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August 3, 2004

Press Contacts: Jodi Bart, UT Law, 512-471-7330, Professor Sarah Cleveland, 512-232-1720, or Professor Karen Engle, 512-232-7066

Rwanda Tribunal Selects Three from UT Law for Prestigious Internship

AUSTIN, Texas — Two recent graduates of The University of Texas at Austin School of Law and one current student have been selected by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, to serve as interns in the Office of the Prosecutor this fall. Robert Benedict (Ben) Fleming, ‘05, Benjamin (Benjie) W. Putnam, ‘04, and Erin E. Ruble, ‘03, will be the seventh, eighth, and ninth UT Law students and recent alumni to be accepted to participate in the ICTR internship program. The Law School has been sending students and graduates to the Tribunal since 2000, but this fall will mark the first time it has sent three at one time.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was established in 1994 by the United Nations Security Council to investigate and prosecute participants in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Students work in the Office of the Prosecutor, conducting a range of investigative work, factual development, and legal research on both procedural and substantive international criminal law issues.

“These internships provide UT Law students and recent graduates with unique opportunities to learn and serve in the area of human rights and international criminal law, as well as expose them to parts of the world they would otherwise be unlikely to see. It is a great tribute to Ben, Benjie, and Erin, but also to the work of former UT interns and to the Law School that the Tribunal has selected three applicants from UT for the coming fall,” said Professor Karen Engle, director of the newly founded Human Rights Initiative at the Law School.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Internships last for three to six months. The internships are open to qualified second and third year students as well as recent graduates with strong backgrounds in international and/or criminal law. Participants receive either academic credit or a living stipend, as well as airfare. Travel expenses and stipends are made possible by a grant from the Effie and Wofford Cain Foundation.

The Law School has sponsored six interns at the ICTR’s Office of the Prosecutor in recent years: James Sanford (summer of 2004), Hope Williams (2003), Yonit Sharaby (2003), Douglas Cox (2002), James Bischoff (2002), and Roberta Ritvo (2000).

“By the unprecedented acceptance of three of us at the ICTR this fall, UT Law has demonstrated a truly impressive commitment to the work of the tribunal, to international law, and most importantly, to its students,” said Ben Fleming. “Benji, Erin, and I have a lot to be grateful for, and look forward to being strong ambassadors for the school in this sobering, but worthwhile work.”

Fleming will begin his third year of law school this fall and graduate in May 2005. He received his B.A. in English from The University of Texas with honors in 2002. He spent the summer after his first year as a UT Law Democracy Fellow doing environmental protection work in the Attorney General’s office in Brazil. During the 2003-2004 school year, Fleming worked on the Texas International Law Journal. He is currently an intern with The Center for Justice and International Law in Washington, D.C., researching and writing about recent events in Haiti as well as paramilitary groups in Colombia.

“One of the reasons we were drawn to UT was its excellent reputation in the field of international law. Facilitating (and funding) these internships reaffirms the law school’s commitment to strength in this area,” said Benjie Putnam and Erin Ruble, who are married to each other. “This will be an unparalleled opportunity to watch international law in the making, and to participate in tremendously important work. We are honored to have been chosen.”

Putnam graduated from the Law School in May 2004 as the Clerk of the Chancellors Society. He received his B.A. in Politics from Pomona College in 1998. While in law school, Putnam was an articles editor of the Texas Law Review, received an award for outstanding international law note, and was chosen to compete in the Willem C. Vis international moot arbitration competition. Putnam worked as a legal intern and legislative fellow with the ACLU of Texas from 2000-2003. In summer 2003, he worked as a summer associate for Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C.

Ruble graduated from the Law School in May 2003 in the top 10 percent of her class. She received her B.A. in English from Swarthmore College in 1998. While in law school, Erin was an associate editor of the Texas Law Review and was also selected for the Willem C. Vis arbitration team. In 2002-2003, she was a law clerk with Simon F. Azar-Farr and Associates, working on immigration law cases. In the summer of 2002, she gained experience in international litigation as a summer associate for Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York. The following summer, she worked as a free speech intern with the national office of the ACLU in Washington, D.C. She has spent the past year clerking for The Honorable William Wayne Justice, Senior Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

“The Rwanda Tribunal internships are only one example of the wealth of exciting international internship possibilities that UT offers to its students,” notes Professor Sarah Cleveland, one of the faculty members overseeing the internship programs. UT Law currently runs six formal international internship programs, including internships with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Democracy Fellows program, the European Court of Justice, and an independent international internship program. A total of 20 students and recent graduates are participating in international internships this year.

Related Links:
International Internships at UT Law:
The Human Rights Initiative at UT Law:
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda:
Law Students Selected to Intern on Yugoslavia, Rwanda War Crimes Tribunals: