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International Update

Indian Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal with Dean Frederick M. Lawrence

Claire Duggan

Indian Minister of Science and Technology Visits GW

For three years, GW Law’s India Project, a major initiative in international and comparative law, has focused on intellectual property law in India. Focus areas include science, technology, and innovation. In April, the Law School welcomed Indian Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal, who addressed students and faculty on a range of issues from judicial review and constitutionalism in India to the recent U.S.-India agreement on nuclear technology.

Johns Hopkins professor Ruth Wedgwood and former U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes David Scheffer, now a professor at Northwestern University Law School, participate in a panel on the United States and the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Claire Duggan


International Law Week Draws Faculty Experts

The International Law Society, one of the Law School’s largest and most active student groups, hosted International Law Week this spring. Events included panels on substantive legal issues as well as a session on careers in international law. One of the opening events was a panel examining the difficult relationship between the United States and the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The week ended with a reception at the Embassy of Australia.

Human Rights Law Society members 3L Heather Carney (left) and Rita Siemion, JD ’06, with Professor Ralph G. Steinhardt (second from left) and luncheon speaker Eric Biel, deputy director of Human Rights First


Students Sponsor Conference on Poverty and Human Rights

In February, GW Law student groups sponsored a two-day Conference on Poverty and Human Rights. Students, faculty members, practitioners, and advocates participated in panels including “Bullets, Starvation, and the Limits of Law: An Update on Sudan” and “Does Corporate Law Have Anything to Do with Poverty Reduction?” A film series also was part of the event.

Dean Frederick M. Lawrence, ICJ President Rosalyn Higgins, and ICJ Judge and Professor Emeritus Thomas Buergenthal at the ASIL Centennial meeting.

(Above) Professor Sean Murphy and U.S. State Department Legal Adviser John B. Bellinger.

Claire Duggan


Visitors Give Insight Into International Courts and Tribunals

International Court of Justice Judge and Professor Emeritus Thomas Buergenthal visited the Law School in March to discuss the growing docket of cases at the ICJ. Later that month, ICJ President Rosalyn Higgins presented a keynote address at the American Society of International Law’s Centennial Annual Meeting; Higgins and Buergenthal were introduced at the event by Dean Frederick M. Lawrence. In May, U.S. Department of State Legal Adviser John B. Bellinger gave the keynote address at a conference on the United States’ relationship with international courts and tribunals held at the Law School and co-sponsored by New York University’s Center on International Cooperation. In addition to several panels and addresses, the conference unveiled a landmark poll by World Public Opinion on American attitudes toward international tribunals.

Events Focus on China

Professor Donald Clarke, NYU Law Professor Jerome Cohen, Judge Hui-Fang Huang, LLM ’06, and guest discuss Chinese legal reform after Cohen's enrichment lecture.

Claire Duggan

In the spring, three events put China in the spotlight at GW Law. In March, the East Asian Law Students Association hosted Simon Luk, partner and chairman at Heller Ehrman’s Hong Kong office. Luk discussed private equity in China and examined recent changes in Chinese law on raising capital. In April, New York University Law Professor Jerome Cohen was the featured speaker at an Enrichment Lecture Series event on Chinese legal reform. And, as part of the Law School’s International Law Colloquium, American University Washington College of Law Professor Teemu Ruskola presented “American Legal Imperialism in China: From the Opium War to the WTO” in April.

The Legacy of Louis B. Sohn

Professor Louis B. Sohn, a prominent international law scholar who helped draft the United Nations charter and who fostered awareness and action in human rights, passed away June 7 in Falls Church, Va. He was 92. In addition to serving the GW Law community, he taught at Harvard University and the University of Georgia; several of his students went on to become ambassadors to the UN.

Born in Ukraine, Sohn came to the United States from Poland shortly before the Nazi invasion. Among his many accomplishments, Sohn worked on the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment and helped establish the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He was instrumental in the formation of the Law of the Sea Convention and the Law of the Sea Tribunal, strongly advocating international dispute settlement. Sohn was a member of the U.S. Institute of Peace, served as chairman of the international law section of the American Bar Association, and was a past president of the American Society of International Law. In 2003, Sohn was the inaugural recipient of the International Environmental Law Award from the Center for International Environmental Law.

Sohn is survived by his wife of 65 years, Betty Mayo Sohn.

“Generations of international lawyers have stood on the shoulders of this gigantic small man,” says Professor Ralph Steinhardt. “He was in many ways the dean of what Oscar Schachter once called ‘the invisible college of international lawyers,’ an inspiring teacher and colleague with a seemingly endless storehouse of powerful ideas across a staggering variety of fields.”