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Ratner, Steven R.

Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law

338 Hutchins Hall
Steven R. Ratner, the Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law, came to the University of Michigan Law School in 2004 from the University of Texas School of Law. His teaching and research focus on public international law and on a range of challenges facing governments and international institutions since the Cold War, including ethnic conflict, border disputes, counter-terrorism strategies, corporate and state duties regarding foreign investment, and accountability for human rights violations. Prof. Ratner has written and lectured extensively on the law of war, and is also interested in the intersection of international law and moral philosophy and other theoretical issues. A member of the board of editors of the American Journal of International Law from 1998-2008, he began his legal career as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. State Department. In 1998-1999, he was appointed by the UN Secretary-General to a three-person group of experts to consider options for bringing the Khmer Rouge to justice, and he has since advised governments, NGOs, and international organizations on a range of international law issues. In 2008-2009, he served in the legal division of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. Since 2009, he has served on the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law. In 2010-2011, he was a member of the UN's three-person Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, which advised Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on human rights violations related to the end of the Sri Lankan civil war. He established and directs the Law School's externship program in Geneva. Prof. Ratner holds a JD from Yale, an MA (diplôme) from the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales (Geneva), and an AB from Princeton.

Recent Publications

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​"Beyond Courtroom Arguments: Why International Lawyers Need to Focus More on Persuasion, Part I." EJILTalk (September 10, 2013).
Full Text: WWW​​

Co-author. "The Role of the ICRC." R. Giladi, co-author. In The Geneva Conventions in Context: A Commentary, edited by A. Clapham, P. Gaeta, and M. Sassoli. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming, 2015.

​Review of Targeted Killings: Law and Morality in an Asymmetrical World, edited by C. Finklestein, J. D. Ohlin, and A. Altman. Am. J. Int'l. L. 107, no. 1 (2013): 274-8.
Full Text: Westlaw | JSTOR (UMich users) | JSTOR

"Self-Defense Against Terrorists: The Meaning of Armed Attack." In Counter-terrorism Strategies in a Fragmented International Legal Order: Meeting the Challenges, edited by N. Schrijver and L. van den Herik, 334-55. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

"Ethics and International Law: Integrating the Global Justice Project(s)." Int'l Theory 5, no. 1 (2013): 1-34.
Full Text: SSRN | WWW

"Behind the Flag of Dunant: Secrecy and the Compliance Mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross." In Transparency in International Law, edited by A. Bianchi and A. Peters, 297-320. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Full Text: SSRN

"Persuading to Comply: On the Deployment and Avoidance of Legal Argumentation." In Interdisciplinary Perspectives on International Law and International Relations: The State of the Art, edited by J. L. Dunoff and M. A. Pollock, 568-90. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
Full Text: SSRN

Co-author. "In Memoriam: Eric Stein." D. Halberstam and M. W. Reimann, co-authors. Am J. Int'l L. 106, no. 1 (2012): 98-101.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich Users) | HEIN

​"Accountability and the Sri Lankan Civil War." Am J. Int'l L. 106, no. 4 (2012): 795-808.
Full Text: Westlaw | JSTOR (UMich users) | JSTOR

"From Enlightened Positivism to Cosmopolitan Justice: Obstacles and Opportunities." In From Bilateralism to Community Interest: Essays in Honour of Judge Bruno Simma, 155-71. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2011.
Full Text: SSRN

"Between Minimum and Optimum World Public Order: An Ethical Path for the Future." In Looking to the Future: Essays on International Law in Honor of W. Michael Reisman, edited by M. Arsanjani et al., 195-216. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2011.

Co-author. International Law: Norms, Actors, Process: A Problem-Oriented Approach. 3rd ed. J. L. Dunoff and D. Wippman, co-authors. New York: Aspen Publishers, 2010.

"Do International Organisations Play Favourites? An Impartialist Account." In Legitimacy, Justice and Public International Law, edited by L.H.Meyer, 123-62. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2009.

