ILJ 2017 Final

2017 Cornell International Law Journal Symposium

The Cornell Law School will host the Cornell International Law Journal's annual International Law Symposium on Friday, February 17th, 2017 in Myron Taylor Hall Room 184, starting at 9:30 AM.  North Korea, after being subject to a new UN resolution in December 2016, observes changing relationships with the international community. In conjunction with the new U.S. administration, one can expect a new international policy approach towards the Hermit Kingdom.

Even with such dynamic potential, few researchers have had the occasion to gather and discuss the international law issues raised in/by the DPRK. This is why the CILJ is proud to be hosting one of the first-ever concentrated discussions on legal problems in and around North Korea in a symposium called "North Korea: The Legal Frameworks in and around the Hermit Kingdom."

The event will explore multiple areas of law. Subtopics pertaining to human rights include the trafficking of North Korean women, detention procedures for "enemies of the state," and North Korean forced labor in the European Union. Discussions will also include U.S.-Korean relations, and economic and trade sanctions on the state.

The Symposium draws attendance not only from CILJ members, but from the greater Cornell student and professional bodies and practitioners in a wide variety of fields. The Symposium results in an annual publication in the CILJ, dedicated to the scholarship produced by the speakers for the event.

It is our hope to further the exchange of knowledge, to encourage learning, and to foster new professional relationships. We would be delighted to count you among our attendees in this academic event.  If you have any questions regarding the Symposium, you can reach either Taniel Akay at or Charlotte Ruzzica - de La Chaussée at  They are the CILJ Symposium Editors.  The event is open to all interested.

Reading the Discursive Changes in the DPRK Constitution
By Dr. Immanuel Kim

The discursive alterations in the North Korean Constitution reflects the shifting political agenda since the inception of the nation.  The Constitution, initially emphasizing the right of the citizens to vote, later became an instrument to reinforce the Kim family’s power; newer iterations of the Constitution began to require absolute loyalty to the state, and enshrined the perpetuity of the war-time State.  By analyzing eight versions of the North Korean Constitution, Dr. Kim's presentation will examine how the changing discourse affects North Koreans, and how the DPRK is affected by domestic and international policies.

North Korean Illicit Activities and Sanctions
Dr. Bruce Bechtol

North Korea’s illicit activity ranges from counterfeit manufacturing, drug production, and counterfeit currency—but this activity pales in comparison to its military proliferation.  Dr. Bechtol will present on the DPRK’s proficiency at bypassing military sanction initiatives through front companies and intermediaries, and provide policy recommendations targeting money-laundering and illegal banking activity.

A U.S.–D.P.R.K. Peace Treaty as a Doctrinal Option
By Dr. Eric Lee

Dr. Lee reminds us that there are multiple ways to end an armed conflict: surrender, armistice, or peace treaty.  In reviewing the United States’ historical utilization of the peace treaty as a policy tool, Dr. Lee’s research analyzes the effects such agreements have had on regional relations, security, and interests.  He then applies such research to the possibility, contents, and effects of a U.S.-D.P.R.K. peace treaty, with policy recommendations for the new American administration.

Trafficking and Forced Repatriation of North Korean Women
By Jina Yang

Mass famine in the 1990s drove North Korean immigration to China; many of these migrants were women of all ages.  In their vulnerable state, many became victims of human trafficking, often forced into Chinese marriage in the face of feared arrest and repatriation.  Ms. Yang’s research chronicles the severe consequences of trafficking and forced repatriation to North Korea, and calls for a concerted international effort to stop such practices committed by China and North Korea in violation of international law.

Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect
By Morse Tan

The classic doctrine of international humanitarian intervention (IHI) and its recent cousin, the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), find no national situation which applies more than North Korea.  And yet, most discourse rejects unilateral intervention in favor of multilateral, through an entity such as the United Nations Security Council.  Professor Tan’s presentation discusses the compelling rationales behind applying IHI and R2P to the North Korean situation, while identifying the challenges that remain—especially in the context of forcible intervention.

North Korean Forced Labor Overseas
By Teodora Gyupchanova

Acquiring foreign currency has become increasingly difficult for the North Korean regime due to international sanctions. As a result, the practice of dispatching North Korean workers abroad has become one of the steady sources of hard currency for Kim Jong- un’s regime.  Ms. Gyupchanova's analysis shows that improvement of the conditions of the workers is achievable, but only through the coordinated, persistent efforts of the host governments and businesses aided by the work of civil society organizations and international actors with legal authority, such as the United Nations and International Labor Organization.

North Korean Detention of U.S. Citizens
By Andy Wolman

The periodic North Korean detention of U.S. citizens is a phenomenon that has generally been addressed in the West as a political issue, with political motivations and a political solution.  While this is certainly a valid perspective, these detentions are also legal actions with implications under North Korean, U.S., and international law.  Professor Wolman's paper focuses on the implications of these detentions under international law; specifically addressing the questions of whether such detentions violate international legal norms, and, what types of remedies might be available for any potential violations.