2017 News

Berkeley International Law Faculty in the News – September-October 2017

Katerina Linos co-writes for The Washington Post (September 8, 2017) on Hungary and Slovakia challenged Europe’s refugee scheme. They just lost badly.:  The plan was initially supposed to transfer approximately 120,000 refugees from Greece and Italy to Central and Western Europe. However, key East European member states, including Hungary and Slovakia, forcefully opposed this decision from the get-go. … Wednesday, the E.U.’s highest court provided a final judgment rejecting these challenges and opened the door for significant refugee burden-sharing.

Laurel Fletcher quoted by Al Jazeera (September 11, 2017) on An ex-Guantanamo detainee rebuilds his life in France:  “When you have those incidents that are regularly cropping up, I think it activates people’s fear,” Fletcher says. She believes it’s a normal “visceral response” to support strong action in the wake of “terrorist attacks” – and that’s why Guantanamo may be experiencing a resurgence in popularity, despite evidence that its methods fail to make the public safer, she says.

Roxanna Altholz quoted by The Daily Californian (September 27, 2017) on UC Berkeley remembers 43 students in Mexico disappearance 3 years later:  Altholz also addressed questions regarding the international response as well as the internal handling of the case by Mexican authorities. She referenced the internal corruption not as the result of a “failed state,” but rather as a “powerful state that abdicated (its role of) protection.”

Roxanna Altholz quoted by The New York Times (October 28, 2017) on Who ordered killing of Honduran activist? Evidence of broad plot is found:  “There was this criminal structure comprised of company executives and employees, state agents and criminal gangs that used violence, threats and intimidation,” said Roxanna Altholz, the associate director of the Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of the lawyers’ group.

Roxanna Altholz quoted by Al Jazeera (October 31, 2017) on Murder of Berta Caceres part of calculated plot: report:  “The public ministry has seized in raids dozens and dozens of computers, telephone chips, SIM cards, iPads, all kinds of electronic apparatus,” Altholz said. “We are very concerned about what’s going to happen with that evidence,” she added. “What we found is an investigation that falls well short of international standards and seems to be driving towards impunity.”

New International Field Placement Program:  Berkeley Law in The Hague

Starting in Spring 2018, Berkeley Law JD students will have the opportunity to participate in the Berkeley Law in The Hague Program.  Eligible students can earn 10-12 units of law school credit while conducting a field placement at a range of international legal institutions including:  international criminal tribunals; public and private international law organizations; peace and security organizations; and non-governmental organizations. Students work under the supervision of a lawyer within these organizations.

For more information, see the program page.

Rachel Stern Awarded 2017 Hellman Fellowship

Professor Rachel Stern has been named as one of the 2017 Hellman Award Recipients.  Established by the late F. Warren Hellman in 1995, the purpose of the Hellman Fellows Fund is to support substantially the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their research.

Professor Stern’s research explores the relationship between law, power, social change and globalization, particularly in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Her Hellman-funded research seeks to uncover how we understand the origins and consequences of Chinese leadership’s dramatic public embrace of judicial transparency.

Read about Professor Stern’s work here.

Berkeley International Law Faculty in the News – July-August 2017

Alexa Koenig quoted by ABC 7 News (July 13, 2017) on UC Berkeley students work to authenticate photos, videos from conflict zones:  “For example, if there is a mosque that we can see, we can locate that mosque through satellite imagery to establish that the town where this was supposedly taken is, in fact, that town. If it’s authentic, it’ll be archived as a factual record to be used by human rights groups,” said Alexa Koenig.

Roxanna Altholz quoted by All Gov (August 16, 2017) on Trump administration breaks human rights traditions in border patrol beating death case:  Altholz said the United States faces “high political costs for that failure” to respond to the petition….“One need only to look at the newspapers to understand how regional leadership in human rights is particularly important right now,” Altholz said. “To be very simple, the United States will lose the case, and lose it badly.”

Patty Blum quoted by ABC News (August 21, 2017) on Judge clears way for extradition of ex-Salvadoran colonel:  “The U.S. government has a great interest in cooperating with Spain on an accusation of terrorist murder,” said Patty Blum, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “This is all about international cooperation.”

