International and Comparative Law Program Newsletter

Fall 2014

Clinic Focuses on Arbitrary Detention and Jail Violence in Los Angeles

UCLA School of Law’s International Human Rights Clinic worked on projects to address human rights issues in the United States. The clinic’s work led to filings with international tribunals to address U.S. human rights abuses as well as an analysis of possible models of civilian oversight to combat human rights violations in Los Angeles county jails. After rigorous client interviews and legal research, students of the International Human Rights Clinic filed petitions in April before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of four brothers who were detained in the United States for more than 40 months after the September 11th attacks. Clinic students also represented a community-based coalition of citizen advocates seeking to reform the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and its handling of complaints of misconduct by deputies in the county jails.

New Clinic to Address Gender Violence in Eastern Congo

In January 2014, UCLA Law launched the Sanela Diana Jenkins Clinic on Gender Violence in Eastern Congo. Under the direction of Professor Richard Steinberg, the clinic formed an NGO in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Restore the Villages Project – to carry out and assess the impact of five forms of intervention (medical, therapeutic, economic, judicial and spiritual) in order to assist villages that have suffered mass rape. Prior to travelling to the region, students participating in the clinic learned about the phenomenon of mass rape in Africa and its effects on victims and their families, as well as the social, economic and political impact on the targeted villages. In March 2014, a group of five UCLA Law students traveled to the Eastern Congo with Professor Steinberg and Jessica Peake, Director of the International and Comparative Law Program, to observe the first round of interventions and to interview and conduct surveys of villagers and those personally affected by mass rape.

Please view the videos for more information about the clinic and the Restore the Villages Project.

Students Represent UCLA School of Law at the Jean-Pictet Competition in International Humanitarian Law

In March 2014, Sivhoang Chea (LL.M. ’14), Sandeep Prasanna (J.D./M.P.P. ’15) and Ben Shea (J.D. ’14) travelled to Portugal to compete against 40 other student teams from around the world in the week long Jean-Pictet Competition in International Humanitarian Law. The team was selected as one of six from the United States through a competitive application process.  The Jean-Pictet Competition involves applying the laws of armed conflict – and public international law, in general – to a series of realistic scenarios. The team’s role changed with each test: at times the students were expected to be defense ministry legal advisers, foreign affairs advisers, International Committee of the Red Cross delegates, NGO representatives, military legal advisers and even combatants. The team did extremely well in the competition, and Sandeep Prasanna was selected as one of three nominees for the Gilbert Apollis Award for Best Orator.

Student Sumit Baudh Selected as the UCLA Recipient of the University of California Human Rights Fellowship

Sumit Baudh (S.J.D. ’16) traveled to India in summer 2014 to work with the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (IIDS) as the UCLA recipient of the University of California Human Rights Fellowship. Working with IIDS, Sumit drew attention to the issue of intersectional discrimination suffered along the axes of caste, gender and sexuality, particularly among queer Dalits (formerly “untouchables”) in India. Sumit organized two workshops, one at the IIDS in New Delhi and another at the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) in Bangalore. The project culminated in a roundtable seminar at the India International Center (IIC), which was co-sponsored by the Ford Foundation. The roundtable provided an excellent platform for bringing attention to the human rights violations suffered by queer Dalits and opened new vistas for dialogue, debate, research and action on the subject.

Professor Abou El Fadl Receives Muslim Achievement Award

Professor Khaled Abou El Fadl, Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Professor of Law, was presented with the 2014 American Muslim Achievement Award by the Islamic Center of Southern California in March. The award honors Muslims who have achieved excellence in their field and made outstanding contributions to society. Professor Abou El Fadl, who has been a member of the UCLA Law faculty since 1998, is one of the world’s leading authorities on Islamic law and Islam, and a prominent scholar in the field of human rights. Among his many honors and distinctions, Professor Abou El Fadl was awarded the University of Oslo Human Rights Award and the Leo and Lisl Eitinger Prize in 2007, and he was named a Carnegie Scholar in Islamic Law in 2005. His new book, Reasoning with God: Reclaiming Shari‘ah in the Modern Age, is scheduled for publication in October 2014.

E. Tendayi Achiume Named Assistant Professor of Law

Tendayi Achiume has joined the UCLA Law faculty as Assistant Professor of Law. Her research and teaching interests lie in international human rights law, international refugee law, comparative immigration law, international criminal justice and property. She previously served as the second recipient of UCLA Law’s Binder Clinical Teaching Fellowship, offering the International Human Rights Clinic, co-teaching the Asylum Clinic and the International Justice Clinic, and serving as the founding faculty supervisor for the UCLA School of Law International Justice Project.

Kristen Eichensehr Named Visiting Assistant Professor of Law

Kristen Eichensehr has joined UCLA School of Law as a visiting assistant professor. Her primary research and teaching interests are in cutting-edge international, foreign relations and national security law issues. She is a graduate of Harvard University, the University of Cambridge and Yale Law School. Before joining the UCLA Law faculty, Kristen clerked for Chief Judge Merrick B. Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Sonia Sotomayor of the Supreme Court of the United States.  She also served as a Special Assistant to the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State and practiced at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in appellate litigation, international and national security law, and cybersecurity issues. Kristen’s recent scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in the Georgetown Law Journal, the American Journal of International Law and the Virginia Journal of International Law.

