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Professor Sean Murphy is the Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. Since 2012, he is also a Member of the U.N. International Law Commission, where he serves as Special Rapporteur for Crimes against Humanity.

Professor Murphy advises and litigates on a wide range of international law issues on behalf of States, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, corporations and individuals before international and national courts and tribunals. Such issues include: maritime boundary disputes; foreign investment disputes; international environmental law; international claims relating to the use of force; international humanitarian law; human rights; and international criminal law. Among his prior representations are:

  • Application of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995 (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia v. Greece), International Court of Justice (representing Macedonia)
  • Advisory Opinion on Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo, International Court of Justice (representing Kosovo)
  • Dispute Concerning the Maritime Boundary (Guyana v. Suriname), Law of the Sea Convention Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal (representing Suriname).
  • Cases Concerning the Use of Force, Central/Western Fronts & Other Claims (Eritrea/Ethiopia), Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission (representing Ethiopia).
  • Case Concerning Oil Platforms (Iran v. U.S.), International Court of Justice (representing the United States).
  • Case Concerning Compañía del Desarrollo de Santa Elena, S.A. v. Costa Rica, International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ISCID) (representing Santa Elena).
  • Case Concerning Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 MontrealConvention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libya v. U.S.), International Court of Justice (representing the United States)
  • Case Concerning Elettronica Sicula S.p.A. (ELSI) (U.S. v. Italy), International Court of Justice (representing the United States)

From 1987 to 1995, Professor Murphy served in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State, specializing in international dispute resolution, international environmental law, and the law of war. From 1995 to 1998, Professor Murphy served as the Legal Counselor of the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, representing the U.S. Government before the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and as the U.S. Agent to the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal. Since 1998, he has been a full-time academic.

Professor Murphy received his J.D. from Columbia University, LL.M. from Cambridge University, and S.J.D. from the University of Virginia. He is a Member of the American Law Institute and a Counselor to the American Society of International Law, and served for a decade on the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law.