Release of 2015-2017 Annual Report

The Honorable G. William and Ariadna Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law is pleased to announce the publication of our latest Annual Report.  The report highlights our programs and events in international and comparative law for 2015-2017. 

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our work.

Read the 2015-2017 Annual Report


Berkeley International Law Faculty in the News – May 2017

Roxanna Altholz quoted by Courthouse News Service (May 18, 2017) on Inter-American Commission takes up border patrol killing: “Roxanna Altholz, the family’s attorney and associate director of the UC Berkeley Law School’s Human Rights Law Clinic, said the case will test if the U.S. government will cooperate and respond to the petition. She said the Obama administration “had a policy of robust and constructive engagement” in responding to other cases filed with the commission, but whether the Trump administration will take the same approach remains unclear.”

Recognition of 2017 International Law Certificate Recipients

The recipients of the 2017 International Law Certificate were recognized in a ceremony held on May 11.  This year 18 JD students and 13 LLM  students earned the certificate.  Interim Dean Melissa Murray welcomed the gathering of students, members of Berkeley Law’s international law faculty, and family and friends.  The ceremony also included reflections by Lydia Sinkus (JD ’17) and Rafaela Costa Candia (LLM ’17).

For information on the International Law Certificate Program, click here.

Interim Dean Melissa Murray welcoming guests
Lydia Sinkus (JD ’17) and Rafaela Costa Candia (LLM ’17)
2017 certificate recipients with members of Berkeley Law’s international law faculty

Honors for Alexa Koenig

Alexa Koenig was honored with the 2017 Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association Teaching Excellence Award and Berkeley Law’s 2017 Eleanor Swift Award for Public Service. With each award, she was recognized for her dedication to students and commitment to developing the next generation of human rights leaders.

Berkeley Law Student Group Honored by Chancellor

Berkeley Law’s International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) recently received a Chancellor’s Award for Public Service. Part of the school’s Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects, IRAP won the Student Group-Civic Engagement category for assisting some of the world’s most vulnerable refugee groups.

IRAP students with Interim Dean Melissa Murray and Chancellor Nicholas Dirks

Katerina Linos Awarded 2017 Carnegie Fellowship

Katerina LinosKaterina Linos, Faculty Co-Director of the Miller Institute, has been named to the 2017 class of Andrew Carnegie Fellows. The Carnegie’s program’s goal is to strengthen US democracy, drive technological and cultural creativity, explore global connections and global ruptures, and improve both natural and human environments.  Professor Linos is one of 35 distinguished scholars, journalists, and authors, who were selected from among some 200 nominations for this honor. Each fellow will receive up to $200,000 to support research in the social sciences and humanities.

Professor Linos will be pursuing a research project titled “Refugees Misdirected: Information Barriers in the Exercise of Legal Rights,” in which she will examine the European refugee crisis, study how misinformation and rumors are created and propagated, how they impede refugees’ ability to claim basic human rights guaranteed to them under international law, and how new technologies can be used to close the communication gap.  Professor Linos’ areas of expertise include international law, comparative law, European Union law, employment law and healthcare law. 

For a Q&A with Professor Linos, click here.

Congratulations to Professor Linos for this prestigious honor.

Berkeley Law at American Society of International Law Annual Meeting 2017

Berkeley Law was out in force at April’s Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law (ASIL), held in Washington, DC from April 12-15, 2017.  Professor Saira Mohamed acted as Co-Chair of the ASIL Annual Meeting Program Committee and Kate Jastram, Berkeley Law lecturer, served on the Program Committee. 

Lydia Sinkus (JD ’17) and Vittorio de’ Medici-Rodrigues (JSD ’18) attend the meeting as the 2017 Miller Institute-ASIL Student Fellows.  The fellowship allows current students the opportunity for knowledge and networking found at ASIL.  To read their reports on their experiences in Washington DC, click here.

David Caron (’83), past ASIL president and director emeritus of the Miller Institute, gave the Fifth Annual Charles N. Brower Lecture on International Dispute Resolution on April 14.  To see the video of his lecture, click here.