Jessica Peake Hired as the Director of the International and Comparative Law Program

Jessica Peake has joined UCLA School of Law as the Director of the International and Comparative Law Program, where she will work to increase public and student-focused programming at the law school. Jessica was previously a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and the Executive Director of a small women’s rights nonprofit organization in New York. Jessica’s research focuses on international criminal law and procedure, and she has previously worked at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Why History Matters: Women’s Rights as Human Rights

On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, the International and Comparative Law Program co-sponsored a major public event with the UCLA History Department on “Women’s Rights as Human Rights.” This was part of the History Department’s “Why History Matters” flagship public events series, which aims to inspire a conversation among historians, thought leaders and public officials on issues of great contemporary concern. Panelists at the event included: Asli Bâli, UCLA School of Law; Charlotte Bunch, Rutgers University; and Liesl Gerntholtz, Human Rights Watch. The event was moderated by Ellen Dubois, UCLA Department of History.

JILFA Symposium Addresses Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts

In March 2014, the Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs (JILFA) hosted the 19th annual symposium, “Beyond Kiobel: The Future of International Human Rights Litigation in U.S. Courts.”  The event brought together notable attorneys, human rights practitioners and academics for a discussion of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, a U.S. Supreme Court case addressing the scope of the Alien Tort Statute. Panelists examined the future of Alien Tort Statute litigation, the possibility of pursuing claims in state court and alternate avenues for human rights litigation. Judge Pierre Leval of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit delivered the keynote address.

Sanela Diana Jenkins Health and Human Rights Colloquium

The Sanela Diana Jenkins Human Rights Project hosted the Health and Human Rights Colloquium, a series of talks focused on the relationship between global health and international human rights law. During the colloquium, prominent speakers from around the world, including Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law, Yale Law School, Zainab Bangura, United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda Minister of Health, examined the conceptual linkages between health and human rights by exploring both the promise of the field and the practical challenges inherent in implementing these strategies for change. Among this year’s discussions were talks on tobacco control and human rights, gender equality and health, and the impact of armed conflict on health and human rights.

Inaugural Session of the USC-UCLA Southern California International Law Scholars Workshop

In February, Southern California-based international law and international relations scholars convened at USC for the inaugural session of the USC-UCLA Southern California International Law Scholars (SCILS) Workshop. The second SCILS workshop will be held at UCLA School of Law on Friday, February 6, 2015.

Recent Faculty News and Scholarship

Professor Asli Bâli was a fellow in the Research Group on Balancing Religious Accommodation and Human Rights in Constitutional Frameworks at the Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Forschung at Bielefeld University in Germany in June, where she presented “Religion in Constitution Writing: A Theoretical Framework.” Her recent publications include “Negotiating Non-Proliferation: International Law and Delegation in the Iranian Nuclear Crisis,” 61 UCLA Law Review 232 (2014), and “Courts and Constitutional Transition: Lessons from the Turkish Case,” 11 International Journal of Constitutional Law 666 (2013).

Professor Stephen Gardbaum presented a paper in June 2014 on the future of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 to an audience at the Parliament Building in Wellington that included the chief justice of New Zealand’s Supreme Court and the New Zealand attorney general. In May 2014, he was a senior fellow at the University of Melbourne Law School, where he participated in a seminar on his recent book, The New Commonwealth Model of Constitutionalism: Theory and Practice. Professor Gardbaum was a visiting professor of law at the Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II) in December 2013.

Professor Kal Raustiala interviewed Jon Huntsman, Jr., former governor of Utah and former ambassador to China and Singapore, in April 2014 as part of the UCLA Burkle Center’s Bernard Brodie Distinguished Lecture on the Conditions of Peace. In March 2014, Professor Raustiala spoke on “The Council and the Court” at the University of Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He interviewed U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power at the Burkle Center’s Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture in February 2014. He published “How to Copy Right: Is Piracy Productive?,” (with Steven Tepp and Christopher Sprigman), 92 Foreign Affairs 169 (November/December 2013).

Professor Richard Steinberg led a group of students to South Kivu province in March 2014 to undertake research as part of the Sanela Diana Jenkins Clinic on Gender Violence in Eastern Congo. The group visited remote villages to conduct interviews and surveys, and accompanied Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the first prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to Gulu, Uganda. In January 2014, Professor Steinberg, editor in chief of www.iccforum.com, conducted an interview with Luis Moreno-Ocampo on his tenure at the ICC.

Professor Lara Stemple spoke on “Gender, Sexual Orientation, and HIV and AIDS in Conflict and Humanitarian Emergencies” at the 20th International AIDS Conference, held in Melbourne, Australia in July 2014. 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).

Professor Alex Wang spoke about regulating China’s domestic carbon outsourcing at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing, China in December 2013. In November 2013, he spoke on environmental law and China at UC Irvine Law School and the University of Washington. He published “The Search for Sustainable Legitimacy: Environmental Law and Bureaucracy in China,” 37 Harvard Environmental Law Review 365 (2013).

Professors Stephen Gardbaum, Stuart Banner and Máximo Langer were selected for inclusion in Classics in Comparative Law, edited by Tom Ginsburg, Pier G. Montaeri and Franceso Parisi. This three-volume set encompasses more than a century of scholarship on comparative law, and the collection includes a number of the most enduring articles from several disciplinary perspectives.

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