Meet Our Members – Jennifer Trahan
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the American Branch, we are pleased to introduce you to some of the members who make our organization great.
Jennifer Trahan is Clinical Professor at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs where she directs the Concentration in International Law and Human Rights, and teaches a variety of courses on International Law. She is a prolific scholar, having authored scores of law review articles and book chapters, including on the International Criminal Court’s crime of aggression. Her book “Existing Legal Limits to Security Council Veto Power in the Face of Atrocity Crimes” (Cambridge University Press, 2020) received the 2020 ABILA Book of the Year Award. She holds various positions with the American Branch of the International Law Association and serves on the Use of Force Committee of the International Law Association. Additionally, she is Convenor of the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression (GIPA), served as amicus to the ICC on the appeal of the Afghanistan situation, and served on the Council of Advisers on the Application of the Rome Statute to Cyberwarfare.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on two pieces related to military intervention on request. The first piece, provisionally entitled “Invitation to Atrocities” (co-authored with Professor Anne Peters), focuses on the legality of a request for outside military assistance where the requesting state is complicit in genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes, and considers the consequences of the invalidity of the request for the intervening state. The second piece explores when an intervention on request is mishandled to such an extent that it could constitute a “manifest” UN Charter violation and the crime of aggression.
What is an emerging issue in your field and how are you engaged in this?
In response to the horrific situation in Ukraine, under my leadership as Convenor of GIPA, the group has issued statements, inter alia, condemning the invasion, including Statement of the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression on the Situation in Ukraine and Statement of Members of the Council of Advisors on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine. In my personal capacity, I have additionally opined on The Need to Reexamine the Crime of Aggression’s Jurisdictional Regime, A Reminder of the Importance of the Crime of Aggression: Considering the Situation of Russia and Ukraine, U.N. General Assembly Should Recommend Creation of Crime of Aggression Tribunal for Ukraine: Nuremberg is Not the Model, and Aggression and the Veto. I am also exploring models for creating an ad hoc crime of aggression tribunal to be agreed upon between the UN and Ukraine, and recommended by the UN General Assembly.
An emerging issue I have additionally been exploring is when a cyberattack could be part of one of the ICC’s four crimes. I address this in a book chapter “Contributing to Cyber Peace by Maximizing the Potential for Deterrence” (Cambridge University Press, 2022), an article “The Criminalization of Cyber-Attacks under the Rome Statute” (Journal of International Criminal Justice, Volume 19, Issue 5, 2021), and my contribution to the expert report “The Council of Advisers’ Report on the Application of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to Cyberwarfare” (2021).
Additionally, I followed up on the topic of my book in the article “Why the Veto Power Is Not Unlimited: A Response to Critiques of, and Questions About, Existing Legal Limits to the Veto Power in the Face of Atrocity Crimes” (Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, 2022). This is part of a project for the UN General Assembly to request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on a question such as: does existing international law contain limitations on the use of the veto power by permanent members of the UN Security Council in situations where there is ongoing genocide, crimes against humanity, and/or war crimes?
Watch Jennifer Trahan’s member profile: