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Prof Sean 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. During 2018-2020, he is the President of the American Society of International Law.

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:

  • 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)
  • 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)

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, use of force, 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.

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.

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