David Caron (’83)

Berkeley International Law Faculty in the News – April 2017

Alexa Koenig and Eric Stover quoted by San Francisco Chronicle (April 14, 2017) on UC Berkeley program seeks to help prosecute war criminals:  “The front-line people who capture images of what’s happening, they tend to focus on the body or where the bomb hit — they don’t realize that’s actually the least helpful info for courts,” said Koenig. “What the courts need is the 360-degree pan shot of the surrounding area to place what happened in a particular location. Or they need information that might seem irrelevant, like the angle something came from, or a shot of a newspaper that establishes the date.”
“Alleged perpetrators are leaving more fingerprints in various places. They’re leaving fingerprints behind the cyber curtain, meaning, they’re going on email, they’re sending messages to their subordinates, they’re filming things,” said Eric Stover, faculty director of the Human Rights Center.

Alexa Koenig quoted by Inquirer.net (April 11, 2017) on The authoritarian and his followers:  Koenig’s warning rang clear in the Umbrian air: “Authoritarians do not rely on mass popular support. They rely on mass passiveness, [on] passivity.”

Berkeley International Law Faculty in the News – March 2017

Roxanna Altholz quoted by NPR (March 4, 2017) on 16 years after father’s killing, Colombian family sees justice in US court:  “By the time he was convicted and sentenced for the forced disappearance of Julio Henriquez, he had been extradited. He was ordered to be imprisoned for 37.5 years and to pay economic compensation to the family,” says Roxanna Altholz, the the Henriquezes’ lawyer.

Roxanna Altholz cited by Hispanic News Network USA (March 3, 2017) on $1M settlement reached by family of Anastacio Hernández Rojas who was brutally beaten and murdered by U.S. Border Patrol agents:  In an interview with Democracy Now, Roxanna Altholz … said that since Hernández Rojas murder in 2010 by border patrol agents, at least 40 to 50 undocumented immigrants have been killed by agents, and none of the border patrol agents involved have been held accountable or brought to justice.

Roxanna Altholz quoted by The Guardian (March 2, 2017) on Families of victims of Colombia’s paramilitaries get their day in US court:  “Victims of [the Mexican drug boss Joaquín] Chapo Guzmán or other leaders of cartels or members of security forces or politicians who face drug charges could also face their victims in US court,” said Altholz. “It’s a new way to look at drug conspiracies,” she said. “It says those tons of cocaine and ounces of heroin that reach the US are tainted with blood.”

Berkeley International Law Faculty in the News – February 2017

Katerina Linos and Kimberly Twist write for SCOTUSblog (February 24, 2017) on Legal scholarship highlight: The Supreme Court, the media and public opinion:  We found that the Supreme Court can shift Americans’ views – and did in fact significantly increase the popularity of the individual mandate. This effect, however, is driven by one-sided media coverage – by a choice media outlets often make to treat Supreme Court decisions with far more deference than they treat presidential and congressional choices. Given sufficient media coverage for a particular court case, this choice on the part of the media means the court does have the ability to lead public opinion.

Rachel Stern quoted by The Guardian (February 13, 2017) on ‘We had to sue’: the five lawyers taking on China’s authorities over smog:  “This lawsuit on this topic at this moment in history is going to be an uphill battle,” says Rachel Stern, author of Environmental Litigation in China: A Study in Political Ambivalence. “I would be surprised if this lawsuit is successful, and if I were betting, I don’t even think it will get accepted by the court.”

Alexa Koenig interviewed by PBS Newshour (February 13, 2017) on A new generation of human rights investigators turns to high-tech methods:  “One of the biggest hurdles about using these new methods is that they are so new…One of the things we’re hoping to do for kind of investing in the long-term use of these methods is just begin to build an international standard for how to evaluate what constitutes an effective and a good investigation.”

Berkeley International Law Faculty in the News – February 2017

Alexa Koenig writes for Medium (January 11, 2017) on When is a cavity search not a cavity search? Rape at Guantánamo:  “In nearly a third of the interviews, nudity and/or another form of sexualized violence was described as — or as a component of — the respondent’s very worst detainment-related experience at Guantánamo.”