International and Comparative Law Program Newsletter

Fall 2015

J.D. Specialization in International and Comparative Law Launches

In the spring, UCLA Law’s International and Comparative Law Program launched a specialization in International and Comparative Law for J.D. students. The specialization is designed for students pursuing advanced study in international and comparative law, including international human rights law, and for those who intend to practice in those fields. More than 40 2L and 3L students are enrolled for the 2015-16 academic year. Students in the specialization can choose to structure their own curriculum to focus on any number of priorities, such as public international law, comparative constitutional law, international human rights law, international criminal law, international trade law and international intellectual property law, among others. In addition, the law school offers a specialization in international and comparative law for LL.M. students. 

International Human Rights Clinic Students Work to Improve Access to Information for Syrian Refugees

Clinic students also document human rights violations in Los Angeles County jails

On behalf of the Syrian League for Citizenship (a Syrian-led non-governmental organization in Lebanon), students in UCLA School of Law’s International Human Rights Clinic worked to provide refugees displaced by the conflict in Syria with access to reliable information about their legal rights in their host countries, the social services available to them and the status of the conflict in Syria. The students created a guide detailing information dissemination strategies that have been successful in improving access to vital information during refugee crises. The students also conducted extensive research on the varying characteristics of different refugee populations in the host countries, and how best to improve their access to information regarding their rights. The guide, which will be translated into Arabic by the Syrian League for Citizenship, will be used by refugee advocates in Lebanon to structure an effective information dissemination strategy in order to reach Syrian refugees throughout that nation.

In a domestic-focused project, clinic students also drafted a report, released in August, which documents human rights violations resulting from medical neglect of women of color incarcerated in the Los Angeles County jail system. On behalf of Dignity & Power Now, the students conducted research, developed an interview protocol and surveyed ex-inmates to document access to health care, including mental health care, as well as the consequences inmates faced when treatment and medicine were not made available. The report underscores that the medical neglect violates domestic civil rights law, regional human rights law and international human rights law. Assistant Professor Tendayi Achiume, who leads the clinic, supervised the students’ research and edited the report.

Students Travel to Congo with Gender Violence in Eastern Congo Clinic

In March, the Gender Violence in Eastern Congo Clinic, supported by the Sanela Diana Jenkins Human Rights Project, travelled to the Eastern Congo to continue the project of carrying out and assessing the impact of five forms of intervention (medical, psycho-social, economic, judicial and spiritual) in villages that have suffered mass rape attacks. Ivan Lu ’15, Dillon Hagius ’16, Kathleen Bush Joseph ’16, David Gao ’15, Malika Erickson ’15, Josefina Perez Otero ’15 (LL.M.), Professor Richard Steinberg and Jessica Peake, director of the International and Comparative Law Program, spent six days travelling to towns and remote villages in Fizi Territory, South Kivu, interviewing villagers who had benefitted from the interventions. Prior to the trip, students participating in the clinic spent time learning about the phenomenon of mass rape and its effects, and developing questionnaires and surveys designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions.

Students Participate in International Humanitarian Law Competitions

This year, UCLA School of Law student teams participated in the Jean Pictet International Humanitarian Law Competition and the Clara Barton International Humanitarian Law Competition.  Coached by Jessica Peake, director of the International and Comparative Law Program, and S.J.D. student Catarina Prata ’16, the two student teams spent several months learning about the intricacies of humanitarian law, and practicing its application in simulated settings. The Jean Pictet team, comprised of Jessica Temple ’16, Shane Howarter ’15 and Carla Benitez Gonzales ’15 (LL.M.), then travelled to Charlottesville, Virginia, for a week-long competition with student teams from more than 40 countries. The Clara Barton team, comprised of Sandeep Prasanna ’15, Kathleen Bush Joseph ’16 and Steve Morphy ’16, travelled to Chicago, Illinois, to compete against 15 other teams from schools throughout the United States and Canada. The Clara Barton team reached the semi-final of the competition, and won an award for “Excellence in Written Advocacy.”

UCLA Law Inaugurates Transnational Program on Criminal Justice

The 2014-15 academic year marked the inauguration of the law school’s Transnational Program on Criminal Justice (TPCJ). Led by Professor Máximo Langer, the program fosters research and discussion on issues of international criminal justice systems and sponsors events to engage students and the criminal justice and comparative and international law scholarly community. In February, the program hosted the Latin American Criminal Justice in Action workshop, bringing together leading researchers working on Latin American criminal justice systems. TPCJ also launched the UCLA Criminal Justice Faculty Workshop, convening faculty members and doctoral students throughout UCLA whose work is focused on criminal justice issues. TPCJ organized events for UCLA law students in the first half of 2015, including lectures by Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch’s International Justice Program, and Felipe Michelini, a Uruguayan human rights lawyer and former congressman. In the coming year, the program will bring more speakers to campus and will host an international, cross-disciplinary conference on the relationship between prosecutors and democracy in multiple countries and from different theoretical positions.

