Professor Murphy Argues Before the International Court of Justice on Behalf of Armenia

November 15, 2021

Professor Murphy Argues before the International Court of Justice on Behalf of Armenia

Arguing on behalf of Armenia at the ICJ (counter-clockwise from upper right): Professor Murphy; Professor Robert Kolb, University of Geneva; Professor Pierre d’Argent, University of Louvain; and Mr. Constantinos Salonidis, Foley Hoag LLP.

In mid-October, Professor Sean D. Murphy argued in oral proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on behalf of the Republic of Armenia. The proceedings involved two cases between Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, which concern the armed conflict that broke out in the region in the fall of 2020. 

"It was a great honor to represent Armenia before the International Court, and to argue in favor of the immediate release of Armenian prisoners of war and civilian detainees who were taken into custody during the conflict," said Professor Murphy. He noted that the Court’s jurisdiction arises from the ratification by both countries of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), so the arguments before the Court concern violations of that convention.

Both cases were filed in September, one filed by Armenia against Azerbaijan and then, a week later, a second filed by Azerbaijan against Armenia. Simultaneously with filing the two cases, both States requested that the ICJ issue interim measures of protection so as to preserve, in advance of a decision on the merits, certain rights that are claimed to be at imminent risk of irreparable harm.

The Court’s decisions on whether to issue interim measures of protection are expected sometime this fall. For more information about Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Armenia v. Azerbaijan) & (Azerbaijan v. Armenia) visit here and here.

Professor Murphy is the Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law. Before joining GW Law, he served as legal counselor at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, arguing several cases before the ICJ and representing the U.S. government in matters before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Since entering academia, he has represented several countries in international courts and tribunals, including Ethiopia, Jordan, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Suriname, Uganda and the United States. He has also served as an arbitrator in inter-State and investor-State arbitrations, and as an ad hoc judge on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. He joined GW Law in 1998.