VLS establishes internship program with international human rights adviser Global Rights Compliance

Jun 5, 2019

Vanderbilt Law students will support the legal work of Global Rights Compliance, which offers international advisory services and litigation support focusing on human rights and international humanitarian law, through an affiliation between the law school’s International Legal Studies Program and GRC.

The affiliation allows Vanderbilt Law students to work as legal interns for GRC’s trial and consultancy teams and, through Vanderbilt’s Practice Lab, on other projects. During summer 2019, Katie Cohen ‘21, spent her summer working at GRC headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, with support from a prestigious Helton Fellowship from the American Society of International Law, after taking courses in international law through the Vanderbilt in Venice program.

GRC’s legal staff has worked on numerous projects with Professor of the Practice of Law Michael Newton, who teaches Vanderbilt’s International Law Practice Lab, through which students gain practical legal experience working on projects for non-governmental advocacy organizations and international courts and conducting legal research for judges, lawyers, legislatures, governments and policy makers around the world.

Students who pursue internships with GRC will be based at the organization’s offices in The Hague, Netherlands. To date, Vanderbilt students have been involved in trial preparation in an on-going case before the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague and have supported GRC projects in Ukraine and Bangladesh as well as the organization’s Mass Starvation Project. These placements involve practical mentorship and advocacy training. Students in the Practice Lab also drafted a complaint presented before a United Nations Treaty body and conducted legal research associated with the development of a Basic Investigative Standards Manual on Starvation Crimes.

In fall 2019, GRC’s senior legal consultant and project lead on the Mass Starvation Project, Catriona J. Murdoch, will attend Newton’s Practice Lab, and cohost, with Vanderbilt’s International Legal Studies Program, a workshop on Starvation as a Method of Warfare. Murdoch will also speak to students in the Advanced International Humanitarian Law class.

Newton is an expert on terrorism, accountability, transnational justice, and conduct of hostilities issues. He is most recently the editor of The United States Department of Defense Law of War Manual: Commentary and Critique, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

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