US-Australian Dialogue: Assessing the Future of the Asia-Pacific

In January, the International and Comparative Law Program co-sponsored the event US-Australian Dialogue: Assessing the Future of the Asia-Pacific. The event brought together international experts, government officials and business leaders to discuss the US-Australian alliance and shifting economic and political dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region. Panelists addressed topics including how the United States and Australia can ensure order in the international system and what role these nations should play in the continued development of Asian economies, as well as discussed the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Honorable Malcolm Turnbull MP, Australian Minister for Communications, delivered the event’s keynote speech. UCLA Law Professors Kal Raustiala and Richard Steinberg participated in the event.

JILFA Symposium Focuses on the Right to Food

The International and Comparative Law Program was a co-sponsor of this year’s Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs (JILFA) symposium, “Realizing the Right to Food: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century.” Bringing together leading academics and practitioners in the fields of international food and agricultural policy, international trade and environmental law, the symposium served as a forum for discussing the challenges and opportunities surrounding the right to food. The event featured a keynote address by UCLA Law alumna Dr. Hilal Elver ’06 (S.J.D.), the newly appointed United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food and UCLA Law’s global distinguished fellow. The symposium focused on three issues Dr. Elver has identified as priorities for her mandate to promote awareness of right to food issues: the impact of global trade in agricultural products on the right to food; the threat that climate change and environmental degradation pose to the right to food; and mechanisms and tools to enhance implementation, enforcement and accountability of the right to food.

Admiral Michael S. Rogers Addresses Cybersecurity

Admiral Michael S. Rogers, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, visited UCLA Law in November. A cybersecurity expert, he presented “Moving Forward: Challenges and Opportunities in an Interconnected World.” During the discussion, he talked about cyber threats, cyberwarfare and the future of cyber operations. Nominated by President Obama, Admiral Rogers assumed his present duties in April 2014. A Navy veteran, he began his career as a surface warfare officer and was then selected for re-designation to cryptology (now Information Warfare). Rogers has also served as the director for intelligence for both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Pacific Command, and most recently as commander of the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command and the Navy’s U.S. 10th Fleet.

A Conversation with UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism

Mutuma Ruteere, the United Nations special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, visited the law school in November. He led the Expert Meeting on Racial Profiling, organized by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which convened experts and representatives of local non-governmental organizations to discuss manifestations of racial profiling in police, immigration and detention agencies. Participants addressed national and international legal frameworks applicable to racial profiling as well as measures implemented to combat the issue and potential solutions. Ruteere also spoke to UCLA Law students about law enforcement use of racial profiling.

International and Comparative Law Program Hosts Discussions on China

In February, the International and Comparative Law Program presented a discussion with New York University School of Law Professor Jerome A. Cohen on “The Rule of Law Under Xi Jinping.” Professor Cohen, one of the world’s foremost experts on Chinese law and legal institutions, talked about recent developments in China’s legal system, the fallout from the Zhou Yongkang corruption case and prospects for legal reform in the wake of the recent Fourth Plenum. Professor Yunxiang Yan, director of the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies and professor of anthropology, served as a commentator. UCLA School of Law Assistant Professor Alex Wang was the event moderator.

In October, the program hosted a keynote talk by New Yorker writer Evan Osnos on his new book, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China. The book describes China’s journey from poverty to an era of materialism and examines the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party’s struggle to retain control. His talk was followed by a panel discussion with Professors Alex Wang and Yunxiang Yan and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, chancellor’s professor of history at UC Irvine. The conversation was moderated by UCLA Law Professor Kal Raustiala, director of the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations and associate vice provost of the International Institute.

Former Special Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Discusses “Thieves of State”

Sarah Chayes, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former special advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a book talk at UCLA Law in March. She discussed her latest book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security. The book weaves history with reporting and insider accounts from the Afghanistan war and identifies corruption as a cause of global insecurity. She talked about the linkages she found in Afghanistan between acute corruption and the rise of extremism. A former NPR reporter, Chayes covered the fall of the Taliban and spent a decade on the ground in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, Afghanistan. She is also the author of The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban and a contributing writer for the Los Angeles Times.

