Sean D. Murphy

Sean Murphy
Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor of Law
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20052
United States


Sean D. Murphy teaches, writes, and practices in the fields of public international law and U.S. foreign relations law. Before joining The George Washington University Law School faculty in 1998, Professor Murphy served as legal counselor at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, arguing several cases before the International Court of Justice and representing the U.S. government in matters before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and The Hague Conference on Private International Law. He also served as U.S. agent to the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, arguing cases on behalf of the U.S. government and providing advice to U.S. nationals appearing before that tribunal. Between 1987 and 1995, he served in the U.S. Department of State Office of the Legal Adviser, primarily advising on matters relating to international environmental law, international claims, and politico–military affairs. Since leaving the U.S. Government, Professor Murphy has represented several countries in international courts and tribunals, including Ethiopia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Suriname, and the United States.

Professor Murphy has published numerous articles on international law; his article on international environmental liability won the American Journal of International Law 1994 Deak Prize for best scholarship by a younger author. His book Humanitarian Intervention: The United Nations in an Evolving World Order won the 1997 American Society of International Law 1997 certificate for preeminent contribution to creative scholarship. His most recent books are Litigating War: Mass Civil Injury and the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission (2013) (with Kidane and Snider); Principles of International Law (2d ed. 2012); Foreign Relations and National Security Law: Cases, Materials and Simulations (4th ed. 2011) (with Franck, Glennon, and Swaine); International Law: Cases and Materials (5th ed. 2009) (with Damrosch, Henkin, and Smit).

Professor Murphy served for ten years on the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law and has served on the ASIL Executive Council. In 2011, the U.N. General Assembly elected Professor Murphy to serve as a Member of the U.N. International Law Commission for 2012-17.

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BA, Catholic University; JD, Columbia University; LLM, Cambridge University; SJD, University of Virginia