2015 News

Announcement of the 2016 Miller Institute-ASIL Fellowship Recipients

(L-R) Jessica Caplin and Ivana Stradner

Jessica Caplin (JD ‘16) and Ivana Stradner (JSD ‘16) are the 2016 recipients of the Miller Institute-American Society of International Law Student Fellowship.  The Fellowship, established in 2012, funds the participation of a Berkeley Law student to attend the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) in Washington DC. This year, in collaboration with Berkeley Law’s Advanced Degree office, we are able to sponsor one student from the JD program and one student from the LLM/JSD program to attend the 2016 meeting.

Jessica is Co-Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). She is currently working with the Human Rights Center on a project investigating trafficking of urban refugees in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. 

Ivana’s major legal interest concerns the amalgamation of international law and international security – a result of global, European, regional and local issues which influenced her while growing up in Serbia. After finishing her JSD, she plans to return to Serbia to teach international law and establish the Legal Clinic for National Security Law.

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Victory for International Human Rights Law Clinic

altholzProfessor Roxanna Altholz and the International Human Rights Law Clinic have won a remarkable ruling from the DC Circuit, instructing the District Court to reconsider its August decision denying the family of Colombian murder victim Julio Henriquez victim status under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA). The pathbreaking DC Circuit ruling instructs the lower court:  that the CVRA victim status can rest on actions beyond those specified in an indictment; while the offense must be a “but-for” cause of the harm suffered by the victim it need not be the only cause; and that the victim’s family need only prove that the murder was connected to the overall conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine, rather than that it was linked to the import of specific, identified coca. The case now returns to the district court for reconsideration of whether Henriquez’s family should be granted victim status for purposes of upcoming proceedings, including sentencing.

Release of Miller Institute Annual Report 2014-2015

The Miller Institute has just released its annual report for the academic year 2014-2015.

To read the report, please click here.

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Honors for Alexa Koenig and Eric Stover

Human Rights Center Executive Director Alexa Koenig and Faculty Director Eric Stover are among the recipients of the 2015-16 UC Berkeley Presidential Chair Fellows Curriculum Enrichment Grants. They will redesign an interdisciplinary research course to immerse undergraduates from various disciplines in real-world human rights problem-solving and policy-making.


New Publications from our International Law Faculty

fletcher-gadinisLaurel Fletcher’s paper, “Transitional Justice and the Demise of State Accountability,” has been selected through a blind peer review process for presentation at this fall’s American Society of International Law research forum.

The American Journal of International Law has organized an online symposium around Stavros Gadinis‘ forthcoming article, “Three Pathways to Global Standards: Private, Regulator, and Ministry Networks.”  The symposium, introduced by Tom Ginsburg (University of Chicago), includes commentary by Fleur Johns (University of New South Wales), Paul Stephan (University of Virginia), and Robert Ahdieh (Emory University).  You can read the symposium here.

Judge Joan Donoghue (’81) Awarded 2015 Riesenfeld Memorial Award

Judge Joan Donoghue (’81) of the International Court of Justice is the 2015 recipient of annual Riesenfeld Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the field of international law. Established in 2001, the award honors the memory of Berkeley Law Professor Stefan A. Riesenfeld (’37), who devoted his life and career to the study and practice of international law. After the award presentation, Judge Donoghue gave a keynote speech entitled “Remembering Professor Riesenfeld: Imaginary Conversations.” “I’m humbled to receive this award,” Donoghue says. “Professor Riesenfeld taught my first-year elective in international law. His blend of expertise, brilliance, and passion intimidated me – and deeply inspired me.”

The award was presented on April 6 as part of the annual Riesenfeld Symposium, organized by the Berkeley Journal of International Law (BJIL) and sponsored by the Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law. The symposium began with a panel discussion highlighting the role of international courts in resolving today’s most prominent international disputes and whether the courts are the most effective means by which to resolve these conflicts.

Judge Donoghue has been a member of the ICJ since 2010, and is only the third woman elected to be a member of the Court. Before joining the court, she served as the Principal Deputy Legal Advisor at the US Department of State.

