International and Comparative Law Program Newsletter

Fall 2017

The Promise Institute for Human Rights

Launched with a $20 million gift in April 2017, the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law leapt into its first academic year with an array of classes, clinics and guest lectures. In the institute's first foreign foray, UCLA Law Clinical Project Director Joseph Berra will lead students to Honduras in January to do work on behalf of indigenous people adversely affected by the 2009 government coup. Short courses offered in 2017-2018 will feature Richard Dicker, founding director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch, and Joseph Weiler, co-author of the European Union's Declaration of Human Rights. Guest speakers in 2017-18 include Judge Chung Chang-Ho of the International Criminal Court and leading experts from the United Nations. The creation of the Promise Institute has allowed UCLA Law to expand its International Human Rights Clinic and course offerings, and the institute now supports the ICC Forum, in which members of the legal community, governments, academics, and others debate complex issues faced by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Dr. Eric Esrailian, the lead producer of the feature film The Promise and the Armenian genocide documentary Intent to Destroy, and a faculty member at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, spearheaded the effort to establish the Promise Institute. Dr. Esrailian, legendary Hollywood producer Michael Medavoy and Carla Garapedian (both co-producers of The Promise) recently participated in a panel discussion at an advance screening of Intent to Destroy at UCLA Law. The school is thrilled to have named professor Asli Bâli the first faculty director of the Promise Institute. UCLA Law is conducting a search for the institute's first executive director .

Achiume Named U.N. Special Rapporteur for Racism, Xenophobia

In September 2017 UCLA School of Law professor E. Tendayi Achiume was named by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations to be Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. Achiume is the first woman and first person from southern Africa to serve in the role. The special rapporteur is an independent human rights expert tasked with calling attention to the most pressing problems of racial, ethnic and xenophobic discrimination and systemic intolerance around the world. Achiume, who was born in Zambia and raised in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, is the author of several publications on racial and xenophobic discrimination. In 2016, she was co-chair of the American Society of International Law's annual meeting. Achiume teaches the International Human Rights Clinic at UCLA Law, and clinic students will have an opportunity to support the work of the special rapporteur.

Promise Institute, ICLP Fellows Pursue Work in U.S., Abroad

The Promise Institute for Human Rights was pleased to award two inaugural Promise Institute post-graduate fellowships to two members of the Class of 2017. Shirin Tavakoli will spend a year at the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington, D.C. Shane LeMaster will spend a year at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, where he was previously an extern. In addition, two students who earned specializations in the International and Comparative Law Program received UC President's Public Law Service Fellowships. Antoinette Bedros is undertaking her fellowship at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, D.C., and Cristian Gonzales is at the Center for Justice and Accountability in San Francisco. Jasmine Sankofa '15 (above) recieved the 2017-2019 Aryeh Neier Fellowship, awarded by Human Rights Watch and the ACLU.

ICLP Hosts 'Contemporary Challenges in Human Rights'

In April 2017 the symposium Contemporary Challenges in Human Rights brought to UCLA Law many of the world’s leading figures in human rights law and policy. Before an audience of more than 220 people, panelists addressed issues including accountability for mass atrocities and health and human rights in conflict and humanitarian settings. Geoffrey Robertson of Doughty Street Chambers, who represented Armenia before the European Court of Human Rights as part of that nation’s effort to get formal recognition for the Armenian genocide, served as keynote speaker. Other participants at the videotaped event included Adama Dieng, United Nations Secretary-General's Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide; David Kaye, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression; and numerous faculty from UCLA Law and other disciplines at UCLA.