Health and Human Rights Law Project Co-Sponsors Lecture by Melinda Gates

UCLA Law’s Health and Human Rights Law Project co-sponsored a talk by Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She presented the 2014-2015 Arnold C. Harberger Distinguished Lecture on Economic Development in November, participating in a discussion with Renee Montagne, co-host of NPR’s “Morning Edition.” During the lecture, Gates discussed gender inequality and the need to invest in women’s health and family planning. She talked about her work at the foundation to empower women and girls in developing countries to decide whether and when to have a child.

Book Talk Addresses Food Security Governance

The International and Comparative Law Program co-hosted a book talk with author Nora McKeon on the newly released Food Security Governance: Empowering Communities, Regulating Corporations. McKeon worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, directing the organization’s relations with civil society. In her new book, she draws upon her 40 years of experience in the food realm and her work with the FAO to raise concerns about the current global food system and to suggest reforms for its improvement.

Southern California International Law Scholars Discuss Current Research

The International and Comparative Law Program hosted a group of international law scholars for a full day of discussion on their current research. Participants at the second Southern California International Law Scholars Workshop, held in February, discussed the six papers that were presented, which ranged in topic from the responsibility to protect refugees to the impact of decentralized enforcement in the World Trade Organization. The event commentators, including UCLA Law Professors Máximo Langer, Kal Raustiala and Richard Steinberg, briefly discussed each paper and then the authors responded before opening up the discussion to comments and questions from the group as a whole.

UCLA Law Hosts American Society of International Law West Coast Event Series

In February, UCLA School of Law hosted the American Society of International Law (ASIL) West Coast Career Panel and Speed Mentoring Event. A distinguished list of ASIL members attended, and the event was open to all law students in the Los Angeles area. Wes Rist, ASIL director of education and research, also conducted two careers related workshops for UCLA Law students.

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, along with five other academics, filed an amicus brief in Holt v. Hobbs. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court decided in favor of the petitioner and favorably cited the amicus brief. He published Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari'ah in the Modern Age (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). He also gave the keynote address at the Gomez-Prabhu Human Rights and Poverty Lecture on “Islamic Law in the Age of Human Rights” at California State University in February.

Tendayi Achiume was appointed co-chair of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) 2016 Annual Meeting Program Committee. In July, she co-convened a workshop in South Africa on “Destabilizing Demons? Reflecting on Xenophobia, Categories & Cohesion” at the University of Witwatersrand. She was a selected participant for the Harvard Law School Institute for Global Law and Policy Workshop 2015 in Doha in January. Her forthcoming article, “Syria and the Responsibility to Protect Refugees,” will be published in 100 Minnesota Law Review (2015). In November, she will participate in a closed expert workshop on xenophobia hosted by the United Nations special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism.

Asli Bâli was a co-organizer of the 2015 Armenian Genocide Centennial Commemoration in Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey in April. She was a panelist on “The ‘E-Team’: Human Rights Watch’s Emergencies Division” at the Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre in Los Angeles in January and presented “International Interventions: Re-evaluating the Role of the United Nations in Syria” at the Middle East Legal Studies Seminar at Yale Law School. She was also appointed advisory committee co-chair of the Human Rights Watch-Middle East and North Africa Division.

Kristen Eichensehr spoke on international law and cybersecurity at Stanford University’s Congressional Cyber Boot Camp in August, and she was a panelist at “Cyberwarfare and Killer Robots: How the Law of War Regulates New Technology” at Yale Law School. Her article, “Foreign Sovereigns as Friends of the Court,” is forthcoming in 102 Virginia Law Review (2016), and she has presented it at the UC Hastings College of the Law Faculty Workshop, the Junior Federal Courts Workshop at UC Irvine School of Law and the Southern California International Law Scholars Workshop. She also published “The Cyber-Law of Nations,” 103 Georgetown Law Journal 317 (2015); and “Cyberwar & International Law Step Zero,” 50 Texas International Law Journal 355 (2015). She blogs at Just Security.

Stephen Gardbaum presented "Revolutionary Constitutionalism" as a plenary session speaker at the International Society of Public Law (ICON-S) 2015 Conference in July. In March, he discussed his book The New Commonwealth Model of Constitutionalism at the Georgetown University Law Center's seminar on "Recent Books on the Constitution" and presented a paper at an international conference on proportionality at the Harvard Law School. In November, he was a keynote speaker at the First International Congress on Constitutional Law and Political Philosophy, held at the Federal University of Minais Gerais, Brazil. He published "Are Strong Constitutional Courts Always a Good Thing for New Democracies?," 53 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 285 (2015).

