GW Law Co-Hosts ICJ Discussion

On June 3, GW Law and the American Society of International Law (ASIL) co-hosted a workshop titled “The International Court of Justice: Rethinking the U.S. Relationship.” The event was held in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Legal Adviser.

GW Law was a natural venue for the event because of its many ties to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Former ICJ Judge Thomas Buergenthal recently returned to the Law School as the Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence. The current ICJ judge from the United States, Joan Donoghue, previously taught public international law as an adjunct professor at GW Law. Additionally, Sean Murphy, the Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor of Law, has argued before the ICJ several times. In May 2010, GW Law hosted a symposium honoring Judge Buergenthal upon his retirement from the court. That symposium was held at the Peace Palace in The Hague, home to the ICJ.

The workshop gave participants the chance to reflect on a variety of issues relating to the ICJ. The topics included contemporary U.S. attitudes towards the court, improving the U.S. relationship with the ICJ, and lessons from other international regimes, such as the WTO and the Law of the Sea, and from other States, such as the United Kingdom.  

In addition to Judge Donoghue and Professors Buergenthal and Murphy, participants included former ICJ President Stephen Schwebel; David Caron, president of the ASIL; Judge Diane Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; Sir Daniel Bethlehem, Q.C., the former U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office Legal Adviser, and U.S. Department of State Legal Adviser Harold Koh.

GW Law Interim Dean Greg Maggs, who made opening remarks, said the event was timely and effective. “GW Law is uniquely situated to support a discussion on the U.S. relationship with the ICJ. We were honored to have such distinguished international lawyers at the Law School and to have played a role in supporting a focused discussion on matters of great importance to international law and U.S. policy.”

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