Students Compete in International Moot Courts

Two teams of UCLA students played the roles of lawyers, negotiators and government officials addressing a simulated armed conflict at the 2017 Clara Barton International Humanitarian Law Competition, held in March in Washington, D.C. The fourth annual competition allowed students to work with experienced practitioners, national security experts and leading academics. Students addressed simulated crisis scenarios based on real-world events, playing varied roles including those of legal representatives in an international criminal court; negotiators in crisis situations; and government officials defending the legality of use-of-force decisions. Kiana Banafshe LL.M. ’17, Taylor Markey ’17 and Ayan Sharma LL.M. ’17 reached the semifinals. Paulina Gonzales LL.M. ’17, Patrick Hulme ’17 and Nobu Zulu LL.M. ’17 also took part in the competition. Both UCLA Law teams were advised by Jessica Peake, director of the International and Comparative Law Program. Then, in April, ICLP students Emily Michael ’17, Shirin Tavakoli ’17, Andrej Novakovski ’17 and Brady Granger ’17 traveled to Vienna, Austria, to participate in the 24th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

Studies Highlight Criminal Justice in Central and South America

Professor Máximo Langer played a lead role in studies of two criminal justice systems in major cities in Central and South America. The first study focused on Buenos Aires, Argentina. Examining 400 cases with the cooperation of Argentine authorities, Langer and researchers from CIDE University in Mexico and Universidad Tres de Febrero in Argentina determined that the quality of police investigations in Buenos Aires is low and that the system focuses on easy cases in which defendants with prior records are arrested for the commission of robbery and similar crimes. A separate study focused on 1,145 criminal cases in the state of Mexico, the most populous of the 13 states in the country of Mexico and one where an ambitious criminal justice reform effort began in 2009. The report found that the reforms have spurred more expeditious processing of criminal cases, but that they present deficiencies regarding respect of defendants’ rights, the quality of defense, and the quality and control of police investigations.

New Books: Bâli on Constitution Writing; Langer on Prosecutors

Two members of UCLA Law’s International and Comparative Law Program co-edited books in 2017 that illuminate the way laws are formed and applied in different cultures and legal systems. Professor Asli Bâli, faculty director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA Law and director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, co-edited Constitution Writing, Religion and Democracy (Cambridge University Press) with Hanna Lerner from Tel Aviv University. Taking examples from 14 nations, the book explores the challenge of crafting a democratic constitution under conditions of deep disagreement over a state’s religious or secular identity. Professor Máximo Langer, faculty director of the Criminal Justice Program and director of the Transnational Criminal Justice Program at UCLA Law, co-edited Prosecutors and Democracy: A Cross-National Study (Cambridge University Press) with David Alan Sklansky of Stanford Law School. The book draws on examples from the United States, the UK and continental Europe to address how prosecutors can strengthen democracy or undermine it, and why it has proven so challenging to hold prosecutors accountable while insulating them from politics.

International and Comparative Law Specialization Programs

UCLA Law offers specialization programs in International and Comparative Law for both J.D. and LL.M. students. The specialization is designed for students seeking advanced study in those fields and those who intend to practice in those areas. In 2017, 17 J.D. students and 15 LL.M. students earned the speecialization. In 2017-18, 49 students have enrolled in the specialization program. Specialization students can structure their curriculum to focus on specific areas such as public international law, comparative and foreign law, international human rights law, international criminal law, international trade law and international intellectual property law, among others. Beyond course requirements, students can engage in a wide range of related extracurricular activities, including moot court competitions, student-edited journals and several international law-related student organizations. 

Upcoming Events

The International and Comparative Law Program at UCLA Law and the Promise Instutute for Human Rights host robust programs of events with distinguished speakers from around the world who address a wide array of topics in international law and human rights. View the events page for the International and Comparative Law Program and the events page for the Promise Institute to learn more.

Recent Faculty 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
Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Professor of Law

• “Egypt’s Secularized Intelligentsia and the Guardians of Truth,” in Egypt and the Contradictions of Liberalism: Illiberal Intelligentsia and the Future of Egyptian Democracy, Oneworld (2017).
• “Shari’ah and Human Rights,” in Routledge Handbook on Human Rights and the Middle East and North Africa, Routledge (2017).

