International Law / Human Rights

LAW 1394 v00 Business and Human Rights (Fieldwork Practicum)

J.D. Practicum | 4 credit hours

In fieldwork practicum courses, students participate in weekly seminars and engage in related fieldwork at outside organizations. This fieldwork practicum course is designed to give students familiarity with the field of business and human rights through a seminar in which we will explore the evolution of the field and the major issues that arise within it, combined with a placement in an organization that is working in some way on business and human rights issues. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and undertake at least 10 hours/week of fieldwork with organizations in the Washington, DC area that are involved in working on business and human rights issues.  Organizations are not certain whether they will be able to provide in-person placements in fall 2021, but have committed to provide remote placements if they are not.

SEMINAR: The seminar will give students an understanding of the challenges in holding multinational companies accountable for the adverse impacts of their operations. We will examine how the modern global corporation is organized around extensive supply chains, the ways in which its formal legal structure can enable it to avoid responsibility for the full range of impacts that it creates, and the successes and limitations of attempts to address this problem through litigation. We will then turn to the emergence of the concept of human rights as a key conceptual tool in the effort to surmount the limits of conventional litigation and regulatory strategies. This will involve discussion of incidents that served as the impetus for this development, and the human rights instruments that provide the basis for human rights claims.

We will then examine in depth some of the types of impacts that can constitute rights violations, relating to concerns such as forced labor, human trafficking, unsafe working conditions and wage theft, physical abuse, forcible displacement, environmental degradation, child labor, sex discrimination, freedom of expression, privacy, and climate change. This will provide an opportunity as well to examine the range of responses to such abuses and their effectiveness, such as voluntary industry standards; guidelines established by international organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the International Labor Organization; mandatory disclosure provisions such as the California and UK Human Trafficking statutes; voluntary disclosure programs; international finance standards; procurement regulation, and other measures. Students will also learn about issues that are distinctive to particular economic sectors, such as the extractives, apparel, financial, and information and communications technology industries. Finally, we will focus on how businesses can incorporate human rights concerns into their operations in order to comply with the duty of respect articulated by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

FIELDWORK: Students will be placed with organizations in the Washington, DC area that are involved in working on business and human rights issues. These may include NGOs, corporations, bar associations, and international organizations. Students will work on a variety of types of projects that further the mission of their particular organizations. These may include legal research; advising, training, and educating community groups; gathering information on the effectiveness of voluntary standards; compiling information on adverse human impacts of different types of activities or in different sectors; helping to devise remedies for human rights violations; preparing staff for and participating in meetings with government, business, and/or non-profits organizations; helping advise on possible legislation; submitting reports to international organizations; helping with human rights due diligence efforts; and others.

Prerequisite: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum and an externship, clinic, or another practicum course. Students may not receive credit for this practicum and Business and Human Rights in the Global Economy.

Note: In this fieldwork practicum, students are matched with their field placement before the fall semester begins. Each placement is relying on the student they have been matched with to promptly begin working at the organization once the fall semester begins. As a result, students enrolled in this practicum have until July 12, 2021 to drop this course without permission.

After July 12, 2021, a student who wishes to withdraw from this course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student.

If you enroll in the course after July 12, 2021, you must obtain permission from Professor Regan and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education to withdraw from the course. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student.

This practicum course is open to LL.M. students, space permitting. Interested LL.M. students should email the Office of the Registrar (lawreg@georgetown.edu) to request admission.

This course is suitable for evening students who can attend the weekly seminar and conduct at least 10 hours of fieldwork/week during normal business hours.

This is a four credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and two credits for approximately 10 hours of fieldwork per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks, to be scheduled with the faculty. The fieldwork must be completed during normal business hours. The two-credit seminar portion of this practicum will be graded. The two credits of fieldwork are mandatory pass/fail. Students will be allowed to take another course pass/fail in the same semester as this practicum.

Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and fieldwork components and may not take either component separately. Students enrolled in this practicum have until July 12, 2021 to drop this course without permission. After July 12, 2021, a student who wishes to withdraw from this course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and fieldwork components.

Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar (out of 13 total seminar sessions), or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work (out of a total of 11 weeks of fieldwork or project work), may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

LAW 370 v02 Business and Human Rights in the Global Economy

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

Corporations today have a global scale as well as an impact that matches or sometimes exceeds that of governments. Their activities -- from sourcing of raw materials, to processing and production of intermediate or finished goods, to distribution and sale -- have major consequences not only for the human rights of their employees but also for the rights of the individuals and communities impacted by their operations. In many countries, government regulation and oversight are either absent or largely ineffective. Companies in turn struggle to define their responsibilities in the face of these "governance gaps" -- particularly where requirements under national law fall short of international standards in areas such as hours of work and safety and healthy.

A robust and often contentious debate over these issues culminated in the development of the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the “UNGPs”) under the leadership of Special Representative John Ruggie. These Principles establish a framework for considering the respective roles of governments and corporations and outline core concepts of human rights due diligence and effective remedy. In doing so, the UNGPs also inform and to some extent refocus efforts that have emerged over the past 20 years to address these governance gaps and have brought together stakeholders from business, labor, civil society, the investment community, and academia.

At the same time, in recent years there has been an increased push from civil society groups and certain governments to go beyond these "voluntary" efforts and develop a binding business and human rights treaty mechanism; this has met with strong opposition from business and many other governments, including the United States.

Even as "non-regulatory" approaches remain the predominant means of addressing various business and human rights challenges, there also has been a growing focus in recent years on tools through which national governments and international institutions could exercise greater leverage. This includes advocacy for stronger labor and other human rights language in trade agreements, one-way trade preference programs, procurement standards, and the rules and guidelines applied by international financial institutions -- coupled with more aggressive enforcement of those criteria. Expanded efforts to advance that "regulatory" approach in trade policy and elsewhere in some cases has been met with resistance from governments and business, but there also have been examples of emerging consensus among a diverse range of stakeholders.

This course introduces students to this quickly-evolving business and human rights landscape, including the diverse set of multi-stakeholder initiatives -- some, but not all, of which include government participation. We will discuss the guidance provided by the UNGPs and other instruments, the range of stakeholders and how they engage with one another, tools utilized by governments and corporations to implement human rights standards, and how all of these interact in the context of both sector-specific and cross-cutting legal and policy challenges.

Among the questions the course will examine are:

  • Which human rights standards are most relevant to business?
  • What are the appropriate linkages between business policies and practices and the promotion of human rights?
  • Which business and human rights approaches are emerging as “best practices" and perhaps even as recognized norms?
  • What tools to support those are being used by governments and corporations?
  • Who are the principal stakeholders and what are their roles and objectives?
  • What are the strategies for addressing business and human rights "governance gaps" at the national and international levels?
  • What are the opportunities for increased integration of labor/human rights and trade policies, and what are the limitations?
  • What mix of mandatory/regulatory and voluntary/“self-regulatory” approaches has been utilized in different situations to advance human rights objectives? Which approaches have been most effective?
  • How are various business and human rights challenges playing out in specific sectors, and how do these inform the debate about different approaches?

To address these and other key questions, the course will begin with several sessions setting out the relevant legal and policy developments, with special attention to the UNGPs. It will also include a review of different stakeholders and their roles and interests, and examination of concepts of corporate responsibility and corporate accountability, and an analysis of the various approaches to business and human rights advanced by companies, governments, labor, civil society, and through multi-stakeholder initiatives. The second half of the semester will then focus on how these concepts are being applied in particular sectors to address specific business and human rights challenges.

Throughout the course, students will be asked to examine the various approaches and differing roles of key stakeholders, including by playing the roles of those addressing the key issues from the perspectives of corporations, civil society and unions, and governments. The class will be divided into three groups for purposes of this “role playing” -- with each asked to adopt all three perspectives during the course of the semester, both in students’ individual analyses of assigned readings and in group sessions during certain classes.

