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.


Professor Martin Authors Economic Sanctions Report

Graphic: Cover of Economic Sanctions Under International Law report.

Professor Craig Martin's report, Economic Sanctions Under International Law: A Guide for Canadian Policy, was published in November 2021 by the Rideau Institute. Co-published with the Human Rights Research at Education Centre, University of Ottawa and part of a co-project with the Group of 78, the report provides a detailed analysis of the several international law regimes implicated by economic sanctions and assesses the various possible legal objections to the different kinds of sanctions. It concludes that there remain a number of unsettled aspects regarding the lawfulness of autonomous economic sanctions, and suggests that this calls for caution in considering the scope and application of Canadian economic sanctions policy. (Versions: English (1 MB PDF) | French (1 MB PDF)) Professor Martin is also the inaugural Senior Fellow at the Rideau Institute, a Canadian foreign affairs and defense policy think tank.

Washburn Law Students Develop Carbon Emissions Proposals

Photograph: Freddy Sourgens with Washburn Law students who developed carbon emissions proposals briefs.

As the COP26 climate talks opened in Glasgow, five Washburn law students — Heather Kellum, 2L; Al Kishek, 3L; Gabrielle Frawley, 2L; John Spisak, 3L; and Gustavy Niemtschik, 3L — and Professor Freddy Sourgens worked with OPEC's General Counsel on a proposal to cut carbon emissions while meeting global development needs through 2nd gen net-zero pledges. The proposal appeared in the inaugural issue of the Vienna Briefs on Decarbonization, Energy & Development. (Brief 1 (with Leonardo Sempertegui) | Brief 2). Pictured left to right: Professor Freddy Sourgens, Dean Carla Pratt, Heather Kellum, Al Kishek, Gabrielle Frawley, and John Spisak.

Professor Sourgens Publishes Articles

Graphic: cover of University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, volume 32, issue 3.Professor Freddy Sourgens has recently published three articles. "A Parisian Consensus," forthcoming in the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, argues that the reason for the current policy impasse regarding global climate action is that the focus lies on climate change as an environmental problem as opposed to an energy problem. "Cancelling Schmitt," in the European Journal of International Law, discusses the need for (international) lawyers to engage with the thought of Carl Schmitt and Martin Heidegger rather than cancelling or avoiding it. "Cyber-Nuisance," in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, explores the legal nature of cyberspace in international law and makes arguments for a better governance paradigm.

Professor Freddy Sourgens Presents on Climate Litigation

Professor Freddy Sourgens presented on climate litigation in the U.S. at the 3rd Annual Legal Workshop on National Climate Laws hosted by the OPEC Secretariat with the Energy Charter Secretariat and the OPEC Fund for International Development on October 18, 2021. The workshop, held via videoconference, gathered leading energy stakeholders from around the world to discuss global energy law developments.

Professor Craig Martin Discusses Hate Speech

Graphic: Program for online panel discussion.
See the program flyer.

Professor Craig Martin was a discussant on a panel with authors of the recent book Hate Speech in Japan: The Possibility of a Non-Regulatory Approach. Professor Martin has written on comparative approaches to hate speech laws and freedom of expression.

Delano Lewis '63, Helps Washburn Law Celebrate Black History Month

Screenshot: Delano Lewis.

Washburn alumnus Delano Lewis, former Ambassador of the United States to South Africa and former President and CEO of NPR, spoke to Washburn Law students, faculty, and staff during the law school's Black History Month celebration.

Professor Sourgens Appointed to ASIL Executive Council

Photograph: Freddy Sourgens.

Professor Freddy Sourgens was appointed for a three-year term to the eight-person Executive Council of the American Society of International Law (ASIL). ASIL is widely considered to be the premiere international law organization in the world. Big congratulations to Professor Sourgens!

2021 Jessup International Law Moot Court Team

The Washburn Law Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition Team participated in the Regional Round in late February 2021. The 2020-2021 problem concerned a global pandemic, and the obligations and responses of States with respect to the outbreak. It also involved questions of the jurisdiction of the Court, a desperate claim for political asylum by an alleged rogue scientist, and State responsibility for a suspicious aircraft explosion. Washburn Law was represented by Desiree "Desi" K. Smith, Deisy "Pam" Saenz (of counsel), Professor Craig Martin (faculty advisor), Tyler R. Laudick, Christina J. Brunton, and Brett Combs (left to right in photo).

Photograph: Washburn Law's 2020-2021 Jessup Moot Court team.

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.

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Photograph: Tonya Kowalska.
Antonina Kowalska
Professor of Law and Director of International Legal Programs
Photograph: Craig Martin.
Craig Martin
Professor of Law
Photograph: Noelle Relph.

Noelle Relph
2022-2023 Clerk, International and Comparative Law Center

Graphic: Give to the International and Comparative Law Center.

Support Washburn Law's International and Comparative Law Center by clicking "Give" above. Please contact Patrick Mikesic ( or (785) 670-1869) or Kaitlin Alegria ( or (785) 670-2781) if you would like to discuss giving options.

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!"