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Judge Joan Donoghue receiving the Riesenfeld Memorial Award from (L-R) Sydney Archibald, BJIL Co-Editor-in-Chief, Dean Sujit Choudhry, and Remi Moncel, BJIL Co-Editor-in-Chief


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Judge Joan Donoghue and Dean Sujit Choudhry with BJIL organizers (L-R) Kathleen Tang, Terrance Robinson, Sydney Archibald, Remi Moncel, and Kelsey Leeker (photos by Kathleen Tang)

Support for Student Travel to ASIL Annual Meeting

The Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law established the Miller Institute-American Society of International Law Student Fellowship in 2012 to fund the participation of a Berkeley Law student to attend the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law in Washington, DC. This year, in collaboration with Berkeley Law’s Advanced Degree Programs Office, we were able to sponsor a student from each of the three curriculum programs (JD, LLM, and JSD) to attend the 2015 meeting.

2015 Miller Institute-ASIL Student Fellows

Richard Weir (’16)
JD student

Richard Weir is chapter director of Berkeley Law’s Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project and online editor of the Berkeley Journal of International Law. He intends to use his trip to Washington DC as a way to develop his interest in international humanitarian law, refugee law, and national security law.


Naomi Fenwick (’15)
LLM student

Naomi Fenwick, a human rights advocate and Cambridge University graduate, sees the meeting as “a unique opportunity to…explore the key question of how international law is changing in response to shifts in the global distribution of economic, political, and military power.”


Jerome Hsiang (’15)
JSD student

Jerome Hsiang is finishing his dissertation on “The Frontiers of International and Transnational Law-Making.” He hopes to use his time at the meeting to complement his transition from being purely academically focused to becoming a practitioner of international law.


Students interested in applying for the 2016 Student Fellowship should refer to the Fellowship page.

Berkeley Law is an Academic Partner of the American Society of International Law.

Gaining a Global Perspective: The Law and Politics of Turkey

Jamie O’Connell, Lecturer in Residence and Miller Institute Senior Fellow, led a group of six Berkeley Law students on a trip to Turkey in March 2015 where they interviewed more than two dozen Turkish politicians, jurists, and human rights advocates.  It was all part of his course on “The Law and Politics of Turkey:  Contemporary Issues.”  According to Professor O’Connell, “Turkey presents a significant case study for law students interested in international issues.”  Often seen as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East, Turkey is an economically advanced democracy on the front lines of the civil war in Syria and the struggle against the brutal Islamic State there and in Iraq.

Before the trip, the students researched the backgrounds of the interviewees and drafted in-depth interview questions on women’s rights, democratization, the role of the military in politics, and the treatment of ethnic minorities. One student was designated to lead each meeting. “One of the skills the students developed was how to orchestrate discussions with senior professionals to get the information and analysis they needed,” Professor O’Connell said. “That skill is important in many professional contexts, such as investigative interviewing for legal cases.”

oconnell turkey trip
(L-R) Mark Donig (’16); Jianyang Hoh (’15); Lydia Anderson-Dana (’16); Abby Ludwig (’15); Emine Ülker Tarhan, former judge of the High Court of Appeals; Sahar Maali (’15); Xiaoxi Tu (’15); Professor Jamie O’Connell; and Turkish translator Berkay Alpagut


Berkeley International Law Ranking and New Berkeley Law Scholarship

globe2UC Berkeley is ranked number nine in International Law programs according to US News and World Report’s 2015 America’s Best Colleges report. Berkeley is one of only two public law schools in the top ten for international law, and the only one in the western United States. This stellar showing marks the success of our International Law Certificate Program, and recognizes our superb students and distinguished faculty, whose world-class research and scholarship shapes the dialogue on transnational opportunities and threats.

For a list of recent scholarship by Berkeley Law’s international law community, click here.

LLM Graduate Provides Legal Aid to Poor in Rural India

Guneet Kaur (LLM ’14) and her work with the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group (JagLAG) was featured in a March 1, 2015 article in the New York Times. The NGO, founded in 2010, provides legal aid to the indigenous peoples in the state of Chhattisgarh, and “operates on a shoestring budget comprising [of] scholarships, donations, and personal savings.” Guneet, who earned her LLM and Certificate of Specialization in International Law from Berkeley Law in 2014, is one of four attorneys on the staff of JagLAG.

Read the article here.

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Guneet Kaur (center in red scarf) talking to villagers about police violence (photo by Kuni Takahashi for The New York Times)

Award for Dean Choudhry

Sujit Choudhry, Berkeley Law Dean and Interim Faculty Director of the Miller Institute, the Trailblazer Award from the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California’s Public Interest Foundation. The award “recognizes the achievements of pioneering attorneys who have led the way for South Asians in the profession.”