Learning Objectives:

Introduction to business and human rights landscape, including legal and policy developments, particularly the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The course reviews different stakeholders and roles, examines concepts of corporate responsibility and accountability, and analyzes various approaches to business and human rights advanced by stakeholders. The course will also familiarize students with sector specific business and human rights challenges.

Recommended: There are no formal course requirements, but some basic familiarity with international trade and human rights law is assumed.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this seminar and the practicum course Business and Human Rights.

LAW 3060 v00 Business, Human Rights and Sustainability

LL.M Course (cross-listed) | 1 credit hour

The relationship between business, human rights, and sustainability has gained momentum in recent years with the private sector, governments, civil society, and international organizations, owing largely to the passage of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) in 2011, the 2012 UN Rio + 20 Sustainable Development Conference and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (2015). These developments were preceded and followed by a series of multi stakeholder (governments, private sector, investors, civil society networks and organizations) and specific industry driven initiatives looking at how to integrate these international standards into both self and binding regulatory processes. As a result, many of these initiatives led to an emerging international soft law system of business, human rights and sustainability that is based in the internationally acknowledged body of hard law principles.

Regardless of being industry, sector specific or multi stakeholder in nature, the regulation, de-regulation, policy, practice and ever growing global litigation in this new field of practice is multifaceted, dynamic, interactive, complex and challenges business leaders, markets and even lawyers to think outside the box in order to address a challenging relationship between business, markets and society. This is where business strategy meets risks. Or instead, this is where risks eat a business strategy.  As a result, business leaders, shareholders and their advisors are now required to integrate a 3D internal and external view and assessment on how to address, prevent, mitigate and remediate the social and environmental impacts (risks) of private sector operations in complex environments and with a collaborative and systems thinking approach.

Bar Associations in America and abroad have begun issuing specific guidance on how corporate lawyers should advice their clients incorporating human rights and sustainability standards. For instance, in a Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) transaction, corporate lawyers are most likely to encounter questions dealing with social, environmental, human rights and environmental concerns. Those advocating on behalf of environmental and human rights organizations will find their work directly intersects with company law, securities law, investment law, governance, compliance, company law and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to name a few sub areas.

Fast-forward 2020. The global COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly entered this space. It has done so highlighting the vulnerabilities and opportunities in the relationship between business, governments and society across the globe. Furthermore, the global pandemic is challenging all stakeholders not only to become relevant but to re-think, re-imagine and re-envision new models that seek engagement, resilience, addressing grievances, investment, economic recovery and accountability frameworks.

In practice, these global and ever growing litigation trends are also challenging traditional company-led corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ethics programs that have been associated with both philanthropic, corporate citizenship and company-sponsored activities that give back to societies. While many of these programs have achieved several levels of success, for many sectors in society they remain as corporate public relations or green wash exercises and demand more transparent, accountable and remediation responses.  The stakes are high.

Litigation, a growing movement towards mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence and reporting requirements and other types of social demands are challenging companies to be very purposeful and accountable on how they address the environmental, social and governance negative impacts (for some) or violations (for others) of their operations globally and domestically. Stakeholders are asking companies to integrate ongoing due diligence processes that address materiality concerns when it comes to managing supply chains and making sure they are free of child labor, modern slavery and human trafficking. They are also asking companies to address the social and environmental impacts of extraction of natural resources above and below ground, to name a few. 

Furthermore, stakeholders are not alone on this. The emerging and growing movement of shareholder advocacy is leading the way across industries and pushing the way through different strategies for more corporate engagements that drive responsible business conduct and standard-setting activities that push for robust business, human rights and sustainability policies embedded as part of corporate operations across systems and functions. In particular, a wide range of investors that include asset management firms, trade union funds, public pension funds, foundations, endowments, faith-based organizations and family funds are leveraging their assets of over US$3.5 trillion to collaborate around responsible investment while influencing boards and management.

At the conclusion of this course, students will demonstrate the capability:

  • To distinguish between relevant applications of the Business, Human Rights and Sustainability frameworks of international hard and soft laws, in the context of environmental, social and human rights challenges across industries and different actors and how they can be integrated into the business strategy.
  • To assess critical human rights, environment and natural resources challenges currently faced by industries and markets in different contexts through a multi stakeholder and 3D lens risk management approach.
  • To analyze and discuss how different tools and resources can be applied and be relevant to address human rights and environmental challenges, which tools would be best suited for specific contexts and grievance mechanisms that exist for access to remedy across relevant and selected industries (policy development, stakeholder forums and facilitation, influence and development, multi stakeholder assessments, human rights due diligence and environmental assessments) in international development, conflict and post-conflict environments.

Note: NOTE FOR THE SUMMER 2021 SECTION: The professor will teach this course virtually via Zoom. Students may choose to participate from the classroom or via Zoom while the professor is participating remotely. Students who want to participate in person must be in the University’s COVID testing protocol and follow all other safety measures.

Attendance of ALL classes is Mandatory. Students will also have to come ready to actively participate with all assigned readings on the Syllabus completed before class, will have to work on small cohort simulated presentations and submit a final written memo that will be assigned in class. No exceptions. 

LAW 500 v00 Center for Applied Legal Studies

J.D. Clinic | 10 credit hours

See the Center for Applied Legal Studies website for more detailed information about the clinic.

For registration-specific supplemental materials, please see the Center for Applied Legal Studies PDF.

For information about clinic registration generally, please see the Clinic Registration Handbook.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this clinic and an externship or a practicum course.

LAW 1673 v00 Effective Human Rights Advocacy in Polarized Environments Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

Human rights advocacy can be an uphill battle, even in the best of times.  And these are not the best of times. Progress is possible, but the problems we tackle need serious, hard-nosed strategies and activists with the skills to execute them. In this course we will explore and analyze key elements of successful human rights advocacy campaigns—goal-setting, messaging/communications, coalition-building, resource allocation—and develop the practical skills advocates need, especially in today’s politically polarized environment, to win.

The course will be grounded in real-world examples. We will explore and evaluate different theories of social change and study how those work (or don’t) in practice. Each week we will do a deep dive into a different element of successful campaign strategy.

Student Learning Goals: As a result of completing this course, students will be able to draft a strategic campaign plan for an issue or policy campaign. Students will learn how to evaluate advocacy strategies and how to choose which advocacy techniques are likely to succeed in which contexts.  Students will be exposed to leading experts in human rights advocacy, including staff from human rights organizations, congressional offices, messaging and communications experts, litigators and veteran human rights campaigners. Students will develop the analytical and practical skills necessary to build a successful campaign strategy.

In addition, students will be alerted to opportunities for participating in human rights activities and events outside of class. Students interested in a career in human rights will gain a richer understanding of the theories of change and the portfolio of advocacy tactics used successfully by practitioners in the field.

LAW 611 v01 Extradition Simulation: International Law, Human Rights, and Effective Advocacy

J.D. Course | 1 credit hour

This course is designed to complement the rest of the 1L curriculum in several ways.  First, it will expose you to selected elements of international and foreign law, beyond the usual concentration on the U.S. domestic law system.  Second, our focus will be principally upon treaty texts, rather than judicial decisions, within a system that does not rely upon binding precedents in the same ways you have already encountered.  Third, we hope to nurture your sensitivity to facts, as much as to law, as key elements in legal practice.  Finally, through a series of collaborative simulation exercises, we intend to engage you in active, experiential learning in a direct, powerful way.

The four-day simulation is based upon a hypothetical attempt by the United States to secure the extradition of two accused terrorists, who have been indicted in federal court for participating in terrorist acts on U.S. soil, but who are currently resident in Russia and in France.  The leaders in those countries appear willing to return the two suspects to the United States, but the effort may be blocked by those countries’ membership in the European Convention on Human Rights, which may bar extradition in cases where the accused would face the prospect of capital punishment or indefinite detention in harsh conditions.

