Professor Evelyn Aswad

U.S. Candidate for the International Law Commission

Note: This election was concluded on November 12.

Professor Evelyn Aswad is the Herman G. Kaiser Chair in International Law and the Director of the Center for International Business and Human Rights at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Professor Aswad would bring into her role as an independent member of the International Law Commission (ILC):

  • Significant government experience on a wide range of public international law matters,
  • Critical experience in multilateral negotiations involving complex legal issues, and
  • Academic expertise in public international law.

Why the ILC Is Important to the U.S. Government

The United States views the work of the ILC as critical to the codification and progressive development of international law. The nomination of a highly-qualified, independent expert like Professor Aswad is a reflection of the U.S. commitment to the rule of law and the great importance placed by the United States on international law in addressing the multitude of challenges facing the world today. Professor Aswad’s extensive experience and her commitment to the study and development of international law will serve the ILC well.

The United States deeply appreciates the work of the International Law Commission, which is of great significance to all who value the careful codification and progressive development of international law.  Professor Aswad’s extensive knowledge, experience, and dedication to the development of international law make her an outstanding choice for this important body.  I strongly support her election, and hope you will cast your vote for her this fall.


Professor Aswad’s ILC Priorities

“In our increasingly interconnected world, international law plays an essential role not only in relations among states and the peaceful resolution of their disputes, but also with respect to facilitating everyday interactions that individuals may take for granted. The ILC, as a body of highly-qualified, independent experts from around the world, is uniquely positioned to assist the General Assembly in addressing pressing international law needs.

If I have the privilege of being elected to the ILC, I would proactively seek to build bridges between the ILC and UN member states by not only fostering a robust and ongoing dialogue but also helping to craft pragmatic ways for the ILC’s work to add value to state deliberations. I would hold myself to the highest standards of analysis and research in the ILC’s work. I would work diligently to ensure that the potential of the ILC is fully realized in addressing the challenges of our time.”

Professor Evelyn Aswad, U.S. candidate for the International Law Commission (2023-2027)

Professor Aswad’s Extensive Practical Experience in International Law

Professor Aswad spent nearly 14 years of her career at the State Department Office of the Legal Adviser, including as the director of the Office for Human Rights and Refugees. As a government practitioner of international law, Professor Aswad gained extensive experience negotiating legal issues in multilateral fora, including the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, the Human Rights Council, the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Organization of American States. She also served as the legal adviser for U.S. delegations at the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty meetings and worked on issues involving international diplomatic law.

After leaving government service, Professor Aswad has become an esteemed scholar of public international law. She has also continued working on international legal matters as an independent expert on various bodies, for example by serving as the U.S. substitute member to the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law, also known as the Venice Commission, and on the external advisory committee for a high-level panel of legal experts on media freedom, convened by the governments of the UK and Canada.

Academic Experience

  • University of Oklahoma College of Law (2013-present)
  • Georgetown University Law Center (2008-2009)
  • Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (1999)

Government Service and Experience

  • U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser (1999-2013)
    • Office of Human Rights and Refugees (2004-2013); Assistant Legal Adviser (2010-2013)
    • Office of Employment Law (2002-2004)
    • Office of Non-Proliferation (1999-2002)
  • U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee on International Law (2013-present)
  • U.S. Department of State’s Stakeholder Advisory Board to the Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy (2015-present)
  • U.S. Department of State Sub-Working Group on Religion and Conflict Mitigation (2014-2015)

Other Relevant Professional Experience

  • U.S.-appointed substitute member of the Council of Europe’s Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) (2013-2017)
  • External Advisory Committee for the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom (2019-present)
  • U.S.-appointed expert for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Human Dimension Mechanism (2016-2019)
  • Oversight Board (Facebook) (2020-present)

Honors and Awards

  • Council on Foreign Relations (elected 2021)
  • American Law Institute (elected 2020)
  • David Ross Boyd Professorship (one of the University of Oklahoma’s highest honors, 2021)
  • “Fifty Making A Difference” Awardee in Oklahoma Journal Record’s Woman of the Year Awards (2019)
  • World Experiences Foundation, Global Citizen in Law (2017)
  • University-wide David L. Boren Global Engagement Award (2016)
  • Recipient of numerous Department of State Superior Honor Awards (1999-2013)

U.S. Department of State

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