E. Tendayi Achiume
Assistant Professor of Law

• “Re-Imagining International Law For Global Migration: Migration As Decolonization?,” American Journal of International Law Unbound (forthcoming 2017).
• “Misreading Mobility?: Bureaucratic Politics and Blindness,” with Loren B. Landau, United Nations’ Migration Reports, Development and Change Forum (forthcoming 2017).

Asli Bâli
Professor of Law
Faculty Director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA Law
Faculty Director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies

Constitution Writing, Religion and Democracy, with Hanna Lerner,
Cambridge University Press (2017).

Kristen Eichensehr
Assistant Professor of Law

• “Public-Private Cybersecurity,” 95 Texas Law Review 467 (2017).
• “Giving Up on Cybersecurity,” 63 UCLA Law Review Discourse 320 (2016).

Stephen Gardbaum
MacArthur Foundation Professor of International Justice and Human Rights

• “Political Parties, Voting Systems, and the Separation of Powers,” 65 American Journal of Comparative Law (2017).
• “Revolutionary Constitutionalism,” 15 International Journal of Constitutional Law 173 (2017).

Máximo Langer
Professor of Law
Director of the UCLA Transnational Program on Criminal Justice
Faculty Director of the UCLA Criminal Justice Program

Prosecutors and Democracy: A Cross-National Study, edited with David Alan Sklansky, Cambridge University Press (forthcoming 2017).

Kal Raustiala
Professor of Law
Director of the UCLA Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations

• “An Internet Whole and Free: Why Washington Was Right to Give Up Control,” Foreign Affairs (March/April 2017).
• “Governing the Internet,” 110 American Journal of International Law 491 (2016).

Richard Steinberg
Professor of Law
Professor of Political Science

• "Punishment and Policy in International Criminal Sentencing: An Empirical Study,” with Joseph Doherty, 110 American Journal of International Law 49 (2016).

Lara Stemple
Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and International Student Programs
Director of the Health and Human Rights Law Project

• “Sexual Victimization Perpetrated by Women: Federal Data Reveal Surprising Prevalence,” with Ilan H. Meyer and Andrew Flores), 34 Aggression and Violent Behavior 302 (2017).
• “Disproportionality and Disparities Among Sexual Minority Youth in Custody,” with co-authors, 46 Journal of Youth and Adolescence 1547 (2017).

Katherine Stone
Arjay and Frances Miller Distinguished Professor of Law

• “The Bold Ambition of Justice Scalia’s Arbitration Jurisprudence: Keep Workers and Consumers Out of Court,” 21 Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal (forthcoming 2017).
Labour in the 21st Century: Insights Into a Changing World of Work, Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2017).

Alex Wang
Assistant Professor of Law

• “Explaining Environmental Information Disclosure in China,” 44 Ecology Law Quarterly (forthcoming).

Additional Notable ICLP Events in 2016-2017 Include

Obama’s Drone Legacy


Human Rights and the Middle East: A Conversation with Human Rights Watch's Sarah Leah Whitson

The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial

Brexit: Possible Implications

A Reporter's Perspective with Reese Erlich: The Islamic State, Assad, Russia, and the Failure of U.S. Policy

Covering China: Reporting on the Rise of a Superpower, Edward Wong, The New York Times

Locating Islamic Law States on the Continent of International Law, Barbara Koremenos, University of Michigan

From 9/11 to Trump: Advocacy on Immigrants' Rights and National Security, Ahilan T. Arulanantham, ACLU

Tunisia: The Revolution of Compromises (2011-2016), Nadia Marzouki, Belfer Center at Harvard

A Mongrel-American Social Science: International Relations, Robert Vitalis, University of Pennsylvania

Gender and Agrarian Policy in Colombia: Revolutionary? Helena Alviar, Harvard Law School

The Impact of International Organizations on International Law, Jose Alvarez, New York University Law School

2017 JILFA Symposium: U.S. Trade Policy in the New Administration


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