Students will be assigned the role of counsel for one of the defendants or one of the governments, and will work in small teams on two primary tasks.  The first exercise is to prepare for and conduct a fact-gathering interview of one of the clients.  The second exercise is to plan, practice, and conduct a simulated hearing before the European Court of Human Rights.  Throughout, students will be guided by the instructor and by a team of teaching fellows in the development of essential lawyering skills, including fact development and analysis, problem solving, strategic planning, and effective oral advocacy.

Note: FIRST-YEAR WEEK ONE COURSE: This course will meet on the following days: Monday, January 6, 2020, through Thursday, January 9, 2020. This course is mandatory pass/fail, and does NOT count against the 7-credit pass/fail limit for J.D. students.

This optional, elective course is for first-year J.D. students only, who are enrolled through a lottery process.

ATTENDANCE AT ALL CLASS SESSIONS IS MANDATORY. All enrolled and waitlisted students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to be eligible for a seat in the class and must attend each class session in its entirety. For more information, see the Week One website.  

Due to the intensive nature of the course, the small-group, team, and individual work that is involved, and the preparation that is necessary to ensure a positive student experience, students who wish to drop the course after they have accepted a seat must drop by Monday, December 2, at 3:00 p.m. After that point, permission to drop from the course professor and Assistant Dean for Experiential Learning is required. Students who are enrolled but do not attend the first class session will be withdrawn from the course.    

LAW 034 v07 Human Rights Fact-Finding (Project-Based Practicum)

J.D. Practicum | 6 credit hours

In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professor(s). This project-based practicum course is designed to support students participating in the Human Rights Institute (HRI) Fact-Finding Project. Through this course, students will gain the substantive background and skills needed to carry out a human rights investigation from beginning to end. Each year, the HRI Fact-Finding Project has focused on a policy-relevant human rights issue, including migrants’ rights, children’s rights, and the role of human rights in the global economy. In the fall, students will participate in a weekly two hour/week seminar and carry out 5 hours/week of project work under the direction of the professor. Over Week One, students will travel to carry out a fact-finding investigation. In the spring, students will participate in a two hour/week seminar every other week and carry out 10 hours/week of project work. For this course, students will work closely with the HRI Dash/Muse Fellow and Professor Fanny Gomez-Lugo in conceptualizing and implementing each step of the Project. Professor Gomez-Lugo is currently the Senior Director for International Policy and Advocacy for the Heartland Alliance’s Global Initiatives for Human Rights. Previously, she coordinated the work of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) Persons of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
 

SEMINAR: In the fall, the seminar will cover the substantive law and policy relating to the fundamental rights of LGBTI individuals in the Americas, as well as human rights fact-finding skills and methodology. In the spring, seminar classes will meet every other week and focus on the production of a human rights fact-finding report and the conduct of related advocacy. Seminar sessions will be designed to guide students through each step of the human rights fact-finding process.
 

PROJECT WORK: Students will research a human rights problem in depth, conduct extensive outreach and interviews on the subject, draft a comprehensive report on their findings, and engage in related advocacy. In January 2018, during ‘Week One,’ the group will travel on-site to conduct interviews with relevant stakeholders. Georgetown Law will cover travel expenses. Students will also be expected to meet on their own throughout the academic year.

Prerequisite: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).
 

Recommended: Courses such as International Law I and International Human Rights Law would be helpful to participants, but are not required.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum course and a clinic or another practicum course. Students may concurrently enroll in this practicum course and an externship.

Note: This course is open to both J.D. and LL.M students.

This practicum course may be suitable for evening students with flexible work schedules. Interested evening students should contact Dash/Muse Fellow Ashley Binetti (ab2242@georgetown.edu) to discuss their particular situation.

THIS COURSE REQUIRES HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTE PERMISSION TO ENROLL. Applications (comprised of a statement of interest, a resume, and a writing sample) are due by 12:00 noon on Monday, April 10, 2017, the same day that clinic applications are due. Admitted J.D. students will be informed of HRI’s decision on their application before they are required to make a clinic decision. Selected students will be required to accept or decline an offer to join the project by COB on April 26, 2017. Students who have missed this deadline should contact Dash/Muse Fellow Ashley Binetti (ab2242@georgetown.edu) to inquire whether seats are still available. Selection criteria include but are not limited to: a demonstrated commitment to human rights, experience interviewing or working with individuals affected by human rights violations, ability to work independently and in a group, ability to complete complicated tasks on a deadline, and language skills. Additional information is available at www.humanrightsinstitute.net.

This is a six-credit course. Three credits will be awarded in the fall; two for the seminar and one for the approximately five hours of project work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. Three credits will be awarded in the spring; one for the seminar and two for the approximately 10 hours of project work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. Both the seminar portion and the project portion will be graded. One grade will be given for the fall semester and another grade for the spring semester.

Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and project components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and project components.

Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar, or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work, may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

LAW 034 v08 Human Rights Fact-Finding (Project-Based Practicum)

J.D. Practicum | 6 credit hours

In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professor(s). This project-based practicum course is designed to support students participating in the Human Rights Institute (HRI) Fact-Finding Project. Through this course, students will gain the substantive background and skills needed to carry out a human rights investigation from beginning to end. Each year, the HRI Fact-Finding Project has focused on a policy-relevant human rights issue, including migrants’ rights, children’s rights, LGBT rights, and the role of human rights in the global economy. In the fall, students will participate in a weekly two hour/week seminar and carry out 5 hours/week of project work under the direction of the professor. Over Week One, students will travel to carry out a fact-finding investigation. In the spring, students will participate in a two hour/week seminar every other week and carry out 10 hours/week of project work. For this course, students will work closely with the HRI Dash/Muse Teaching Fellow Ashley Binetti and Professor Melysa Sperber in conceptualizing and implementing each step of the Project. Professor Sperber is currently the Director of Public Policy & Government Relations at Humanity United and Humanity United Action. She advocates before Congress and federal agencies on policies to combat human trafficking and prevent violent conflict, and she oversees the foundation’s public policy and government relations portfolio. Previously, she was Director of Human Rights at Vital Voices Global Partnership, where she implemented programs in more than 20 countries to combat violence against women, including human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual violence.

SEMINAR: In the fall, the seminar will cover the substantive law and policy relating to human trafficking, as well as human rights fact-finding skills and methodology. In the spring, seminar classes will meet every other week and focus on the production of a human rights fact-finding report and the conduct of related advocacy. Seminar sessions will be designed to guide students through each step of the human rights fact-finding process, including project design, interviewing, reporting writing, and advocacy.

PROJECT WORK: Students will research a human rights problem in depth, conduct extensive outreach and interviews on the subject, draft a comprehensive report on their findings, and engage in related advocacy. In January 2019, during “Week One,” the group will travel on-site to conduct interviews with relevant stakeholders. Georgetown Law will cover travel expenses. Students are also expected to meet on their own as a team throughout the academic year.

Prerequisite: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).

Recommended: Courses such as International Law I and International Human Rights Law would be helpful to participants, but are not required.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum course and a clinic or another practicum course. Students may concurrently enroll in this practicum course and an externship.

Note: This course is open to both J.D. and LL.M students.

This practicum course may be suitable for evening students with flexible work schedules. Interested evening students should contact Dash/Muse Fellow Ashley Binetti (ab2242@georgetown.edu) to discuss their particular situation.

