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December 15, 2006

Press Contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or

Professor Derek Jinks Appointed to U.S. Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on International Law

Photo of Derek Jinks
Professor Derek Jinks
Photo by Wyatt McSpadden

AUSTIN, Texas—Derek Jinks, an international law scholar at The University of Texas at Austin, has been appointed to the U.S. Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on International Law.

The Advisory Committee on International Law brings together professors, practitioners and policymakers to provide advice on significant issues of international law to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and her legal advisor, John B. Bellinger III.

The advisory committee is comprised of all former Legal Advisers of the Department of State and up to 20 individuals appointed by the current Legal Adviser. The committee typically meets twice a year at the State Department, and will next meet in early 2007.

The State Department has described the Committee's important function in these terms: "Through this Committee, the Department of State will continue to obtain the views and advice of a cross-section of the country's outstanding members of the legal profession on significant issues of international law. The Committee's consideration of these legal issues in the conduct of our foreign affairs provides a unique contribution to the creation and promotion of U.S. foreign policy."

"I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to serve the Secretary and the Legal Adviser in this capacity," said Jinks, an assistant professor who joined the UT Law faculty in the fall of 2005.

His research and teaching interests include public international law, international humanitarian law, human rights law, and criminal law. This semester, Jinks began a new student program at the Law School to provide legal representation to Guantanamo Bay detainees.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Derek and for UT Law," Dean Lawrence Sager said. "His appointment puts Derek at the single most important intersection of national policy and international law. We are proud of Derek and happy to claim his as our own," Sager said. "UT Law sees itself as spanning the practical and the scholarly, and as this appointment indicates, Derek himself embodies that span."

Jinks has written numerous articles and books on humanitarian law and human rights law. He is the author of the forthcoming books, The Rules of War: The Geneva Conventions in the Age of Terror (Oxford University Press 2007) and International Humanitarian Law (Oxford University Press 2008) (with Ryan Goodman). He also co-authored an amicus brief on the applicability of the Geneva Conventions in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which was submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in January 2006. The brief argued that Common Article 3 of the Conventions applies to the war with al Qaeda–a view endorsed by the Court.

He received a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Texas in 1991, a M.A. and M.Phil. in sociology from Yale University in 1998 and 1999 respectively, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1998. After law school, he clerked for Judge William C. Canby Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and worked in the Prosecutor's Office of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Jinks has also worked as senior legal advisor and United Nations representative for the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre in India, and served in the delegation of the International Service for Human Rights at the Rome conference for the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court.

Related Links:

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Human Rights Experts Discuss the Legality of Detentions at Guantanamo Bay, April 6:

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