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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 Michigan Law 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 territorial disputes, counter-terrorism strategies, ethnic conflict, state and corporate duties regarding foreign investment, and accountability for human rights violations. Professor Ratner has written and lectured extensively on the law of war, and also is 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 to 2008, he began his legal career as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at 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 and since 2013, he has been an adviser to the American Law Institute for the Restatement (Fourth) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States. 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 also has served as an expert on international investment law in various arbitrations. He established and directs the Law School's externship program in Geneva. Professor Ratner holds a JD from Yale, an MA (diplôme) from the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Études Internationales (Geneva), and an AB from Princeton.


Recent Publications

More Publications...

"International Law." In The Oxford Handbook of Global Justice, edited by T. Brooks. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, Forthcoming, 2018.

"War/Crimes and the Limits of the Doctrine of Sources." In The Oxford Handbook of the Sources of International Law, edited by S. Besson and J. d'Aspremont, 912-35. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2017.
Full Text: Oxford Law (UMich users) | Oxford Law | SSRN

Review of Compliant Rebels: Rebel Groups and International Law in World Politics, by H. Jo. Am. J. Int'l L. 111, no. 2 (2017): 550-4.
Full Text: Cambridge Journals

"Compensation for Expropriations in a World of Investment Treaties: Beyond the Lawful/Unlawful Distinction." Am. J. Int'l L. 111 (2017).
Full Text: Cambridge Journals

The Thin Justice of International Law: A Moral Reckoning of the Law of Nations. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2015.

Co-author. "The Role of the International Committee of the Red Cross." R. Giladi, co-author. In The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary, edited by A. Clapham, P. Gaeta, and M. Sassoli, 525-48. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2015.

Co-author. International Law: Norms, Actors, Process: A Problem-Oriented Approach. 4th ed. J. Dunoff and D. Wippman, co-authors. New York: Aspen, 2015.

"Complicity and Compromise in the Law of Nations." Crim. L. Phil. 10 (2015).
Full Text: Springer (UMich users) | Springer​ | SSRN

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


Appointed to the drafting team that will prepare the proposed Hague International Business and Human Rights Arbitration Rules, December 2017.

Invited to join a new academic forum on investor-state dispute settlement under the auspices of the Geneva Center for International Dispute Settlement, December 2017.

Appointed to an expert panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for its project, "Exploring the Development of Analytic Frameworks: A Pilot Project for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence," December 2017.

Presented a proposal for the use of international arbitration to address claims of corporate violations of human rights at the UN Business and Human Rights Forum, Geneva, Switzerland, November 2017.

Presented "Extraterritorial Regulation of Natural Resource Exploitation: The Governmental Perspective" at the Union International des Avocats 61st Congress, Toronto, Canada, October 2017.

​Commentator on OECD investment and tax treaties at the University of Michigan Law School Tax Law Conference on Perspectives on the Multilateral Instrument, University of Michigan, October 2017.

Commentator on international law panel, Young Scholars Conference, University of Michigan Law School, April 2017.

Commentator at the Tanner Lecture on Human Values presented by Radhika Coomaraswamy, University of Michigan, March 2017.

Featured panelist, Donia Human Rights Center Conference on Changing Models of Minority Integration, University of Michigan, March 2017.

Gave the keynote speech, "The Global State of Bilateral Investment Treaties and Investor-State Arbitration" at "The Next" Conference: International Investment and Dispute Resolution sponsored by thebell news service, September 2016.

Joined the editorial board of the Journal of Political Philosophy, September 2016.

Participated in a panel discussion on "The Enforcement of International Law in (a) Crisis" at the annual meeting of the European Society of International Law, Riga, Latvia, September 2016.

Re-appointed to a two-year term as a member of the U.S. State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law, June 2016.

Presented "The Nuremberg Trials and Their Legacy After 70 Years" at the Society of Active Retirees speaker series, Farmington Hills, Mich., March 2016.

Presented "The Thin Justice of International Law" at the University of Arizona James Rogers School of Law, Tucson, March 2016.

Presented "Visions of Global Justice i​n International Investment Law" at the ​McGeorge School of Law Symposium on Investment Treaty Dispute Settlement, Sacramento, Calif., February 2016.

Elected to the American Law Institute, January 2016.​