THIS COURSE REQUIRES HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTE PERMISSION TO ENROLL. Applications (comprised of a statement of interest, a resume, and a writing sample) are due by 12:00 noon on Monday, April 9, 2018, the same day that clinic applications are due. Admitted J.D. students will be informed of HRI’s decision on their application before they are required to make a clinic decision. Selected students will be required to accept or decline an offer to join the project by COB on April 25, 2018. Students who have missed this deadline should contact Dash/Muse Fellow Ashley Binetti (ab2242@georgetown.edu) to inquire whether seats are still available. Selection criteria include but are not limited to: a demonstrated commitment to human rights, experience interviewing or working with individuals affected by human rights violations, ability to work independently and in a group, and ability to complete complicated tasks on a deadline. Additional information is available at www.humanrightsinstitute.net.

This is a six-credit course. Three credits will be awarded in the fall; two for the seminar and one for the approximately five hours of project work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. Three credits will be awarded in the spring; one for the seminar and two for the approximately 10 hours of project work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. Both the seminar portion and the project portion will be graded. One grade will be given for the fall semester and another grade for the spring semester.

Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and project components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and project components.

Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar, or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work, may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

LAW 034 v09 Human Rights Fact-Finding (Project-Based Practicum)

J.D. Practicum | 7 credit hours

This project-based practicum course will give students the unique opportunity to participate in the Human Rights Institute (HRI) Fact-Finding Project. Through this course, students will gain the substantive background and skills needed to carry out a human rights investigation from beginning to end. Each year, the HRI Fact-Finding Project has focused on a policy-relevant human rights issue, including migrants’ rights, children’s rights, LGBT rights, and the role of human rights in the global economy. In the fall, students will participate in a two-hour weekly seminar and carry out at least 5 hours per week of project work. Over Week One students will carry out a virtual fact-finding investigation. In the spring, students will participate in a two-hour seminar every other week and carry out an average of 10 hours of project work per week. Students work closely with the Professor and Dash-Muse Teaching Fellow in conceptualizing and implementing each step of the Project.

SEMINAR: In the fall, the seminar will cover the substantive law and policy relating to health and human rights of migrant and refugee populations, as well as human rights fact-finding skills and methodology. In the spring, seminar classes will meet every other week and focus on the production of a human rights fact-finding report. Seminar sessions will be designed to guide students through each step of the human rights fact-finding process, including project design, interviewing, and reporting writing.

PROJECT WORK: Students will research a human rights problem in depth, conduct extensive outreach and interviews on the subject, and draft a comprehensive report on their findings. In January 2021, during “Week One,” the group will conduct interviews with victims or potential victims of human rights abuses and relevant stakeholders. The fact-finding investigation during the 2020-2021 academic year will be conducted virtually and take place from Monday, January 11 through Thursday, January 14, 2021 with a mandatory orientation on Friday, January 8, 2021. Students will be expected to work both independently and in teams.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in International Law I: Introduction to International Law or International Human Rights Law no later than the Fall 2020 semester.

J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum course and a clinic or another practicum course. Students may concurrently enroll in this practicum course and an externship.

Note: This course is open to both J.D. and LL.M students.

This practicum course may be suitable for evening students with flexible work schedules. Interested evening students should contact current Dash-Muse Fellow Melissa Stewart (Melissa.Stewart@georgetown.edu) to discuss their particular situation.

THIS COURSE REQUIRES HUMAN RIGHTS INSTITUTE PERMISSION TO ENROLL. J.D. student applications (comprised of a statement of interest, a resume, and a writing sample) are due by noon on Thursday, April 16, 2020. Admitted J.D. students will be informed of HRI’s decision on their application before they are required to make a clinic decision on April 20, 2020. Selected students will be required to accept or decline an offer to join the project by COB on Monday, May 4, 2020. J.D. students who have missed this deadline should contact Dash-Muse Fellow Melissa Stewart (Melissa.Stewart@georgetown.edu) to inquire whether seats are still available. Selection criteria include but are not limited to: a demonstrated commitment to human rights, experience interviewing or working with individuals affected by human rights violations, ability to work independently and in a group, and ability to complete complicated tasks on a deadline. LL.M. student application deadlines will be forthcoming this summer.

Additional information is available at https://www.law.georgetown.edu/human-rights-institute/our-work/fact-finding-project/.

This is a seven-credit course. Three credits will be awarded in the fall; two for the seminar and one for the approximately five hours of project work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. Four credits will be awarded in the spring; one for the seminar, one for Week One and two for the approximately 10 hours of project work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. Both the seminar portion and the project portion will be graded. Field-work is an integral and required portion of the course. Students should consider their individual capacity to work cross-culturally with individuals who have experienced or are experiencing ongoing human rights violations. Permission to miss the Week One field-work portion of the course will be granted only in exceptional circumstances, such as a sudden illness or death in the family. Students will receive a grade for the year-long course in the spring semester.

Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and project components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and project components.

Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar, or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work, may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

LAW 1621 v00 Human Rights Seminar: The Role of Human Rights Defenders

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2-3 credit hours

Human rights defenders play a critical role in the protection and promotion of internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. Their work is essential to achieve the core objectives of the United Nations and its Member States at national, regional, and international levels. This seminar will explore the evolving international legal framework for the protection of human rights defenders. We will consider the realities that prompted the international community to establish norms, create mechanisms and processes, and formulate policies to ensure that human rights defenders can safely engage in their vital work under different political, economic, and social conditions. The seminar will also examine how the norms governing human rights defenders enrich the human rights protection framework as a whole—improving the chances of its implementation at the national level. This seminar will also consider the role and responsibility of key human rights agencies within the international system, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and how the scope of their mandates accommodates development of the human rights defenders framework.

Note: This course requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3-credit section of the course if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2-credit section will not fulfill the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 1286 v00 Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery in the 21st Century: Legal Perspectives

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

Slavery has been a phenomenon that has existed since before written history, yet it is only in the last 200 years that efforts to abolish it have gained traction. Today, increasing mobility, global supply chains, and continued social discrimination have created the environment for ongoing human exploitation, even though the formal practice of chattel slavery, or the legal ownership of one human being by another, is illegal virtually everywhere. Indeed, some estimate that there are more slaves today than at any other time in human history. Most recently, efforts to eliminate severe forms of human exploitation are being made under the banner of ending human trafficking (or more formally, trafficking in persons).

This course will provide students an overview of the multiple legal perspectives on combating human trafficking and modern slavery. This will include the definitional tensions between different perspectives, alternative approaches to addressing severe human exploitation, and an overview of the current U.S. legal framework for eradicating human trafficking and modern slavery and its weaknesses. Attention will be paid to commonly recognized principles in human rights, criminal and labor law, but also in such areas as corporate responsibility and international humanitarian law. The class will use a range of materials, including international treaties, decisions of international and foreign tribunals, and more familiar U.S. statutory materials and legislative history (such as committee reports).

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of the class, students should be able to

  • recognize many of the forms of and pervasive nature of human trafficking and modern slavery;
  • identify risks of human trafficking and modern slavery in most areas of practice they may choose in the future; and
  • have familiarity with emerging issues in the area of human trafficking and modern slavery.

Recommended: A prior course in public international law or international human rights.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this seminar and Human Trafficking in International and Transnational Law.

LAW 3114 v00 Industry Epidemics: NCDs, Commercial Risk Factors and the Law

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 2-3 credit hours

This seminar will examine the role of law and policy in addressing modifiable risk factors that contribute to the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Risk factors to be addressed include: tobacco use, unhealthy diets, and the harmful use of alcohol. Materials and discussions will probe questions such as: What are the best regulatory practices to deal with NCDs risk factors? How do transnational corporations contribute to the spread of non-communicable diseases? How different international legal regimes come into play in addressing risk factors? What are the opportunities and challenges of using law & policy to address NCDs’ commercial risk factors? Throughout this course we will have opportunities to consider how law and policy shape contemporary legal discussions related to NCDs, such as tobacco plain packaging, alcohol sponsorship, childhood obesity, commercial speech and food labelling, and targeted marketing strategies.