Máximo Langer is an editor of the recently-released book Juvenile Justice in Global Perspective (with David S. Tanenhaus and Franklin E. Zimring, New York University Press, 2015). His article, “Strength, Weakness or Both? On the Endurance of the Adversarial and Inquisitorial Systems in Comparative Criminal Procedure,” is forthcoming in Research Handbook On Comparative Criminal Procedure (Jacqueline Ross and Stephen Thaman, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016). “Universal Jurisdiction is Not Disappearing: The Shift from Global Enforcer to No Safe Haven Universal Jurisdiction” was published in June in the Journal of International Criminal Justice.

Kal Raustiala moderated a panel on genocide at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles in May as part of a “Thinking L.A.” event, which is a partnership of UCLA and Zócalo Public Square. In April, he moderated a panel on “The Stagnation of International Law” at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law (ASIL). In March, he participated in a debate on authorization of the use of military force against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as ISIS), organized by Congresswoman Karen Bass. He also moderated “The US-Australian Alliance: A Model for the Changing Geopolitical Environment” at “US-Australian Dialogue: Assessing the Future of the Asia-Pacific” at UCLA in January.

Richard Steinberg was a panelist on “The Future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership” at “US-Australian Dialogue: Assessing the Future of the Asia-Pacific” at UCLA in January. He presented “An Anthropological Footprint of Mass Rape and the Effects of Post Hoc NGO Interventions” at Stanford Law School in November. He spoke on “The Organized Hypocrisy of International Criminal Sentencing: An Empirical Study” at the UC Berkeley Department of Political Science in October. He was also a commentator on “International Regulation of the Internet of Things” at the Northern California International Law Scholars Workshop in September 2014.

Katherine Stone was the Albert and Heidi Praw Visiting Professor at Tel Aviv University in May and June, where she taught “The Globalization of Employment and Flexibilization of Work.” She was the keynote speaker at “Comparative Perspectives on Corporate Governance and Employees’ Role in the Corporation – Nordic and Chinese Perspective.” She published “Green Shoots in the Labor Market: A Cornucopia of Social Experiments,” 36 Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal 293 (2015). “Harry Arthurs and the Expanding Scope of Labour Law,” is forthcoming in Essays on The Scholarship of Harry Arthurs (Peer Zumbansen, Daniel Drache and Simon Archer, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016).

Lara Stemple was a co-organizer of the workshop “Orientations and Identities: Sexuality and Human Rights on the Global Stage” in Spring 2015. She was a keynote speaker at the Male Survivor annual conference in October where she spoke about gender and sexual victimization. She published “The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions,” (with Ilan H. Meyer), 104 American Journal of Public Health e19 (2014) and “Uneven and Still Insufficient: South African Police Services' Station-Level Compliance with Sexual Offences Laws,” (with Emily Keehn, Cherith Sanger and Dean Peacock), 9 Feminist Criminology 87 (2014).

Alex Wang was a panelist at the "Navigating the American Carbon World 2015 Conference" in April. He presented “Chinese State Capitalism and the Environment” at the Ryukoku University International Workshop on Environmental Governance in China held in Kyoto, Japan. In December, he spoke on “Climate Change, U.S.-China Cooperation, and Law” at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “Climate Change Law and Policy in China” is forthcoming in Oxford Handbook of International Climate Change Law (Kevin R. Gray, Richard Tarasofsky and Cinnamon Carlarne, eds., Oxford University Press, 2015).

Eric Zolt presented “Tax Incentives in Developing Countries” at the World Bank Workshop “Tax Policy—From Theory to Practice” in May and he gave the keynote presentation at the workshop on “Tax Policy Design in Developing Countries.” In April, he presented “Tax Incentives—A Different Perspective” at an International Monetary Fund conference. He published “Tax Incentives in Developing Countries: Protecting the Tax Base,” in United Nations Handbook on Tax Base Protection in Developing Countries, Financing for Development Office, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (United Nations, 2015).

Additional Notable International and Comparative Law Program Events in 2015

The New Terrain of International Law: Courts, Politics, Rights
Karen Alter, Professor of Political Science and Law, Northwestern University

Ethics in International Arbitration: From Arbitrator Myths to Arbitrator Intelligence
Catherine Rogers, Penn State and Queen Mary, University of London

The Limits of Law
Atul Singh, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Fair Observer

Human Rights and the Armenian Genocide
Gary Bass, Professor of Politics and International Relations, Princeton University

The Aporia of Human Rights: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry
Keynote: Loren Landau, Chair in Global Migration, the Fletcher School and the Friedman International Center, Tufts University

We Want What’s Ours: Learning from South Africa's Land Restitution Program
Bernadette Atuahene, Professor, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law



UCLA School of Law is a proud member of the American Society of International Law Academic Partnership.