"Corporations and Human Rights: A Theory of Legal Responsibility." In Human Rights and Corporations, edited by Kinley, D., 231-333. Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2009. (Originally published under the same title in Yale L.J. 111, no. 3 (2001): 443-545.)
Full Text: HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Lexis | Westlaw | WWW

Co-author. Accountability for Human Rights Atrocities in International Law: Beyond the Nuremberg Legacy. 3d ed. J.S. Abrams and J.L. Bischoff, co-authors. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

"Administration of Territories by the United Nations: Is There Room for International Humanitarian Law." In International Humanitarian Law: Human Rights and Peace Operations, 169-74. San Remo, Italy: International Institute of Humanitarian Law Roundtable Proceedings, 2009.


Featured speaker, seminar on "Attacking Syria: The Key Legal Issues," presented by the University of Michigan Law School's Center for International and Comparative Law and Human Rights Advocates, Ann Arbor, Sept. 11, 2013.

Featured speaker on "Drone Strikes, U.S. Policy, and the Law," Australian National University Centre for International and Public Law and Centre for Military and Security Law Public Lecture, Canberra, Australia, August 2, 2013.

Gave the keynote address at the Australian National University Centre for Military and Security Law Workshop on International Humanitarian Law, Anti-Terrorism Laws, and Non-State Actors, Canberra, Australia, August 1, 2013.

Presented "Accountability and the Sri Lankan Civil War," Australian National University Centre for Military and Security Law, Canberra, Australia, July 31, 2013.

Presented "The Thin Justice of International Law," Australian National University Regulatory Institutions Network, Canberra, Australia, July 30, 2013.

Visiting fellow, Australian National University College of Law, Canberra, Australia, July 29 to August 2, 2013.

Featured speaker on "Cyber War and Drones: The Implications of War without Soldiers," Societas series, Fondazione Corriere della Sera, Milan, Italy, June 6, 2013.

Presented "Modern Challenges to Investment Treaties" and "The Thin Justice of International Law," Universitá Commerciale Luigi Bocconi, Milan, Italy, June 5, 2013.

Panel speaker, "Sri Lanka: Challenges: Implementing International Human Rights and Accountability for Human Rights Violations," Jack and Mae Nathanson Centre, Osgoode Hall School of Law, Toronto, Feb. 14, 2013.

Invited expert at the American Law Institute Expert Meeting on a New Restatement of Foreign Relations Law, Washington, D.C., June 12, 2012.

Invited expert at the International Committee of the Red Cross Expert Meeting on Strengthening Compliance with International Humanitarian Law, Geneva, Switzerland, May 30-June 1, 2012.

Panel commentator on "Instruments of Implementation: Courts, Commissions, and Conventions," University of Michigan Conference on Law and Human Rights in Global History, Ann Arbor, March 30, 2012.

Presented, "The Justice of International Law" at the Faculty Scholarship Roundtable, John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois, March 26, 2012.

Presented "Behind the Flag of Dunant: Secrecy and the Compliance Mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross," University of Basel and Graduate Institute of International Studies Authors' Retreat on Transparency in International Law, Thun, Switzerland, January 20, 2012.

Featured speaker, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Roundtable discussion on "Delivering on the Commitment to Accountability in Sri Lanka," Geneva, Switzerland, January 18, 2012.

Featured panelist, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice panel on "U.N. Recognition of Palestinian Statehood," Ann Arbor, October 6, 2011.

Featured panelist, Wayne State University Law School panel on the "General Assembly Resolution on Palestinian Statehood," Detroit, Michigan, September 22, 2011.

Presented "Persuading to Comply: On the Deployment and Avoidance of Legal Argumentation," Temple Law School Workshop on Synthesizing Insights from International Law and International Relations, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, May 13, 2011.

Presented "Between Minimum and Optimum World Public Order: An Ethical Path for the Future,” Yale Law School Seminar on Law and Globalization, New Haven, Connecticut, March 29, 2011.

Visiting professor, Haifa University Faculty of Law, December 2010 to January 2011.

Presented "The Obama Administration and Counter-Terrorism" at the International Law Year in Review, Hebrew University Faculty of Law, Jerusalem, December 2010.

Co-chair and lead organizer, Roundtable on Interdisciplinary Research on Global Justice, Ann Arbor, April 8-10, 2010.

Invited to join the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law.

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