The course will take a global approach grounded in constitutional law and different international legal regimes (WTO, Human Rights Systems –Regional & Universal—, among others). The course will explore how the rise in NCDs prevalence in both developed and developing countries is mainly driven by transnational corporations, globalization and foreign direct investment. Additionally, case studies will explore a variety of examples from jurisdictions spanning the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Latin American countries, including taxes to discourage consumption of unhealthy products, laws restricting advertising and promotion, and laws and policies to promote access to information to consumers.

Students will be equipped with an understanding of specific issues, such as the role of law compared with policy, the strengths and weaknesses of different regulatory strategies and the role and responsibilities of the relevant industries in promoting the right to health. After exploring a series of foundational themes and issues through the first half of the course, the remainder will focus on in-depth case studies and experiences in regulating the risk factors from a comparative perspective and future challenges.

This seminar requires attendance and participation in seminar discussions, preparation for class, writing response posts, and the submission of a final paper (for those taking the course for three credits) or leading a class discussion (for those taking the course for two credits).

Course goals:

  • Understanding of the various risk factors contributing to non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
  • Understanding of various models of regulation of NCDs risk factors.
  • Understanding of complex risk factors regulatory issues across various constitutional systems and international legal regimes.
  • Understanding the interaction between regulation of NCDs risk factors and issues like gender and freedom of speech.
  • Understanding the role of transnational corporations in the increased prevalence of NCDs.

LAW 230 v00 International and Comparative Law on Women's Human Rights

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

In many parts of the world, women are discriminated against, abused, treated as property, and even murdered because they are women. But today, there is a substantial body of international and regional human rights law that can be used to change the national laws that permit these practices or fail to protect women against them. In addition, many countries have begun to give women equal rights in many fields. Thus, there is now a body of human rights and comparative law that advocates can use to advance equal human rights for women.

This course provides students with an overview of that law. It introduces them to the many forms of discrimination and violence women still face and teaches them about the major human rights treaties that can help women achieve equality with men. These include the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and the regional human rights treaties from Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Students study the work of the human rights bodies that measure state compliance with these treaties, including their guidelines and case law on issues affecting women. The course also examines comparative law on human rights issues such as sex-based discrimination in employment, inheritance, and family law rights, domestic violence and female genital mutilation, polygamy and its impact on women and children, and women’s lack of reproductive rights.

National court decisions from countries in both common law and civil law jurisdictions show how courts are using international and regional human rights law to help resolve domestic law issues. As some issues pose difficult conflicts between women’s right to equality with opposing assertions of religious and cultural rights to discriminate, the course also examines how human rights bodies resolve those conflicts and asks how they should be resolved.

Note: For J.D. Students: Students Enrolled in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic must take this course as a pre- or co-requisite, but it is also open to other J.D. students and to LL.M. students.

LAW 416 v02 International Courts and Tribunals: Theory and Practice

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

This course surveys existing international courts and tribunals. Over the semester, we will examine courts and tribunals with general jurisdiction (e.g., the International Court of Justice); courts and tribunals with specialized jurisdiction (e.g., the International Criminal Court, WTO, human rights tribunals, and investor-State tribunals); and claims tribunals and commissions (e.g., the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal and the United Nations Compensation Commission). The course seeks to provide a comparative understanding of the international adjudication system through readings and in-class exercises. General knowledge of public international law is required.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in International Law I.

LAW 3132 v00 International Development, Humanitarian Assistance and Global Health

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

The course provides an overview of the international and domestic legal and policy framework applicable to the delivery of foreign assistance and global health for the following: bilateral development partners, international/multilateral institutions, and recipient countries; non-governmental and civil society organizations; and private sector actors.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and interpret the key relevant documents that define whether and how to provide different types of foreign assistance (including foreign assistance statutes and regulations, annual appropriations, bilateral treaties, and international treaties).
  • Predict and explain policy decisions based on knowledge of areas of government discretion and restrictions.
  • Identify and outline potential options to implement foreign assistance, global health and other projects based on knowledge of cross-cutting, generally applicable rules.
  • Identify what you would need to know and the resources an organization will need in order to implement a project in response to a newly identified humanitarian aid or global health crisis or foreign assistance challenge.
  • Differentiate between ideals and goals that are achievable under the relevant legal and regulatory framework from activities that are restricted or prohibited.
  • Express the values or rationales that most influence or shape your interest in this field and how they inform your ability to assess the likelihood of success of an assistance activity.

LAW 227 v04 International Human Rights

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This course examines the law, institutions, and advocacy strategies designed to protect international human rights.  We will analyze civil and political rights and economic and social rights, as well as international humanitarian law, and explore key enforcement mechanisms at the national, regional, and international levels. The evolving role of NGOs and civil society actors in advancing human rights, and the responsibility of corporations, will also be examined. Both progress and enduring challenges in making human rights real “on the ground” will be a focus of this course, together with the need for effective enactment of legal standards, enforcement of those standards, and empowerment of affected communities. Current legal issues and strategies concerning climate change and human rights will also be highlighted.  

Recommended: International Law I: Introduction to International Law.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and the graduate course, International Human Rights Law.

LAW 814 v00 International Human Rights Law

LL.M Course (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This course provides an intensive survey of international human rights law and practice, with a principal focus on interpretation and implementation of human rights obligations, commitments, and norms in the practice of states. The course has three main components: in the first unit, we examine the development of the substantive law of human rights and its sources (including treaties, customary international law, and non-binding international instruments). In the second unit, we examine implementation of international human rights in the international, regional, and domestic systems, focusing on UN organs such as the Human Rights Council and treaty bodies, as well as regional mechanisms. Finally, in the third unit we look at the application of the substantive law and implementation mechanisms in the context of current issues in international human rights, including in the context of atrocities and the refugee crisis. The course highlights selected contemporary ethical problems in international human rights law such as genocide and torture, application of human rights obligations, commitments, and norms to non-state actors (including corporations), universality of human rights and cultural relativism, and the need to protect human rights while countering terrorism, including issues relevant to U.S. law and practice. Along the way we examine issues related to international immunities, impunity, human rights litigation under the U.S. Alien Tort Claims Act and Torture Victim Protection Act, and international criminal tribunals. 

Recommended: International Law I: Introduction to International Law.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and International Human Rights Law, or the J.D. course, International Human Rights.

LAW 814 v02 International Human Rights Law

LL.M Course (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

How can the international legal system address some of human kind’s greatest weaknesses? This course provides an intensive survey of modern international human rights law and the legal institutions and systems of oversight that support it. Through a mixture of lecture and class discussion, we will look at how and why these mechanisms developed, and critically analyze how they -- as well as States, non-State actors, and individuals -- succeed or fail in practice to promote and protect human rights at the international, regional, and domestic levels. We will cover the foundations of the modern system including the International Bill of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions, as well as subsequent developments including treaties and declarations regulating the use of certain weapons, prohibiting torture, protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, protecting refugees, promoting the rights of indigenous peoples, eliminating racial discrimination and discrimination against women, and establishing the international criminal court. We will also look at how “soft law” has developed to address emerging human rights-related fields such as corporate social responsibility and data privacy protection. Highlighting contemporary issues in international human rights, we will ultimately ask ourselves how current international human rights mechanisms can address today’s conflicts, including refugee crises, natural resource disputes, and international campaigns against terrorism.

Recommended: Prior enrollment in International Law I: Introduction to International Law (or equivalent).

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and International Human Rights Law and Practice.

Note: Students may not withdraw from this class after the add/drop period ends without the permission of the professor.

LAW 1755 v00 International Human Rights: History, Theory, Promise and Critique

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2-3 credit hours

This course will examine the philosophical and historical underpinnings of international human rights law. Students will encounter early conceptions human rights protection, alternative visions for the modern human rights framework, the development of international human rights law, and critical perspectives on the evolution and implementation of human rights.

Students will be encouraged to critically examine the successes and failures of the normative framework for the protection of human rights, whether we have achieved the universal realization of human rights, and ways in which the system might be reimagined or strengthened. Particular attention will be paid to the legal framework applicable to the protection of the rights of non-citizens, including migrants, refugees, and stateless persons. Contemporary case studies will be used to illustrate the challenges in resolving protracted situations of statelessness or displacement, and how gaps in international legal protection may exacerbate looming human rights crises, including those related to global climate change.

There are no required prerequisites for this course. However, students may find it beneficial to have taken International Law I: Introduction to International Law and/or the introductory course to International Human Rights.

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will gain an understanding of the history and theory of international human rights law.
  • Students will gain the ability to think critically about our assumptions about the structure of international law and human rights in order to imagine ways in which international human rights can be strengthened towards the universal realization of rights.
  • Students will strengthen their written and verbal communication skills through written reflections, papers, and classroom discussion.
  • Students completing a paper for the writing requirement will gain mastery over their chosen topic related to international human rights law, enhance the clarity and precision of their writing, and sharpen their skills in conveying their understanding through an oral presentation.

Note: This seminar requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 761 v03 International Law, Human Rights & Fighting Impunity

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 1 credit hour

This course will explore the global fight against impunity -- specifically, as it pertains to curbing war crimes, human rights violations, grand corruption and looted antiquities -- through class discussions, lectures and guest speakers with personal experience in fighting the impunity that is so often associated with war crimes and economic crimes. It is based on the premise that those that are willing to slaughter thousands of innocents, are also willing to steal millions of dollars and loot our collective cultural heritage – and that the fight against impunity includes both war crimes and economic crimes (and often, the international trend to focus on the former, ignores the domestic interest in prosecuting the latter). Over the semester, students in a seminar-size class will be exposed to the basics of international criminal law, international human rights law and international economic crimes, as well how the fight against impunity impacts national security and foreign policy issues. The class will focus on issues related to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, as well as the recent global efforts to fight grand corruption and recover looted assets and antiquities, including UN Convention Against Corruption and the new UN-World Bank Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative. Students will be allowed to write a paper of their choice regarding international law and the fight against impunity. Class grades will be a combination between class participation (40%) and a seminar paper (60%). Required readings (cases, statutes, articles, book excerpts, on-line treaties, etc.) will be illuminated by lecture and discussion from a professor with first-hand experience in the global fight against impunity through his personal experience with the Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein and Omar al-Bashir matters, as well his background with the UN war crimes tribunal, the White House, the Pentagon, and the World Bank’s StAR Initiative, and helping recover stolen assets on behalf of various governments. In order to take advantage of Georgetown’s unique position in the intersection of law, politics, and international affairs, the course will feature high-profile guest speakers who will highlight their own personal efforts to fight impunity and how such international efforts impact national security and foreign policy matters.

Prerequisite: International Law I or equivalent.

Note: ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY AT ALL CLASS SESSIONS. Enrolled students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain enrolled. Waitlisted students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain eligible to be admitted off the waitlist. All enrolled students must attend each class session in its entirety. Failure to attend the first class session in its entirety will result in a drop; failure to attend any subsequent class session in its entirety may result in a withdrawal.

Enrolled students will have until the beginning of the second class session to request a drop by contacting the Office of the Registrar; a student who no longer wishes to remain enrolled after the second class session begins will not be permitted to drop the class but may request a withdrawal from an academic advisor in the Office of Academic Affairs. Withdrawals are permitted up until the last class for this specific course.

LAW 1323 v00 International Law, National Security, and Human Rights

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

This course will examine how international law deals with the tension between two highly prominent concerns of the early twenty-first century: protecting national security and protecting human rights. We begin with an overview of basic principles of international law, and of U.S. domestic legal authority for national security activities. We then move to the regime of international law that is devoted to the protection of human rights. This includes treaties dealing with human rights in general; those that address specific subjects, such as torture and genocide; and customary international law. Our focus then moves to international humanitarian law, which is the legal regime that governs the use of force. This includes provisions that relate both to when parties may resort to the use of force, and how they must conduct themselves when they do so. We will explore the debate over whether humanitarian law should displace human rights law in situations of armed conflict, or whether the two bodies of law should be applied in ways that reconcile their approaches as much as possible.

The course then turns to national security concerns that serve as a vehicle for exploring the interaction of human rights and humanitarian law, with a focus on terrorism. To what extent should counter-terrorism be seen as law enforcement, in which case human rights law governs, and to what extent should it be seen as armed conflict, in which case humanitarian law provides primary guidance? If it has elements of both, what should be the respective roles of human rights and humanitarian law in regulating counter-terrorism? We will focus in depth on five topics that raise these questions: the incorporation of human rights protections in armed conflict, criminal investigation and prosecution of terrorism, targeted killing, covert action and special operations, and cyber operations. The course will include two review sessions at approximately one-third and two-thirds through the semester. These will be devoted to analysis of problems relating to topics covered in specific units of the course.

We will make extensive use of case studies and problems to explore the complex legal, political, and moral questions that arise with respect to the issues we discuss. We also will also be working with statutes that relate to various types of national security issues. In addition, events in the news are sure to provide constant vivid examples of the significance of the concepts that we will be discussing throughout the course. In these ways, the course will provide students with a practical understanding of international law through an in-depth examination of how it operates at the intersection of two specific fields that are undergoing dynamic changes.

Learning objectives for the course are:

  1. For you to become familiar with basic concepts in international law, especially with regard to treaties, customary law, and how international law interacts with domestic law in the United States.
  2. For you to become familiar with basic concepts in international human rights law, United Nations and European Conventions on basic human rights, and their impacts on domestic law.
  3. For you to become familiar with the basic provisions of international law that deal with when states may use military force, and that govern how such force may be used in armed conflict.
  4. Based on your understanding of the subjects described above, for you to appreciate how many contemporary national security concerns present challenges for which neither human rights law nor the law on military force is fully adequate -- which means that creative thinking is necessary in addressing these concerns.

Note: This course is a first-year elective. First-year day students select an elective offered in the spring.

LAW 1415 v00 International Migration, Mobility and Human Rights Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

Since time immemorial, migrations have shaped human communities. Migration is in the DNA of Humankind and our history as an animal species is that of a continuous migration towards resources. Migration is a constant of civilisation, and borders, as a very recent concept, are over the long run an ineffective barrier to migration.

During the last centuries, migrations increased considerably, in both distance and numbers. Continents have been populated by external migration, to the detriment of indigenous peoples who had themselves earlier come from somewhere else.

In the past fifty years, this movement has accelerated, due to the democratisation of means of communication and mass transport. States nowadays wish for an immigration that can contribute to economic growth, but fear that migration might increase the poorer part of their population, destabilize ecosystems and multiply political conflicts.

States in the “New World” have adopted broad immigration policies, selecting “the best and the brightest”. Source countries are thus losing a good portion of their human capital, a loss which is only partly compensated by the remittances that many migrants send back home.

The European Union has adopted a policy of free movement of capital, goods, services and persons within its common territory, therefore completing an integrated common market. This principle is not applicable to non-European citizens and “Fortress Europe” certainly seems well established, as exemplified by the present “migrant crisis” in Europe.

The 20th century has been that of the refugees. Communism, totalitarianism, decolonisation, cold-war-based conflicts, post-Cold-War ethnic conflicts have all taken their toll on human populations, forcing millions to flee. The legal concept of “refugee” has emerged and a status defined, now monitored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. A common doctrine of universal human rights has also been developed, applying equally to migrants, despite rampant discrimination against them.

