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Buhm-Suk Baek

Buhm-Suk Baek

J.S.D. Candidate
J.S.D. Editor  Cornell International Law Journal
Status: In Residence


Mr. Baek earned his LL.B. from Seoul National University in South Korea in 1998. During his undergraduate studies, he was a member of the Korean national team of the P. C. Jessup Moot Competition in Washington D.C. His high honor’s thesis was “Legal Aspects of the Political Offense Exception to Extradition.” After graduation, he worked at two semi-conductor companies as a legal counselor and resigned in 2003 to study at Yonsei Graduate School of International Studies. In 2006, he obtained his master’s degree in International Relations. His thesis “Definition of Crimes of Aggression in International Criminal Court” received the Minister’s Award in the international law thesis competition held by the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During his graduate studies, he worked at Advocates Korea, one of the biggest law professionals’ human rights NGOs in Korea as an administrative manager. In 2006-2007, Mr. Baek obtained his LL.M. from Cornell Law School. His thesis was “Economic Sanctions Against Gross Human Rights Violations” under the supervision of Prof. Muna Ndulo. In the fall of 2007 Mr. Baek began his J.S.D. studies at Cornell Law School.


Mr. Baek’s dissertation is entitled “Do We Need National Human Rights Institutions? The Role of NHRIs in the Protection of Human Rights and Good Governance,” under the direction of Prof. Muna Ndulo. In the dissertation, he analyses the creation of numerous National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in the form of commissions, ombudsman offices, or hybrids of both, in the past two decades, and their development driven by the human rights discourse in U.N. initiatives such as the 1991 “Paris Principles.” At present, there are over 118 countries with NHRIs or similar bodies.

Mr. Baek’s research project examines whether NHRIs are becoming prominent actors in national, regional, and international human rights arenas, and whether they have an impact in influencing human rights protection in individual countries. It focuses on the study of public policies and draft legislation, considering their functions under the purpose of the institutionalization of human rights on the national, regional, and international level.

Research Interests

  • International Human Rights Law
  • Public International Law
  • Law and Development
  • International Criminal Law and Comparative Law (East Asian Legal System)


  • Cornell Law School, J.S.D. Candidate 2007-Present
  • Cornell Law School, LL.M. 2007
  • Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University, Korea, M.A.2006
  • Seoul National University, Korea, LL.B. 1998

Appointments and Fellowships

  • Cornell Law School Graduate Fellowship, Cornell Law School, 2007-2009
  • J.S.D. Editor of Cornell International Law Journal

Representative Publications

  • “Impunity to Human Rights Abuser? : The Case of North Korea’s Abductions of Japanese Citizens,” Cornell Advocates For Human Rights Newsletter, Spring 2008.

Additional Information

  • Reading List
  • Languages: English, Korean, Japanese, German (able to read and conduct research)