The Justice Stephen Breyer Lecture Series on International Law 2014-2016

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, speeches during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool - RTX2AS8R

As security threats grow increasingly transnational, political discourse in the United States and Europe around how to address those threats is, ironically, turning increasingly nationalistic. Yet some of the greatest challenges facing the international community at the nexus of international law, justice, and policy are best addressed by looking both outward and inward, as the essays in this compendium seek to suggest.

“The Justice Stephen Breyer Lecture Series on International Law 2014-2016” is part of a body of work which seeks to address both traditional and cutting edge areas of international law where norms are still being tested and shaped. The wider project aims to explore complex and transnational themes such as countering violent extremism, cybersecurity and internet governance, and evolving forms of warfare to shape norms, guide jurisprudence, and offer frameworks for concrete policy solutions. Starting in 2014, this effort has featured an annual lecture series which addresses critical issues of international law and policy named for U.S. Supreme Court Jus­tice Stephen Breyer.

This compendium collects essays by the first three keynote speakers in the Justice Breyer lecture series with an introduction from Brookings Senior Fellow Ted Piccone.


Chapter 1

U.S. national interests in international law

A general view of the exterior of the Peace Palace, seat of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Netherlands April 12, 2006. - RTXOHKM

Authors: Ted Piccone

Brookings Senior Fellow Ted Piccone frames the compendium with his thoughts on how international law serves U.S. national interests in an international order that has anchored decades of global peace and prosperity.

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Chapter 2

The Court in the world

U.S. President Trump Addresses Joint Session of Congress - Washington, U.S. - 28/02/17 - U.S. Supreme Court Justices listen as U.S. President Donald Trump addresses Congress. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RTS10VGT

Authors: Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer explores the development of U.S. and transnational legal norms in our modern, interconnected, and interdependent world.


Chapter 3

International law and disarmament: The case of chemical weapons

Authors: Ahmet Üzümcü

Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, direc­tor-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, examines the intersection of security and justice surrounding the elimination of Syria’s declared chemical weapons.


Chapter 4

The emerging law of 21st century war

Authors: Harold Hongju Koh

Legal scholar Harold Hongju Koh delves into the emerging law governing 21st century war in response to the rise of violent extremism and the use of new tools of warfare.