and the Utrecht Youth Academy, as well as Education Coordinator of the Utrecht Centre for Global Challenges.

Serving as her Georgia Law faculty sponsor is Diane Marie Amann, who is Regents’ Professor of International Law, Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, and a Faculty Co-Director of our Center.

On August 23, as part of her monthlong visit, Professor McGonigle Leyh will give a presentation on her current research, “The Avengers of International Criminal Law: The Role of Civil Society Actors in Advancing Accountability Efforts for Serious International Crimes.” Her focus is on the effect that strategic litigation – that is, universal jurisdiction cases under way in national systems in Germany, Switzerland, Finland, the Netherlands, and France – will have on international criminal justice. The research forms part of a larger project entitled “Networking Justice: Strengthening Accountability for Serious International Crimes.”

In addition to her doctorate, she holds a J.D. cum laude and an M.A. in International Relations from American University in Washington, D.C., as well as a B.A. magna cum laude in Genocide Studies & Human Rights from Boston University. Her many publications include a monograph, Procedural Justice? Victim Participation in International Criminal Proceedings (Intersentia 2011), several edited volumes, and dozens of law review articles. Among her professional affiliations, she is a Senior Peace Fellow with the Public International Law & Policy Group, sits on the advisory boards of the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and Pro Bono Connect, and is an Executive Editor of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights.

Professor McGonigle Leyh’s visit continues our Center’s long tradition of hosting, for brief or extended stays, scholars and researchers whose work touches on issues of international, comparative, or transnational law. Details and an online application to become a visiting scholar here.

Georgia Law Professor Harlan G. Cohen awarded Jackson Prize for his JIEL article “Nations and Markets”

The world’s leading international economic law publication has awarded its top scholarship honor to Harlan G. Cohen, 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.

Cohen is the winner of the 2020 John H. Jackson Prize, bestowed by the Board of Editors of the Journal of International Economic Law, for his article “Nations and Markets” (prior posts).

As stated on the website of this Oxford University Press journal, the prize is named after its founding editor, John Howard Jackson (1932-2015), who, in the course of his career teaching law at Georgetown, Michigan, and Berkeley, kept “a keen eye on new developments and novel systemic interactions in the field beyond the four corners” of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization. With an aim to “underlining the importance of construing international economic law in this broader, ever changing perspective,” the Jackson Prize “is awarded annually to the article or other contribution in the JIEL that most significantly breaks new ground and adds new insights to the study and understanding of international economic law, especially in fields beyond a self-contained analysis of WTO law.”

Published in December 2020, Cohen’s “Nations and Markets” appears in volume 23, issue 4, of the peer-reviewed journal, at pages 793-815, and is available online here. Here’s the abstract:

Economics and security seem increasingly intertwined. Citing national security, states subject foreign investments to new scrutiny, even unwinding mergers. The provision of 5G has become a diplomatic battleground—Huawei at its center. Meanwhile, states invoke national security to excuse trade wars. The USA invoked the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade national security exception to impose steel and aluminum tariffs, threatening more on automotive parts. Russia invoked that provision to justify its blockade of Ukraine, as did Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to excuse theirs of Qatar. And with the spread of COVID-19, states are invoking national security to scrutinize supply lines. Multiplying daily, such stories have led some observers to dub the era one of geoeconomics. Nonetheless, these developments remain difficult to judge, and the relationship between economics and national security remains confused and slippery. The essay seeks clarity in the deeper logic of these labels, revealing a fundamental choice between the logics of markets and the logics of state. Whether invoked to ‘secure’ borders, privacy, health, the environment, or jobs, ‘national security’ is a claim about the proper location of policymaking. Appeals to economics, with their emphasis on global welfare and global person-to-person relationships, are such claims as well. Resolving disputes, this essay argues, requires recognizing these root choices.

Georgia Law Professor Bruner’s chapter on comparative corporate governance published in new Research Handbook

Christopher M. Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has contributed a chapter, “Methods of Comparative Corporate Governance,” to a just-published academic handbook on the subject.

Bruner’s chapter appears in Research Handbook on Comparative Corporate Governance. Edited by Afra Afsharipour, Professor of Law and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of California, Davis, School of Law, and Martin Gelter, Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, the volume was issued by Edward Elgar Publishing.

Here’s the abstract for Professor Bruner’s chapter, a version which is available at SSRN:

Methodology has not received sufficient attention in the field of comparative law, and this shortcoming is perhaps even more significant in the specific field of comparative corporate governance, where the general comparative legal literature that does exist on the subject tends to be ignored. While there is assuredly no single, optimal comparative method, it remains critically important for scholars to evaluate whether the approach undertaken is fit for purpose – that is, whether the comparative method adopted is in fact capable of illuminating the subject of inquiry.

This chapter highlights some significant methodological choices and challenges encountered in comparative corporate governance. Part II describes differing comparative postures that one might adopt, emphasizing similarity or difference, respectively – an important threshold consideration, in so far as one often finds what one sets out to find, without recognizing the degree to which such predispositions might cloud the analysis and preclude a fuller account. Part III examines how the law and economics movement, in particular, has affected comparative analysis of corporate governance, critiquing its (implicit) methodology and assessing its impacts. Part IV, then, discusses various choices in research design, emphasizing how the alternatives are impacted by the foregoing dynamics. Part V briefly concludes, calling for methodological self-awareness and candid acknowledgment of the limits of what various comparative approaches to corporate governance can deliver.

Georgia Law Professor Ringhand speaks on “The Shakedown” at annual meeting of International Society of Public Law

Lori A. Ringhand, J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law and Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor here at the University of Georgia School of Law, gave a talk entitled “The Shakedown” last Wednesday at the annual conference of the International Society of Public Law.

Also known as ICON•S, the Society has members from all around the globe, in all fields of law and beyond to the humanities and social sciences, and at all levels of seniority, from students to emeritus faculty.

Ringhand, an Election Law expert and immediate past Interim Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center, took part in a panel on “Foreign Interference, Elections, and Democratic Speech: Comparative Approaches to a Global Challenge.”

Chairing the panel at the online ICON•S conference was Yasmin Dawood of the University of Toronto; she also spoke on “Combatting Foreign Election Interference: Canada’s Electoral Ecosystem Approach to Disinformation and Cyber Threats.” The panel also included: Jacob Eisler, Southampton Law School, on “Strangers in Strange Lands: Constitutional Formalities, Power Realities, and Comparative Anglophone Responses to Foreign Election Meddling”; Andrew Geddis, University of Otago, on “Islands in the Storm? Responses to Foreign Election Interference in Australia and New Zealand”; and Irène Couzigou, University of Aberdeen, on “The Limits of Law? The Multifaceted Approach of the French Legislation to Tackle Foreign Election Interference through Digital Disinformation.”

Georgia Law Professor Amann presents on “Women and Nuremberg-Tokyo Era” in Siracusa Institute summer session

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“History of International Criminal Law” was the topic on which I was honored to present Wednesday alongside two eminent historians. Our session formed part of “Human Rights, Criminal Justice and International Law,” the 20th Specialization Course in International Criminal Law for Young Penalists organized by the Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, under the direction of Professor William A. Schabas.

This annual summer course typically takes place on the island of Ortigia, the ancient quarter of Siracusa, a Sicilian city founded 2,700 years ago. This year found it online because of the pandemic. That happenstance enabled well over a hundred persons from around the world to attend.

My panel participants and I focused on a founding moment of international criminal law; specifically, the post-Wold War II international criminal courts and tribunals established at Nuremberg, Germany, Tokyo, Japan, and other sites in Europe and Asia.

First, Francine Hirsch, the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (above center) presented “Nuremberg at 75: Revisiting the History of the International Military Tribunal and Its Lessons.” Drawing from her book Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A New History of the International Military Tribunal After World War II (Oxford University Press 2020), she argued that the participation of the Soviet Union was essential to what was achieved at Nuremberg.

