International and Comparative Law Center

Global Legal Systems
from the
Center of the Nation

The International and Comparative Law Center works to coordinate the education of Washburn Law students in international and comparative law — helping them to understand not only international law and foreign legal systems, but to deepen their understanding of their own system of law, and to prepare them for a modern legal career. The Center also supports and promotes the work of Washburn faculty members in their research, writing, and conference work, their teaching and other educational activities, as well as in their more practical work in international and comparative law, both at home and abroad, in a wide range of specializations.


Law of War Podcast Launched

Graphic: JIB/JAB podcast icon.

Professor Craig Martin this summer launched a new podcast called "JIB/JAB - The Laws of War Podcast," in which he has conversations with renowned experts in the field on various hot topics and difficult issues relating to the different legal regimes that govern the use of force and armed conflict. You can find the podcast at, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Coronavirus / COVID-19 Resources

Graphic: COVID-19 virus.

For those who want to go beyond our very brief introduction to some of the international law aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a number of resources on-line that we would recommend. For research purposes, the American Society of International Law (ASIL) has unlocked and made free all of its on-line resources, including articles in the American Journal of International Law, that relate to pandemics. The starting point for that resource can be found here. In addition, there are a number of blogs that cover international and national security law that are providing detailed ongoing coverage of the myriad law and policy aspects of the pandemic. We would recommend:

Martin Presents at Columbia University Symposium

Professor Craig Martin presented a paper on climate change crisis implications for the international law regime that governs the use of force and armed conflict, at a climate change symposium at Columbia University Law School in New York City on March 3, 2020. A draft of the article, which will be published in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, is available on SSRN.

Photograph: Craig Martin presenting at Columbia University.

2020 Jessup International Law Moot Court Team

The Washburn Law Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition Team participated in the Rocky Mountain Regional Round at the University of Denver Strum School of Law in late February this year. The 2019-20 Jessup problem involved the complex legal issues arising from violent incursions by armed criminal cartels, the construction of a wall of fully-autonomous weapons system along a common border, the imposition of unilateral tariffs, the arrest and detention of a foreign minister for war crimes, and the overlapping jurisdiction of international tribunals. Washburn Law was represented by Brett Combs (1L representative); Ivan Moya and Deisy "Pam" Saenz (applicants); Lillian A. Chin (of-counsel to both sides); Tyler R. Laudick and Desiree "Desi" K. Smith (respondents); and Professor Craig Martin (faculty advisor) (left to right in photo).

Photograph: Washburn Law's 2019-2020 Jessup Moot Court team.

James May Discusses Dignity in Law

Professor James May of Widener University Delaware School of Law, a scholar, expert, and activist on issues relating to climate change law, visited Washburn Law on February 5-6, 2020, speaking to the students, presenting a paper to the faculty, and appearing as a guest expert in Professor Martin's climate change seminar. He spoke on the relationship between the concept of dignity in both constitutional law and international human rights law, and the efforts to respond to the climate change crisis

Photograph: James May.

Martin Presents at Osaka University

Professor Craig Martin attended the Asian Law and Society Conference at Osaka University, Japan, where he presented a paper on the climate change crisis and the law on the use of force, as part of the Presidential Panel on the Anthropocene and the Law. Professor Martin is pictured with Professors Mark Levin of the University of Hawaii, and Sang Soo Lee and Yong Chul Park of the Sogang University in South Korea.

Photograph: Craig Martin with Professors Mark Levin, Sang Soo Lee, and Yong Chul Park.

Martin Speaks on Torture at Westminster College

Professor Craig Martin gave a talk on torture at Westminster College in Fulton Missouri, a venue famous for Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech, in October 2019. The local Fulton newspaper provided a review of the event.

Photograph: Craig Martin speaking at Westminster College. Photo courtesy Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

Westbrook Presents on International Trade in Kansas

Professor Westbrook presented "Recent Developments in Agricultural Trade” at the Agribusiness Symposium in Hutchinson, Kansas, in September 2019. The presentation focused on the U.S-China trade war and efforts to pass the new NAFTA, now known as the USMCA.

Recent Graduate Begins LL.M. in Czech Republic

Marvin Tador, who graduated from Washburn Law in 2019, and was the Clerk of the ICLC for the 2017-2019 academic years, commenced an LL.M. at Charles University in the Czech Republic this Spring. He is pursuing his interest in international human rights and international climate change law. Prior to his studies at Washburn Law, Marvin was an officer in the United States Army, during which time he served in Europe.

Photograph: Marvin Tador.

Rich Teaches Freedom of Speech in Georgia

Professor Bill Rich co-taught a one-week summer school course involving comparative analysis of freedom of speech as practiced in the United States, the European Court on Human Rights, and the Constitutional Court of Georgia. The course took place at the Constitutional Court in Batumi, Georgia. Thirty students from law schools throughout Georgia participated.

Martin Presents on Climate Change in Philippines

Professor Craig Martin presented a new article, "Atmospheric Intervention: The Climate Change Crisis and the Jus ad Bellum Regime," on a panel chaired by Judge Hisashi Owada (ret'd) of the International Court of Justice, at the Asian Society of International Law Biennial Conference in Manila, The Philippines, in August 2019. The article will be published Spring 2020 in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law.

Sourgens Co-Chairs Oxford Conference on International Investment

Professor Freddy Sourgens again co-chaired the Investment Claims Summer Academy convened by Oxford University Press in Oxford in July 2019, bringing together practitioners and academics to discuss cutting edge issues in international arbitrations between states and foreign investors. Professor Sourgens also serves as a peer reviewer for Oxford University Press.

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Photograph: Tonya Kowalski.
Tonya Kowalski
Professor of Law and Director of International Legal Programs
Photograph: Craig Martin.
Craig Martin
Professor of Law
Photograph: Mikaela Gibbs.

Mikaela Gibbs
2021-2022 Clerk, International and Comparative Law Center

Alumni Profile
Photograph: Paula Appelhans.

Paula Appelhans
Class of 1998

Paula works as a research associate with the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) in Singapore on public policy issues related to gender equality, anti-discrimination in the workplace, disability, health care access and health care finance. Her current research joins with American University's Institute for Disabled Public Policy and focuses on the implementation, monitoring and enforcement mechanisms of the UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disability in ASEAN countries.

Paula began her career after Washburn in health care law which included a focus on hospital acquisitions. She repositioned her career in 2009 by entering the University of Essex, England for a degree in Health Care Law and Human Rights.

Paula credits Washburn's research and writing excellence for making the transition to international law and public policy research. "It was a tough course even back when I was in school, but the methodology really stands out as I work with different countries around the world."

Alumni Profile
Photograph: Jessica Dorsey.

Jessica Dorsey
Class of 2008

Jessica is Senior Legal and Policy Officer at Rights Watch (UK); she carries out research and advocacy related to human rights, counterterrorism, and national security issues. She is also an Associate Fellow at the International Center for Counter-Terrorism--The Hague; her research concentrates on foreign fighters and counterterrorism-related human rights issues. Jessica focused on the use and proliferation of armed drones in a previous position as a Project Officer in the Humanitarian Disarmament department of PAX. The European Parliament contracted Jessica in 2017 to publish a study outlining policy guidance for the use of armed drones for European Member States. She has also worked as a Researcher at the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and collaborated with the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. She is the Assistant Editor of the international law weblog Opinio Juris.

Jessica's career path began at Washburn Law. She earned an International and Comparative Law Certificate and attended the study abroad program at Utrecht University. She went on to do an LL.M. at Utrecht. Jessica writes that:

"All of this happened after having been introduced to the subject matter and opportunities in international law at Washburn Law!"