International and Comparative Law Program Newsletter

Fall 2016

Human Rights Spotlight Series

The UCLA School of Law International and Comparative Law Program (ICLP) is hosting a Human Rights Spotlight Series in 2016-17, inviting human rights practitioners, activists and academics to campus to address a variety of critical topics. The series began in August with a Q-and-A featuring Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. Mehrangiz Kar, the prominent Iranian human rights activist, lawyer and author of Crossing the Red Line: The Struggle for Human Rights in Iran, was featured in October. Click here for more info on ICLP and Human Rights Spotlight Series events.

Save the Date - "Obama's Drone Legacy"


On Friday, October 21, the International and Comparative Law Program will host "Obama’s Drone Legacy." The conference will consider whether the CIA's and Pentagon's expanded use of drones for surveillance and targeting under President Obama will be one of the enduring foreign policy and national security legacies of the Obama administration. Speakers include retired four-star U.S. Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark; Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic; Marty Lederman, Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center; Kate Martin, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; Deborah Pearlstein, Associate Professor of Law, Cardozo Law School; and Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU National Security Project.






International and Comparative Law Specialization for JD Students

The 2015-2016 academic year marked the launch of UCLA Law's J.D. specialization in International and Comparative Law (ICL), and the school was proud to graduate its first cohort of 13 ICL-specialized J.D.s in May. The specialization has drawn intense interest and we now have 40 students enrolled in the program. Our LL.M. specialization in International and Comparative Law remains as popular as ever, with seven graduates in May 2016. Separately, the International and Comparative Law Program launched its first course designed for 1Ls, Methods and Theories in International and Comparative Law. Taught by Professor Maximo Langer, this course invited many members of our faculty to discuss their rich and varied expertise with our 1L students. The course was an overwhelming success, with enthusiastic 1Ls enjoying the chance to connect with international and comparative law faculty at such an early stage of their law school careers. The course is offered again this year and it will become a staple of the 1L curriculum.

UCLA Transnational Program on Criminal Justice Tackles the Relationship Between Prosecutors and Democracy

Prosecutors are among the most powerful actors of criminal justice systems around the world. This project aims to produce knowledge and analysis about what is and should be the relationship between prosecutors and democracy in the United States and beyond. In early 2016, Professor Maximo Langer, director of the Transnational Program on Criminal Justice, and Stanford Law School Professor David Sklansky convened a workshop at UCLA featuring a group of first-rank scholars who discussed the relationship between prosecutors and democracy. The resulting scholarship will be published in Prosecutors and Democracy: A Cross-National Study (Maximo Langer and David Alan Sklansky eds., Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017).

The "Dossier Project" on Latin American Criminal Justice

The Transnational Program on Criminal Justice is engaged in producing knowledge that can be used by researchers and policy-makers about how Latin American criminal justice systems actually work. Based on an original methodology for the region that gathers data directly from court files on a representative set of randomly selected cases, the project examines the demographic profiles of victims and defendants in Latin American criminal proceedings; the quality of police investigations and to what extent they are tested by prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges; how cases are disposed by Latin American criminal justice systems; the costs of criminal justice, and more.


The initial set of jurisdictions to be studied include Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. UCLA Law has brought together a network of researchers in Latin America, including participants from the School of Law of CIDE in Mexico and the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero in Argentina, to undertake the project. The UCLA Transnational Program on Criminal Justice, together with the institutions mentioned above and the Mexican think tank Mexico Evalua, will release the first report of the project based on its study of the State of Mexico, Mexico, in 2016.

Southern California International Law Scholars Workshop

The third Southern California International Law Scholars (SCILS) Workshop was held at UC Irvine in February 2016. The purpose of the workshop is to discuss works-in-progress, and several UCLA faculty participated as both paper authors and discussants. The fourth SCILS Workshop will be held at USC Gould School of Law on February 10, 2017. UCLA Law Professors Asli Bâli, Maximo Langer, Kal Raustiala, and Richard Steinberg remain on the SCILS Steering Committee.

International Humanitarian Law Moot Court Competitions


UCLA Law students competed in two prestigious international moot competitions in Spring 2016, the Jean-Pictet Competition in International Humanitarian Law and the Clara Barton International Humanitarian Law Competition. Both simulation-based competitions require students to apply international humanitarian law (IHL) to complex situations drawn from real-life challenges in this rapidly evolving area of law. The teams were evaluated on their theoretical knowledge and practical understanding of IHL, and their ability to use the law in the context of the broader international legal and political order. After months of intense preparation, in late March 2016, the Jean-Pictet team, comprised of 2Ls Cristian Gonzalez, Emily Michael and Sydney Sherman, travelled to Evian-les-Bains, France, to compete against 48 student teams from around the world. In early March 2016 the Clara Barton team, comprised of 2Ls Isaac Brown, Shirin Tavakoli and Chris Young, travelled to Seattle to compete against student teams from 15 other law schools and military academies from around the United States and Canada. The team was awarded a prize for “Excellence in Research and Written Advocacy.”

International Human Rights Clinic Expands

UCLA Law's International Human Rights Clinic, which gives students the opportunity to engage in impactful human rights work for a variety of clients, is expanding this year to take on projects in both the Fall and Spring semesters. For the clinic's domestic project in Spring 2016, students worked with a coalition of immigrants' rights organizations to prepare a report on human rights violations and impacts on individuals, families and communities stemming from the collaboration between the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The report —"Human Rights Concerns and Violations Arising from the Entanglement of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department with Federal Civil Immigration Enforcement" — is scheduled for release in Fall 2016.
For the clinic's international project, students provided comprehensive legal research and analysis to the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance for his report to the UN Human Rights Council. View the report. (Title: Special Rapporteur’s 2016 Report on Xenophobia to the UN Human Rights Council)


In Fall 2016 the students will help represent a Honduras citizen whose claims of unconstitutional detention, due process and land rights violations will go before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Students will work in conjunction with attorneys in the human rights division of Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación (Team for Reflection, Research and Communication – ERIC) of Honduras, a social justice organization of the Jesuits of Central America, to identify possible violations of the American Convention of Human Rights in the case. Students will also work on a project connected to the rights of indigenous peoples in support of the Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras – COPINH).
In addition, students will work with inmates at the California Institute for Women and advocates to produce a human rights-based memorandum of recommendations for reentry policy reform. The recommendations will be submitted to the L.A. Mayor's Office of Reentry.

International Humanitarian Law with the American Red Cross


On February 20, 2016, the International and Comparative Law Program, along with the American Red Cross and USC Gould School of Law, hosted a workshop on International Humanitarian Law at UCLA. The workshop featured lectures and hand-on exercises that guided participants through an extensive examination of IHL with a focus on its application towards combatants and civilians. The American Red Cross provided instruction. More than 45 law students and professionals from Southern California and Mexico attended.

JILFA Symposium Addresses the Worldwide Migration Crisis


On February 26, 2016, the Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs (JILFA) brought together leading academics in the fields of immigration, human rights and international law in a symposium to discuss “The Worldwide Migration Crisis.” With migration crises impacting people and countries across the globe, the 2016 JILFA Symposium explored the topic, as well as the policy and legal implications of steps taken by governments and organizations in response to the influx of migrants. The symposium shed light on the issues of migration not only as a regional crisis to be dealt with in a bubble, but as a worldwide issue where transnational and transregional lessons can be drawn from differing legal and political responses. Examining the U.S. response to an increase in migrants from Central America, the EU response to the spike in migration resulting from crises in the Middle East, and the Australian approach to migration from Southeast Asia, the symposium was organized around regional panels followed by a discussion examining the commonalities and divergences across the three regions. Professor T. Alexander Aleinikoff, former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, provided the keynote address.

Diplomatic Dignitaries Connect with Students

In October 2015, the International and Comparative Law Program and the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies hosted a lunch with U.S. Special Envoy to Syria Michael Ratney. Students and faculty from across campus joined the discussion on the current conflict in Syria, examining the most pressing challenges and prospects for resolution. In March 2016 Ted Osius, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, and Kirk Wagar, U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, joined the UCLA community for a discussion on bilateral relations between the nations and the United States. The conversation touched on topics ranging from LGBT and human rights issues to the potential impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on trade and economics.

Recent Faculty News and Scholarship

Outstanding and diverse legal scholars make UCLA Law a focal point for scholarship and interdisciplinary study in public and private international law and in comparative law.

Khaled Abou El Fadl was recognized as one of the World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims (2016) by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in Amman, Jordan. Abou El Fadl was one of the 100 global scholars named and one of the six scholars honored from the United States. He continues to weigh in on the global conversation about Islam, Shari‘ah, human rights and ethics across various media and through numerous published pieces in Al-Jazeera English, the Huffington Post, Religion and Ethics, and elsewhere. He also speaks and has published extensively on the topics of Islamic law, Shari‘ah, religious liberty, Egypt and the Arab Spring, human rights and anti-Shari‘ah loyalty oaths, and continues to address the issues around his latest book, Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014). This year, he will teach: The Trafficking of Human Beings: Law and Policy; Political Asylum and Refugee Law; and Political Crimes and Legal Systems.

Tendayi Achiume co-chaired the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, which was attended by more than 1,150 participants from more than 50 countries. She participated as an invited expert in a closed meeting on xenophobia hosted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in advance of his report to the UN Human Rights Council. Her recent article "Syria, Cost-Sharing and the Responsibility to Protect Refugees," 100 Minnesota Law Review 687 (2015) was reviewed in JOTWELL (Jaya Ramji-Nogales, "Rethinking International Law’s Responses to Refugee Flows," May 16, 2016) and her commentary on European dimensions of the Syrian refugee crisis was featured in Jurist, "Focus on Europe Neglects the Syrian Refugee Crisis," (Nov. 12, 2015).

Asli Bâli presented “Artificial States and Imagined Cartographies of a ‘New’ Middle East” at the Middle East Legal Studies Seminar conference organized by the Yale Law School. She also joined a panel on “The Iran Nuclear Deal as a New Model of International Lawmaking” at the American Society of International Law annual meeting. Her article “Constitutional Design without Constitutional Moments,” is forthcoming in 49 Cornell International Law Journal (2016). She also published “Shifting into Reverse: Turkish Constitutionalism Under the AKP” in 19 Theory & Event (January 2016) and co-authored “The Wrong Kind of Intervention in Syria" in The Land of Blue Helmets: The United Nations in the Arab World (University of California Press, 2016). She was appointed Director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies.

Joseph Berra came to UCLA Law in January of this year as Clinical and Experiential Learning Project Director to help expand clinical offerings at the law school. Since then he has been a co-instructor, along with Professor Tendayi Achiume, of the International Human Rights Clinic. Following the assassination of indigenous and environmental activist Berta Cáceres in Honduras, he helped organize the Urgent Issues Forum on the Assassination and the Future of Indigenous and Afrodescendant Environmental and Land Rights in Honduras, sponsored by the American Indian Studies Center, in April. He participated on an international panel at the forum, and presented on the antecedents to Berta’s assassination and indigenous peoples’ struggle in Honduras against extractive industries, rooted in the Honduran coup of 2009 and subsequent breakdown in the rule of law. He presented on a similar panel in May at the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association annual conference. Along with Sussan Westerberg Prager Professor of Law Hiroshi Motomura, Berra is developing a new Immigrant Rights Policy Clinic to be offered in Spring 2017.

Kristen Eichensehr published "Foreign Sovereigns as Friends of the Court" 102 VA. L. REV. 289 (2016), and her article "Public-Private Cybersecurity" is forthcoming in the Texas Law Review. In March, she presented on “The Apple/FBI Cases and Controversies” to the National Academy of Sciences Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Science, Technology, and Law. She served as a panelist on “Shifting Rules for Intelligence in International Law” at the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting, and on various cybersecurity issues at the NYU School of Law Center on Law and Security and the University of Texas at Austin Strauss Center for International Security and Law. She is a frequent contributor to and member of the editorial board of the national security blog, Just Security.

Stephen Gardbaum presented "How Do and Should We Compare Constitutional Law?" at the Comparing Comparative Law conference at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, in October 2015. He also chaired a panel and presented "Political Parties, Voting Systems, and the Separation of Powers" at the International Society of Public Law (ICON-S) 2016 Conference at Humboldt University, Berlin, in June. During 2015-16, he published "The Indian Constitution and Horizontal Effect" in the Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution (Sujit Choudhry, Pratap Mehta & Madhav Khosla eds., Oxford University Press, 2016); "Comparing Constitutional Bad Faith" 129 Harvard Law Review Forum 158 (2016); "Decoupling Judicial Review from Judicial Supremacy" in Democratizing Constitutional Law: Perspectives on Legal Theory and the Legitimacy of Constitutionalism (Thomas Bustamante & Gonçaves Fernandez eds., Springer, 2016); and "What's So Weak About 'Weak-Form Review'? A Reply to Aileen Kavanagh," 13 International Journal of Constitutional Law 1040 (2015).

Máximo Langer is publishing “In The Beginning Was Fortescue: On the Intellectual Origins of the Adversarial and Inquisitorial Systems and Common and Civil Law in Comparative Criminal Procedure” in Liber Amicorum in Honor of Professor Damaska (Duncker & Humbolt, forthcoming 2016); a report on the performance of the adversarial system reforms in the State of Mexico that will be released in Spanish in Mexico in 2016; and the book Prosecutors and Democracy: A Cross-National Study (co-edited with David Alan Sklansky, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017). He was also appointed partner of the Argentine human rights NGO Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), and will organize the Comparative Law Work-in-Progress Workshop at UCLA School of Law in April of 2017.

Kal Raustiala presented “The Global Struggle Over High Technology: Intellectual Property and International Relations from Apple v. Samsung to ICANN” at the East Asia Foundation, and the law firm of Kim & Chang, in Seoul, April 2016. He presented “The South China Sea and the Law of the Sea” at the University of Southern California in March 2016, and “Imitation and Innovation in the Information Age” at the U.S. Embassy, Tel Aviv, Israel, in January 2016, during which time he was also a Visiting Professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Raustiala presented “Governing the Internet” at the Graduate Institute for Development Studies, Geneva, in March 2016, which was subsequently published in 110 American Journal of International Law (July 2016). He also published “The Council and the Court: Law & Politics at the International Criminal Court”, 94 Texas Law Review (March 2016) (with David Kaye). Raustiala was elected a vice president of the American Society of International Law in April 2016.

Richard Steinberg has been named Counselor to the American Society for International Law, as well as Professor of Political Science (by courtesy) at UCLA and Visiting Professor of Global Studies at Stanford. He has published a new book, Contemporary Issues Facing the International Criminal Court (Brill/Nijhoff, 2016), a volume containing contributions from leading scholars, jurists, and lawyers on issues selected by Steinberg in collaboration with the first two prosecutors of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo and Fatou Bensouda. In 2016, he has given invited talks in Melbourne and The Hague, and at Stanford and Northwestern universities.

Lara Stemple was a co-organizer of a United Nations High Level Meeting on gender and HIV with UNAIDS in Geneva, which brought diplomats and experts together to discuss the impact of the disease on men and boys. She also co-sponsored a roundtable discussion with U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy Deborah Birx; several UCLA Law students were invited to participate in the private discussion. Stemple was an invited speaker at Re:Gender’s Annual Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, and at a multi-school conference entitled Trans-Disciplinary Perspectives in Global Health held at UCLA. New publications include "Human Rights, Gender, and Infectious Disease: From HIV/AIDS to Ebola" (with Portia Karegeya and Sofia Gruskin), 34(4) Human Rights Quarterly (forthcoming Nov. 2016); and "Empowering Women for Global Health: A 21st Century Agenda" (with Shari Dworkin) in Women's Empowerment and Global Health: A 21st Century Agenda (UC Press, forthcoming November 2016.)." Stemple is section co-editor of "Structural (Legal/Policy, Economic) Interventions as Tools of Empowerment" in Women's Empowerment and Global Health: A 21st Century Agenda (UC Press, forthcoming November 2016).

Katherine Stone published "Green Shoots in the Labor Market: A Cornucopia of Social Experiments," 36 Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal 293 (2015), "Employment and Labor Regulation in Industrial Countries," in the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition (Elsevier Ltd, UK 2015) and "Harry Arthurs and the Expanding Scope of Labour Law," in Essays on The Scholarship of Harry Arthurs (with Peer Zumbansen, Daniel Drache, & Simon Archer, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2016). She presented a variety of works at locations around the world including "Working in a Boundaryless Labor Market -The Transformation of Work and the Need for a New Social Regime" at Diderot University, Paris, and "The Changing Nature of Employment and the Need to Re-Invent Social Policy for Today's World of Work" at the University of Bergamo and ADAPT Institute in Bergamo, Italy.

Alex Wang presented “The Promise and Peril of Environmental Information Disclosure in China” at the Southern California International Law Scholars Workshop, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Cornell University School of Law. His article “Chinese State Capitalism and the Environment” was published in Regulating the Visible Hand? The Institutional Implications of Chinese State Capitalism (Curtis Milhaupt & Benjamin Liebman eds.) (2016). In December 2015, he took part in a UCLA Law delegation to the climate change negotiations in Paris, France. He currently serves on the international expert panel for the Environmental Rule of Law Task Force of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED).

Additional Notable ICLP Events in 2016

Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery: A Global Overview, Siddharth Kara


Egypt and Human Rights After the Arab Spring, Mohammad Soltan


Constitution Making in Religiously Divided Societies: the Case of Israel, Hannah Lerner


Italian Style in Constitutional Adjudication, Judge Marta Cartabia


A Talk with Bill Frelick, Refugee Director, Human Rights Watch


U.S.-Australia Dialogue: Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific


Human Rights in Yemen, Belkis Wille, Yemen & Kuwait Researcher, Middle East & North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch


Preventing a Lost Generation of Syrian Children, Luciano Calestini, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Lebanon


The Future of International Justice, Nick Koumjian, Co-Prosecutor, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia



UCLA Law is a proud member of the American Society of International Law Academic Partner Program.