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Prof Sean D. Murphy is the Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law at the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., where he teaches international law and U.S. foreign relations law. Since 2012, he is also a Member of the U.N. International Law Commission, where he serves as Special Rapporteur for Crimes against Humanity. In 2018-2020, he was the President of the American Society of International Law.

  • Overall Practice

    Professor Murphy advises, litigates, and arbitrates on a wide range of international law issues for 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; law of international organisations; international humanitarian law; human rights; and international criminal law. Among his prior cases are:

    • Canepa Green Energy Opportunities I and II v. Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/19/4 (presiding arbitrator)
    • Raiffeisen Bank International AG and Raiffeisen Bank Austria d.d. v. Croatia, PCA Case. No. 2020-15 (arbitrator)
    • The M/T “San Padre Pio” (No. 2) Case (Switzerland/Nigeria), International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Cases 27 & 29 (judge ad hoc)
    • ICL Europe Coöperatief U.A. (the Netherlands) v. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, PCA Case No. 2017-26 (arbitrator)
    • Agility Public Warehousing Company v. Republic of Iraq, ICSID Case No. ARB/17/7 (arbitrator)
    • Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda), International Court of Justice (damages phase) (counsel)
    • Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad al Bashir, International Criminal Court, Case No. ICC-02/05-01/09, Judgment of 6 May 2019 (counsel)Application of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995 (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia v. Greece), International Court of Justice (counsel)
    • 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 (counsel)
    • Dispute Concerning the Maritime Boundary (Guyana v. Suriname), Law of the Sea Convention Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal (counsel)
    • Cases Concerning the Use of Force, Central/Western Fronts & Other Claims (Eritrea/Ethiopia), Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission (counsel)
    • Case Concerning Oil Platforms (Iran v. U.S.), International Court of Justice (counsel)
    • Case Concerning Compañía del Desarrollo de Santa Elena, S.A. v. Costa Rica, International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ISCID) (counsel)
    • Case Concerning Elettronica Sicula S.p.A. (ELSI) (U.S. v. Italy), International Court of Justice (counsel)
  • Employment

    From 1987 to 1995, Professor Murphy served in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State, specialising in international dispute resolution, international environmental law, law of the sea, 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, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Hague Conference on Private International Law, and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He also served as the U.S. Agent to the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal. Since 1998, Professor Murphy has been a full-time academic, teaching international law, international business transactions, international environmental law, law of the sea, international organisations, and U.S. foreign relations law.

  • Education

    Professor Murphy received his B.A. from Catholic University of America (1982) and his J.D. from Columbia University (1985), where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. He received his LL.M. from Cambridge University (1987) and S.J.D. from the University of Virginia (1995).

  • Other Activities

    Vice-President, American Society of International Law (2015-2018); Counselor, (2014-15); Executive Council (2001-2004, 2014-present)

    Member, Board of Editors, American Journal of International Law (2000-2010)

    Member, American Law Institute (2012-present)

    Member, U.S. Department of State Legal Adviser’s Advisory Committee on Public International Law (1999-2016)

  • Recent Lectures

    World Bank Environmental and International Law Practice Group (2020) (“The International Law Commission: Reflections on Its Current Program of Work”)

    U.N. Headquarters (2018) (“Experiences from the Eritrea Ethiopia Claims Commission”) Hague Academy of International Law (2016) (“International Law Relating to Islands”)

  • Awards

    American Society of International Law 1997 & 2003 Certificates of Merit for Books

    U.S. Department of State 1989 & 1998 Superior Honor Awards

    American Bar Association 1996 Outstanding Younger Federal Lawyer Award

    American Journal of International Law 1995 Francis Deák Prize for Outstanding Scholarship by a Younger Author

    Council on Foreign Relations 1993 Fellowship

    Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar 1983-1985, Columbia Law School

    Phi Beta Kappa, 1982

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