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Actors without Borders


Professor Jordan Paust will deliver the keynote address, International Law, Democracy, and the Arab Spring.
Professor Paust is the Mike and Teresa Baker Law Center Professor of International Law at the University of Houston Law Center. He has published extensively on relevant issues, including the role of non-state actors in international law, jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over crimes against humanity, and war crimes liability for heads of state. He is one of the most widely cited law professors in the United States and is ranked among the top 2 percent in Leiter’s studies for 2000-2007 and 2005-2009. Professor Paust has published over 180 articles, book chapters, papers and essays in law journals in Belgium, Canada, China, England, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, and the U.S.; at Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Michigan, Virginia, Cornell, Texas, Duke, the American Journal of International Law, and elsewhere, many of which address treaties, customary international law, jurisdiction, human rights, international crimes, and the incorporation of international law into U.S. domestic law.

In addition to Professor Paust, four professors will present full papers:

Hannibal Travis, Associate Professor, Florida International University College of Law, Wargaming the Twitterlutions: Judging the Causes and Consequences of the Arab Spring, and Planning for U.N. Responses
Professor Travis teaches and conducts research in the fields of cyberlaw, intellectual property, international and comparative law, and human rights. His works have focused on the intellectual property implications of new technologies and user-generated content, as well as antitrust law as applied to broadband and Wi-Fi Internet access markets. Professor Travis has also published widely on genocide, including book chapters selected for publication by Oxford University Press, and he is the author of the first comprehensive history of physical and cultural genocide in the Middle East and North Africa, entitled 'Genocide in the Middle East: The Ottoman Empire, Iraq, and Sudan' (Carolina Academic Press, 2010). His publications have appeared in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, the Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA, the Yale Journal of Law and Technology, the Northwestern University Journal of International Human Rights, and many others. Professor Travis's presentation will bring local specificity to the dialogue on the causes and consequences of the Arab Spring, focusing on the interdependence of local political and religious movements, United States government reactions to MENA Region war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the probability for unstable post-Arab Spring coalitions. In light of the potential for widespread chaos and humanitarian disaster, Professor Travis argues that the United Nations should be prepared to act more swiftly, and wisely, than it did in the wake of regime changes in Iraq.

Karima Bennoune, Professor of Law and Arthur L. Dickson Scholar, Rutgers School of Law, Feminists versus Fundamentalists: The Battle for Women’s Rights in the Democratic Spring of 2011
Professor Bennoune served as Legal Advisor at Amnesty International in London from 1995 to 1999 and, in 1995, as a delegate to the NGO Forum at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Her publications have appeared in many leading academic journals, and her most recent article, “Remembering the Other’s Others: Theorizing the Approach of International Law to Muslim Fundamentalism,” appeared in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. In 2007, Professor Bennoune became the first Arab-American to win the Derrick Bell Award from the Association of American Law Schools Section on Minority Groups.  Currently, she is completing research for a book entitled "A More Courageous Politics: Muslims Confront Fundamentalism," forthcoming from Norton in 2012.   She traveled to Algeria in February 2011 to serve as a protest observer, writing a series of articles which will also appear in several publications. Professor Bennoune's presentation will look at the dynamic interactions between feminist and fundamentalist non-state actors during and after the "Arab Spring," with a focus on North Africa. Based on her fieldwork carried out in Algeria, Egypt, and Tunisia in February and March 2011, and in Tunisia in October 2011, she argues that, although women will be impacted in contradictory ways by recent social movements, women's demands for equal citizenship are not in opposition to the revolutions of the Arab Spring, but an integral part of them.

Dr. Yaël Ronen, Assistant Professor, Sha’arei Mishpat College and Minerva Center for Human Rights, Hebrew University, Human Rights Obligations of Non-State Territorial Entities
Dr. Ronen is a member of the International Law Association Work Group on Non-State Actors. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2006 after serving as a career diplomat in the Israeli Foreign Service from 1993 to 2000.  Her research focuses on international law, international humanitarian law, armed conflict, territorial regimes, and human rights in the Balkans, the Middle East, and North Africa. Her academic works have appeared in numerous prestigious international law journals, including the International Journal of Law in Context, the Leiden Journal of International Law, the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, and the Israel Law Review, of which she was Academic Editor in 2008. Her most recent book, published by Cambridge University Press in May 2011, is entitled, "Transition from Illegal Regimes in International Law." Dr. Ronen's presentation will examine the notion of direct responsibility under international human rights law for Middle Eastern territorial entities with incomplete or questionable statehood, including the Palestinian Authority, Iraqi Kurdistan, northern Cyprus, and others. Dr. Ronen considers the attribution of human rights responsibilities as a potential corollary of the right to self-determination under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and proposes that territorial self-determination units are proper candidates for attribution of human rights obligations.

D.A. Jeremy Telman, Professor of Law, Valparaiso University School of Law, Non-State Actors in the Middle East: A Challenge for Rationalist Legal Theory
Professor Telman's publications demonstrate both disciplinary and geographical breadth. His research focuses on legal theory, international law, constitutional law and jurisprudence, United States foreign relations, and international human rights law, and his articles have appeared in History and Theory, the Akron Law Review, the New York University Review of Law & Social Change, and the South African Journal of Human Rights, among others. He earned his J.D. at New York University in 1999 after earning his doctorate in Modern European History at Cornell University in 1993. Before teaching at Valparaiso University School of Law, Professor Telman taught public international law at Brown University and practiced commercial litigation in the New York office of Sidley Austin LLP, where he also administered and participated in the firm’s pro bono asylum program.  Prior to that, he clerked for Judge Rosemary Barkett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Professor Telman's presentation will use recent events in the Middle East to highlight the difficulties with the rationalist explanatory model of international norms, questioning the view of states as rational actors seeking to achieve self-interested goals. He argues that rationalism has not established itself as a useful predictive tool and that case studies of non-state actors in Libya and Israel illustrate the failures of rationalism. Professor Telman will conclude by exploring the usefulness of normative models as descriptive tools for understanding international law as a factor in the decision-making processes of both state and non-state actors.

Shima Baradaran, Associate Professor of Law at Brigham Young University Law School, A War on Terror Financing: The Impact of International Law on Money Laundering in the Middle East and Beyond
If international law is to successfully combat global terror, policy makers must find a way to successfully control terror’s purse strings. This presentation examines how dangerous non-state actors in the Middle East and elsewhere may still be gaining undetected access to developed financial systems, despite recent efforts by the international legal community to curb the movement of illegitimate funds.