The 21st century will be that of human mobility. Migration happens, whether we want it or not. Push factors (violence and poverty) and pull factors (stability, prosperity, as well as official or unacknowledged labour markets) are at works and borders remain porous, especially democratic ones.

Through permanent or temporary labour migration programmes, highly-qualified migration mechanisms, regional agreements establishing an area of free movement of persons, mobility provisions in free-trade agreements, the inception of a global migration governance regime can be delineated.

Unfortunately, the human rights of migrants are not often a priority, as vulnerable migrants cannot vote, rarely protest and mobilise little, for fear of detection, detention and deportation.

This seminar will examine many aspects of migration and mobility policies as they relate to international human rights law.

Note: This course will meet on the following Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:00 am - 11:00 am: 8/29, 8/31, 9/12, 9/14, 9/26, 9/28, 10/11 (Monday classes meet), 10/12, 10/17, 10/19, 11/28 and 11/30.

LAW 520 v00 International Women's Human Rights Clinic

J.D. Clinic | 10 credit hours

Please see the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic website for more detailed information about the program.

For registration-specific supplemental materials, please see the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic PDF.

For information about clinic registration generally, please see the Clinic Registration Handbook.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this clinic and an externship or a practicum course.

LAW 456 v01 International Women’s Human Rights Seminar

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This seminar will explore select international women’s human rights issues and the applicable international legal framework, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW.) Guest lecturers with practical expertise in advancing women’s human rights may be invited to join us throughout the semester. Each student will write a paper addressing a significant international women’s human rights issue from a legal perspective, exploring state responsibility under the government’s international human rights obligations, as well as domestic and international responses to the problem.

LAW 1334 v00 Justice and Accountability for International Atrocity Crimes: Bridging Theory and Practice Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This seminar examines both progress and ongoing challenges in seeking meaningful justice and accountability for serious international crimes, including crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes. We’ll begin with an overview of the challenges of effective atrocity prevention and an examination of fundamental developments over the last few decades establishing international and hybrid criminal tribunals and other mechanisms of transitional justice, including truth and reconciliation commissions. Building on this foundation, and drawing upon legal scholarship, social science research, and country case studies, we will then explore a range of responses to key justice challenges recurring in a number of countries emerging from conflict. These challenges include: (1) the often complicated relationship between peace processes and justice initiatives; (2) the question of whose justice goals are being pursued and how national, regional, and international stakeholders interact in such efforts; and (3) the complexities of building enduring justice on the ground through meaningful domestic rule of law reform, outreach, cultural engagement, and other means. Students will write a substantial seminar paper within the subject matter scope of the seminar.

LAW 1658 v00 Law and Philosophy: Hannah Arendt: Evil, Human Rights, and Law

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This seminar will focus on Hannah Arendt, one of the 20th century’s great political philosophers. Arendt is best known for the phrase “banality of evil,” which she coined to describe ordinary people who participate in extraordinary evils. Her questions about how the law should respond to radical evil are central to modern international criminal law. Arendt’s writings also include penetrating discussions of nationalism, human rights, personal responsibility under dictatorship, moral judgment, and the nature of political action. A stateless person herself for almost 20 years after she fled Hitler’s Germany, Arendt was one of the first philosophers to analyze the plight refugees. Above all, Arendt was interested in how freedom and pluralism can be preserved in “dark times,” her name for periods of crisis when politics and morality both seem in danger of collapse.

The seminar will focus on Arendt’s writings, but students will be encouraged to link them to current issues, both in class and in their seminar papers. We will explore both the strengths and weaknesses of Arendt’s ideas. Readings will include The Origins of Totalitarianism, Eichmann in Jerusalem, Responsibility and Judgment, selections from Arendt’s other books and correspondence, and writing by other relevant philosophers.

A background in philosophy or political theory is not a prerequisite for this seminar; a willingness to engage with philosophical ideas is essential.

LAW 1207 v00 Negotiating a Joint Venture in China

J.D. Seminar | 1 credit hour

Through a simulation oriented course, students will be exposed to recent economic history of the People’s Republic of China, foreign direct investment law of China, and negotiating norms of US and Chinese investors. These various knowledge sets will be brought together as each participant takes on the role of either a Chinese investor or a US investor, negotiating the terms of a China-based joint venture and ultimately reporting back to their respective board of directors. In addition to the negotiations exercises, the course requires a brief quality-driven paper on any number of topics relating to China as an economic actor on the world stage.

Note: ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY AT ALL CLASS SESSIONS. Enrolled students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain enrolled. Waitlisted students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain eligible to be admitted off the waitlist. All enrolled students must attend each class session in its entirety. Failure to attend the first class session in its entirety will result in a drop; failure to attend any subsequent class session in its entirety may result in a withdrawal.

Enrolled students will have until the beginning of the second class session to request a drop by contacting the Office of the Registrar; a student who no longer wishes to remain enrolled after the second class session begins will not be permitted to drop the class but may request a withdrawal from an academic advisor in the Office of Academic Affairs. Withdrawals are permitted up until the last class for this specific course.

LAW 440 v04 Refugee Law and Policy

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

This course examines domestic refugee law and policy, with particular focus on asylum and other refugee-related claims for protection that arise in the U.S. legal system. Students will become familiar with the key actors in the asylum and refugee law arena, including the U.S. Congress, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the federal courts, and international entities.

The course objectives are: (1) to equip students with an understanding of the principles of refugee policy, asylum law, and the United States' procedures for refugee protection, and (2) to provide students with a practical appreciation for how refugee policy is formed and a working knowledge of asylum law, which will serve as a foundation for academic research, clinical study, employment, pro bono work, and/or internship opportunities within the U.S. government and the NGO community.

In addition to focusing on the refugee definition as interpreted by U.S. courts, we will examine the processes for adjudicating asylum claims -- where the system works and where it fails. We will also seek to understand the limits of asylum law and explore the toughest issues facing asylum adjudicators and policy makers today.

Note: Priority is given to students fulfilling the requirements of the Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies.

LAW 1071 v00 Reproductive Health and International Human Rights Law (Project-Based Practicum)

J.D. Practicum | 4 credit hours

In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professor. This project-based practicum course will focus on the interaction between international human rights law and reproductive health and rights.  Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out 10 hours/week of project work under the direction of the course professor.

SEMINAR: The seminar will begin by providing an overview of international human rights law as it pertains to reproductive rights. The course will then focus on access to reproductive health from an international perspective, examining States’ obligations on a variety of issues, such as maternal mortality and coerced sterilization. Analyzing recent decisions emerging from regional and international human rights bodies, such as the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission and Court on Human Rights and the CEDAW Committee (UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women), the seminar component will provide a solid legal foundation for students to develop their experiential/field placement projects.

PROJECT WORK: Students will work with external partners on legal and policy projects related to reproductive health. Some of the projects may include drafting amicus briefs for cases currently pending before international bodies, and drafting briefs assessing a particular State's compliance with human rights law regarding sexual and reproductive rights to be filed in front of UN bodies (shadow reports). Through these projects, students will learn how to conduct an analysis of existing legal and regulatory frameworks for sexual and reproductive health from a human rights perspective. Students will also learn how to use epidemiological data to support and craft compelling human rights law arguments for advancing public policy on, for example, maternal mortality and sexual violence prevention and eradication. By working with external civil society organizations, the course will give students the opportunity to develop practical projects using international human rights law to advocate for the advancement of reproductive health rights. In the past, external partners have included organizations working on women's rights issues, such as: the Center for Reproductive Rights, Women’s Link Worldwide, Human Rights Watch (Women’s Rights Division), IPAS, and Southern Africa Litigation Centre, among others.

Prerequisite: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum course and a clinic or another practicum course. Students may concurrently enroll in this practicum course and an externship.

Note: This practicum course is open to LL.M. students, space permitting. Interested LL.M. students should email the Office of the Registrar (lawreg@georgetown.edu) to request admission.

