Remembrance of Judge Thomas Buergenthal and Fall 2023 Brand-Manatt Lecture

November 3, 2023
Professor Sean D. Murphy, Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew, 2 women, and a man

GW Law’s International and Comparative Law (ICL) Program hosted a  remembrance event to honor the legacy of the late Judge Thomas Buergenthal. Thomas Buergenthal served on the GW Law faculty from 1989 to 2000 and from 2010 to 2015 as the Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence. From 2000 to 2010, he was a judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). During his time on the law school faculty, Judge Buergenthal taught and mentored hundreds of students who went on to careers in the field of international or comparative law. He passed away on May 29, 2023, and the GW Law community will miss him greatly. Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew welcomed the audience and the members of the Buergenthal family who were in attendance that day. Professor Emeritus Ralph Steinhardt offered remarks on his own very fond memories of Judge Buergenthal, which was followed by a screening of the documentary "Peace Through Justice - The Legacy of Thomas Buergenthal."

This remembrance event was organized to coincide with the Fall 2023 Brand-Manatt Lecture. Professor Sean D. Murphy, the Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law, introduced Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji as the Fall 2023 Brand-Manatt speaker. Judge Eboe-Osuji was the fourth President of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and is currently a Distinguished International Jurist at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law of the Toronto Metropolitan University. Judge Eboe-Osuji delivered a lecture entitled "Doing More with Peace as a Legal Norm," in which he argued that the right to peace is enjoyed by individuals under customary international law, not just by governments, such that individuals are entitled to pursue actions for enforcement and reparation. He further argued for the creation of a treaty to codify this norm.

The lecture was followed by a panel moderated by Associate Dean Rosa Celorio entitled "Striving for Peace through Justice Today: Perspectives on the International Criminal Court." Professor and Ambassador Todd Buchwald, Professor Laura Dickinson, and Professor Alka Pradhan addressed various aspects of this topic, including the prospects for greater US engagement with the ICC.  

GW Law and the ICL Program are incredibly grateful to each of these speakers for giving their time and knowledge to a day of events that were meant to honor the legacy of Judge Thomas Buergenthal. ​​The ICL Program is also grateful to the co-sponsors of this event, including the American Society of International Law, the American Bar Association International Law Section, the International Law Society, and the GW International Law Review.