On March 4, the International Criminal Court at The Hague issued its first arrest warrant for a sitting head of state—Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir—for his role in the Darfur conflict that reportedly has left 300,000 dead since 2003. The warrant charges al-Bashir with war crimes and crimes against humanity for intentionally directing attacks "murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing, and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians, and pillaging their property."
When Beth Van Schaack, associate professor at Santa Clara Law, heard of the warrant, she was elated. Three years ago, Van Schaack participated as a prosecutor in a mock trial of al-Bashir in New York designed to draw attention to the atrocities in Sudan and the need to hold its president accountable. At the end, the participants sent their materials to the ICC, with hope that the fledgling organization would prosecute al-Bashir. Hearing about the warrant "was exciting," says Van Schaack, "because, even though he wasn't charged with genocide, the ICC's theory of culpability was the same as we had put forth in the mock trial."
The day the warrant was issued, students in Van Schaack's Legal Aspects of War class engaged in a long discussion about whether the ICC should take into account the political situation in the country when it issues indictments, or simply look at the evidence. About half the class believed the ICC should look only at whether the evidence supported an indictment; the other half believed it should consider the effect the indictment might have on the country's political situation. As it happened, al-Bashir's response to the warrant was "to retaliate against the people and kick out the NGOs [non-governmental organizations]," says Van Schaack.
Van Schaack, who holds a B.A. from Stanford and a J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was editor of the Yale Law Journal, has a keen interest in the workings of international criminal justice systems. Just out of law school, she worked for the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. She has been concerned that Sudan will turn into another Rwanda, where, she says, "The world stood largely silent while entire communities were exterminated with rudimentary farm tools."
Van Schaack is heartened by the developments in international criminal justice systems. "Finally we have established a functioning system of international justice," she says. "The international community has made the policy choice that accountability is important. We have a lot more to do in terms of rehabilitating victims and making reparations, but we have done the high-level work of getting these systems into place."
Van Schaack, who joined Santa Clara Law in 2003, teaches International Criminal Law, Transitional Justice, The Legal Aspects of War, Human Rights: Theory & Practice, and Civil Procedure, among other courses. She also coaches the law school's Jessup International Moot Court team, among others. She plays a key role in the school's international law program, one of Santa Clara Law's "destination" programs that draw students from across the country and around the globe. With 18 faculty members, including internationally known legal experts, and more study abroad locations than any other law school in the country, the program trains students for important roles in the international business, judicial, and human rights communities.
One such student is Kirsten Bowman '05 (Read her story here). After clerking at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague after her second year of law school and interning at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania during her third year, she is now a legal advisor to Judge Rene Blattmann of the International Criminal Court. Judge Blattman is currently hearing the ICC's first case, against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In 2008, Santa Clara Law hired David Sloss as a professor of law and director of the Center for Global Law and Policy. Sloss holds a master's degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. He worked for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency prior to law school and came to Santa Clara from Saint Louis University Law School. An expert on international law, international human rights, and U.S. foreign relations law, Sloss teaches International Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Relations Law.
Sloss is working to further strengthen the Center for Global Law and Policy, an umbrella organization that coordinates work on all the varied international law programs that Santa Clara offers. "We plan to maintain the core programs of the Center," says Sloss, "including workshops, lectures and symposia; to strengthen faculty enrichment; and to get the message out that Santa Clara Law is a place where people are doing serious work in international law."
Started by former Dean George Alexander and Professor Philip Jimenez in the 1970s, the international program was first seen as a way to broaden students' educational opportunities and to help faculty develop relationships overseas. Today, says Sloss, "To be a well-educated lawyer you have to know something about international and comparative law. Students who will be practicing law for the next 30 or 40 years will be dealing with people from all over the world. A narrow, U.S.-based perspective is not going to serve them well in their practice." (See his essay here.)
Dean Donald Polden says that the international program is a high priority for Santa Clara Law. "We have made, and will continue to have, a strong commitment to international law because, in our interconnected world, international law is a key aspect of legal education. In order to graduate lawyers who can lead in whatever field they choose, we must ensure our students have a deep understanding of how law is global," says Polden. "Our commitment to international human rights is a reflection of our commitment to social justice," he adds. "And our involvement in international business law reflects our aspiration to be the premiere international law school program in Silicon Valley."
Santa Clara Law students, who often come from diverse backgrounds with international experiences, are eager to add international law classes to their study. More than 30 percent of students take the opportunity to study abroad while in law school. Many students also choose to pursue certificates in International Law or High Tech International Law, and all students have a broad choice of international law-related course electives. These courses open doors to life-changing experiences abroad and jobs at the center of the international legal system. Santa Clara Law students and graduates have worked and/or interned at all the international criminal tribunals, including the tribunals for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Rwanda in Tanzania, Sierra Leone in Freetown, and the ICC in The Hague. Graduates have also defended detainees at Guantanamo. In addition, says Yaffee, graduates find jobs in international human rights and international business law around the globe from the International Red Cross to Japanese trading companies to law firms with global practices.
Students at Santa Clara Law have an added benefit. Not only do they learn the law so they are well-prepared for an increasingly global practice, but they learn it from outstanding teaching scholars such as Van Schaack who are passionate about their work.
International Law Faculty
Including Van Schaack and Sloss, Santa Clara Law has 18 faculty members teaching courses in international law. "Our faculty members are the backbone of our outstanding international law program," says Dean Donald Polden. "They are active scholars and passionate teachers of this important area of law." For complete faculty bios, publications, and more, see law.scu.edu/faculty.
Professor GERALD F. UELMEN, director of the Edwin A. Heafey, Jr. Center for Trial and Appellate Advocacy, is a noted criminal law scholar who has broadened his focus to include international law. He runs the summer program in international criminal law at The Hague. He holds J.D. and LL.M. degrees from Georgetown University Law Center.
Professor JIRI TOMAN is an internationally known humanitarian law expert who has taught in Prague at Charles University's School of Economics and School of Law, and at the University of Geneva, George Washington University, and Universite de Franche-Compte in Besancon. For nearly 20 years, he was director of the Henri Dunant Institute in Geneva, the research and training center of the International Red Cross. Toman holds a JUDr from Charles University, Prague, and a Ph.D. from the University of Geneva. At Santa Clara, Toman teaches International Law, Legal Aspects of War, Humanitarian Law, International Organizations, and a seminar in international human rights.
Associate Professor ANNA M. HAN specializes in international business transactions. She teaches Business Organizations, Chinese Trade and Investment Law, and Technology Licensing. She has directed the Hong Kong and Geneva/Strasbourg programs and is the chair of the China Law Committee of the San Francisco Bar Association. Han holds a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Professor PHILIP J. JIMENEZ has directed the summer programs in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, and Seoul. He has consulted for the Ministries of Justice in Thailand and Korea, as well as for the Korean Legal Center in Seoul. Jimenez teaches Conflict of Laws and International Business Transactions. He created a course in which Santa Clara students negotiate a simulated technology transaction with law students in Japan. Alumnus Gerald Moore '97 has funded the students' travel to Japan to meet their colleagues. Moore also sponsors a program in which students compete for a summer abroad scholarship.
Professor STEVE DIAMOND holds a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of London (Birkbeck College). He was a MacArthur Fellow in International Peace and Security. Diamond teaches Globalization and the Rule of Law and Regulation of International Business Transactions. He has been involved in representing refugees including the so-called Haitian "boat people." Diamond was a visiting scholar at Center for International Affairs, Harvard University; Center for Latin American Studies, Stanford University; Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California; and Center for U.S. Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego.
International Opportunities For Students
Can you distinguish between a ruse—allowed under the Law of Armed Conflict—and perfidy—not allowed? Students at Santa Clara Law had a chance this year to learn about "Means and Methods of Warfare" and other issues in international law in a free week-long intensive workshop on international humanitarian law hosted by the Center for Global Law and Policy and the International Committee for the Red Cross. This is one of many workshops, lectures, and other programs sponsored by the Center.
INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATES AND LL.M. DEGREES Santa Clara Law offers the International Law Certificate and the International High Tech Law Certificate. Both require specific courses in international or high-tech and international law, a 20-page paper, participation in one of Santa Clara Law's summer abroad programs, and maintaining a GPA of 3.0. The school also offers an LL.M. in International and Comparative Law. Students from other countries may earn an LL.M. in United States Law.
The Journal of International Law provides students an opportunity to explore legal issues in depth, as well as to hone their writing and editing skills and work closely with top scholars in international law.
EXTENSIVE SUMMER ABROAD OFFERINGS Santa Clara Law has summer study abroad programs in more locations than any other law school in the nation. They include: Geneva/ Strasbourg, The Hague, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Shanghai, San Jose (Costa Rica), Oxford, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Vienna/ Budapest, and Munich. In most programs, students may apply for internships in local law offices, non-governmental organizations, and courts. Students in the Istanbul program have the opportunity to work for a law firm in Dubai. Typically, around 150 students from as many as 50 other law schools participate in Santa Clara Law's summer programs.
The school also offers semester abroad programs in India, Singapore, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom (Leeds), Switzerland, and Austria.
Summer or semester-long internships are available to students through various programs, and include internship opportunities at all of the international criminal tribunals. Students who are fluent in Spanish may apply for a summer- or semester-long internship at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica.
Immersion trips to El Salvador give students the opportunity to view firsthand the legal issues in a place where hunger, homelessness, strife, corruption, and illness are so prevalent. For more information on this year's trip and a possible alumni immersion in El Salvador click here.
Santa Clara Law also offers lawyers and scholars from the U.S. and abroad opportunities to learn more about international law through study and fellowships. See law.scu.edu/graduate.
Susan Vogel is a frequent contributor to Santa Clara Law.