Evening students who work during the day are encouraged to reach out to the professor to discuss whether this practicum course would be compatible with their schedules.

This is a four credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and two credits will be awarded for approximately 10 hours of supervised project work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. Both the seminar and the project work will be graded.

Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and project components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and project components.

Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar (out of 13 total seminar sessions), or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work (out of a total of 11 weeks of fieldwork or project work), may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

LAW 837 v00 Research with Human Subjects: Law, Policy & Ethics

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This course provides an opportunity to explore issues related to the use of humans as research subjects. The course will begin by examining the history of human subject research, including the abuses that led to the creation of our modern legal protections. Following a discussion of the ethical principles of research involving humans, we will carefully explore the legal treatment of human subjects, focusing on US regulations and international instruments. Core sources will include: the Common Rule (45 CFR 46), Belmont Report, Declaration of Helsinki, Nuremberg Code, and CIOMS. After exploring a series of foundational themes and issues through the first half of the semester, the remainder of the class will focus on in-depth case studies. Topics may include: international research, research involving vulnerable populations (children, prisoners, and pregnant women), informed consent, research on subjects with impaired decision-making abilities, genetic/genomic research, risk-benefit analysis, coercion/undue inducement, use of placebos, and IRB governance.


This seminar provides opportunities for participants to engage in a research and writing project related to humans as research subjects. Participants will conduct independent research and scholarly writing on important problems at the intersection of law, policy and ethics.

Note: This seminar requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement for JD students. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement for JD students.

LAW 1353 v00 Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Sex Characteristics and International Human Rights Law (Project-Based Practicum)

J.D. Practicum | 4 credit hours

In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of the professor. This project-based practicum course will focus on issues of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics from an international human rights law perspective. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out 10 hours/week of project work under the direction of the course professor.

Background: Every day, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people are victims of multiple human rights violations, which are directly linked to the lack of acceptance (by society and the State) of their non-normative sexualities, gender identities or gender expressions. Some of the most common human rights violations of LGBTQ people include killings, torture, ill-treatment, “corrective” or punishing rape,"conversion therapy," discrimination in schools, in the workplace and in accessing health services, among many others. Intersex persons face human rights violations because of the general lack of acceptance of their bodies that differ from the socially accepted standards of “female” and “male” bodies. Because of their sex characteristics, intersex people often face human rights violations including irreversible non-consented and non-medically necessary genital surgery at the early stages of infancy and throughout childhood, as well as forced sterilization, among others.

SEMINAR: The course will take a close look at some of the human rights violations faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people, or other people perceived as such, as well as the corresponding States’ obligations under international human rights law. The students will analyze landmark and recent decisions emerging from regional and international human rights monitoring bodies, which have developed standards around these categories. This analysis will provide a solid legal foundation for students to develop their projects for external partners.

PROJECT WORK: Students will work, under the direction of the professor, with external partners on legal and policy projects, including conducting legal research and drafting memoranda on specific human rights issues faced by LGBTQI people, preparing shadow reports to present before international human rights bodies, conducting analysis of legislation or a related case, among others. External partners vary every year, and include international and domestic leading human rights organizations working on the promotion and protection of the rights of LGBTQI people at the international level.

Prerequisite: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum course and a clinic or another practicum course. Students may concurrently enroll in this practicum course and an externship.

Note: This practicum course is open to LL.M. students, space permitting. Interested LL.M. students should email the Office of the Registrar (lawreg@georgetown.edu) to request admission.

Evening students who work during the day are encouraged to reach out to the professor to discuss whether this practicum course would be compatible with their schedules.

This is a four credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and two credits will be awarded for approximately 10 hours of supervised project work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. Both the seminar and the project work will be graded.

Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and project components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and project components.

Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar (out of 13 total seminar sessions), or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work (out of a total of 11 weeks of fieldwork or project work), may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

LAW 3085 v00 The Nuremberg Trials, the Doctors Trials

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

The Doctors Trial considered the fate of twenty-three German physicians who either participated in the Nazi program to euthanize persons deemed "unworthy of life" (the mentally ill, mentally retarded, or physically disabled) or who conducted experiments on concentration camp prisoners without consent. The Doctors Trial lasted 140 days. Eighty-five witnesses testified and almost 1,500 documents were introduced. Sixteen of the doctors charged were found guilty. Seven were executed.

The Doctors Trial provides a significant and important example of human rights violations and serves as a lesson in law and bioethics vital to understanding how law evolved from an initial eugenics policy to and including the horrible examples that framed human atrocities during WW II. 

This course will highlight examples from Jeanne Guillemin's "Hidden Atrocites, Japanese Germ Warfare and American Obstruction of Justice at the Tokyo Trial", Joel Dimsdale's  "Anatomy of Malice" examining the psychological assessments necessary for the trials, and Vivien Spitz's "Doctors from Hell", delving deep into the actual court transcripts from the proceedings. Ben Ferenz's work, one of the actual prosecutors at the trials, will also be included as insight into this tragic period. 

LAW 1741 v00 The United States and Human Rights Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This seminar examines the role of the United States in shaping international human rights law and advancing the realization of these rights both at home and abroad. The US role since World War II is significant but also complicated, marked by leadership but also ambivalence.  The US stance toward international human rights has always been deeply shaped by human rights struggles at home -- over racial injustice, gender discrimination, and economic inequality – and by US ambivalence about participating in various multilateral treaties and institutions.  Increasingly, advancing human rights at home and abroad are profoundly interconnected, especially as the United States and the world confront urgent problems of climate change, Covid 19, economic inequality and other threats to human dignity that cross borders and affect us all.

With the United States so deeply divided politically, how can US leaders best move ahead to protect human rights at home and to advance human rights abroad? Do the foundations of international human rights law – rooted in the universal affirmation of inherent human dignity and equality – provide new promise going forward, and can greater empathy and common purpose be nurtured across political divides at home and abroad? What tangible mechanisms and strategies can best address the most urgent human rights challenges today? Who will be the key actors in these efforts, and what roles can state and local governments, civil society organizations, individuals and local groups and others play, in addition to the longstanding role of the federal government? Does the US system of federalism offer promising avenues for progress on urgent human rights issues or do deep divisions within the United States today undercut the prospects for consistent US leadership abroad? This seminar will explore these questions systematically. Students will write a substantial seminar paper within the subject matter scope of the seminar.

LAW 937 v01 War Crimes & Prosecutions

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 1 credit hour

This course focuses on international war crimes and legal actions taken against war crimes violators. Using such topics as the abuse allegations as irregular rendition, the trial of Saddam Hussein, the arrest warrant for Omar Al-Bashir, the Armenian Genocide, and other events, the course will explore in depth topics such as the principal international war crimes, universal jurisdiction and issues surrounding jurisdiction to conduct war crimes trials, civil remedies for war crimes under the Alien Tort Statute, who should conduct war crimes trials, and other matters. Students will be expected to write a paper, approximately 12-15 pages, on a topic of their choosing pertaining to war crimes, and to participate in class discussions.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this seminar and Law of War, Law of War Seminar, or War Crimes, Terrorism and International Criminal Procedure.

Note: ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY AT ALL CLASS SESSIONS. Enrolled students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain enrolled. Waitlisted students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain eligible to be admitted off the waitlist. All enrolled students must attend each class session in its entirety. Failure to attend the first class session in its entirety will result in a drop; failure to attend any subsequent class session in its entirety will result in a withdrawal.

Enrolled students will have until the beginning of the second class session to request a drop by contacting the Office of the Registrar; a student who no longer wishes to remain enrolled after the second class session begins will not be permitted to drop the class but may request a withdrawal from an academic advisor in the Office of Academic Affairs. Withdrawals are permitted up until the last class for this specific course.