Next, Kerstin von Lingen (above left), Professor of Contemporary History at the Department for Contemporary History of the University of Vienna, Austria, addressed “Crimes Against Humanity: A Neglected Concept within the Asian War Crimes Trials?” Her careful tracing of the origins of the ethical concept and legal doctrine of crimes against humanity talk drew upon her extensive research and publications related to the postwar emergence of international criminal justice in Europe and Asia – among these is her contribution and co-editorship of The Tokyo Tribunal: Perspectives on Law, History and Memory (Torkel Apsahl 2020), a Nuremberg Academy anthology to which I also contributed.

Yours truly, Diane Marie Amann (above right), Regents’ Professor of International Law at the University of Georgia School of Law, then discussed “Women and the Nuremberg-Tokyo Era.” Featured in my talk were the lawyers and other women professionals who are the subjects of my ongoing research, and about whom I have published here, here, and here.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann blog)

Associate Dean MJ Durkee’s “Interpretive Entrepreneurs” in Virginia Law Review

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs and Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has published “Interpretive Entrepreneurs” in 107 Virginia Law Review 431 (2021).

Here’s the abstract of this latest publication by Durkee, who also holds the title of Allen Post Professor of Law:

Private actors interpret legal norms, a phenomenon I call “interpretive entrepreneurship.” The phenomenon is particularly significant in the international context, where many disputes are not subject to judicial resolution, and there is no official system of precedent. Interpretation can affect the meaning of laws over time. For this reason, it can be a form of “post hoc” international lawmaking, worth studying alongside other forms of international lobbying and norm entrepreneurship by private actors. The Article identifies and describes the phenomenon through a series of case studies that show how, why, and by whom it unfolds. The examples focus on entrepreneurial activity by business actors and cast a wide net, examining aircraft finance, space mining, modern slavery, and investment law. As a matter of theory, this process-based account suggests that international legal interpretation involves contests for meaning among diverse groups of actors, giving credence to critical and constructivist views of international legal interpretation. As a practical matter, the case studies show that interpretive entrepreneurship is an influence tool and a driver of legal change.

The article is available both at SSRN and at the Virginia Law Review website.

Georgia Law’s Diane Marie Amann now Regents’ Professor of International Law

Georgia Law faculty member Diane Marie Amann is now Regents’ Professor of International Law, as her November 2020 appointment to the post by the Board of Regents, University System of Georgia, takes effect today.

She becomes the third law professor and seventh woman to have earned this honor since it was instituted in 1947. In the words of the university:

“Regents’ Professorships are bestowed by the Board of Regents on truly distinguished faculty of the University of Georgia whose scholarship or creative activity is recognized both nationally and internationally as innovative and pace-setting.”

Amann (prior posts) joined the faculty at the University of Georgia School of Law in 2011, taking up the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law previously by Professor Louis B. Sohn and Professor Daniel Bodansky. From 2015 to 2017 she was the law school’s Associate Dean for International Programs & Strategic Initiatives, a position that included directing the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and she has served since 2017 as a Faculty Co-Director of the Center. She is also a Professor (by courtesy) of International Affairs, University of Georgia School of Public & International Affairs, and an Affiliated Faculty Member of the University of Georgia African Studies Institute.

Under contract with Oxford University Press, Amann is writing what will be the first book on the roles of women professionals at the 1945-46 war crimes trial before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. As depicted above and available in full on YouTube (59:10), she presented on this research in “Nuremberg Women,” one of the four University of Georgia Charter Lectures that the 2020-21 Regents’ Professors delivered online this past April.

Amann’s expertise in international law includes, as indicated by her more than eighty publications, not only international legal history but also international criminal law and child rights. She served as International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s Special Adviser on Children in and affected by Armed Conflict from December 2012 to June 2021, assisting in the preparation, publication, and dissemination of the 2016 ICC OTP Policy on Children.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Counsellor and former Vice President of the American Society of International Law, Amann was Professor of Law, Martin Luther King Jr. Hall Research Scholar, and Director of the California International Law Center at the University of California-Davis, School of Law. She has been a Visiting Professor, Professeur invitée, or Fellow at Northwestern Pritzker University School of Law, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Los Angeles, Irish Centre for Human Rights at National University of Ireland-Galway, Université de Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne), Max Planck Institute Luxembourg, and University of Southern California Shoah Foundation.