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IHL – Director, Faculty and Guest Lecturers

Professors Robert Knowles and Yaël Ronen will co-teach the course on International Humanitarian Law in Israel and Palestine.

We will also have guest lectures from representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross and from an Israeli human rights organization.  In past years, we have been able to arrange a private session with a Justice from Isreal’s Supreme Court

Professor Robert Knowles teaches Civil Procedure, Administrative Law, National Security Law, and Damages and Equities. His scholarship explores the historical origins and theoretical justifications for laws and institutions in the realm of national security and foreign affairs. His articles have been published in the Washington University Law Review, the Iowa Law Review, and the DePaul Law Review, among others. Professor Knowles graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University Law, where he served as the Coordinating Articles Editor of the Northwestern University Law Review and received the William Jennings Bryan and Adlai Stevenson Awards, respectively, for final round winner and best brief in the Julius Miner Moot Court Competition. Following law school, he clerked for Judge M. Margaret McKeown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In practice, he represented clients in the areas of white collar criminal defense, asylum, complex commercial litigation, and employment arbitration at Covington & Burling in New York and Latham and Watkins in Chicago. Since 2004, he has represented 16 Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay in federal habeas litigation.

yael_ronenYaël Ronen is a Professor of public international law at the Sha’arei Mishpat Academic Center, Israel. She received her PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2006. Prior to embarking on an academic career she has served as a diplomat and lawyer in the Israeli Foreign Service, during which time she participated in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the Interim Agreement for the West Bank and Gaza Strip (the Oslo Accord). She also served as legal advisor to the Israeli Mission to the UN General Assembly’s Sixth Committee. Professor Ronen’s areas of interest include statehood and territorial status, the laws of armed conflict, international human rights law and international criminal law, as well as the intersection between these areas of law. In recent years she has taught courses on international humanitarian law and human rights, focusing on armed conflict situations and specifically on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in numerous law schools in Israel, as well as in a Human Rights Summer School held jointly by the Hebrew University and McGill University, Montreal. She is a regular lecturer in courses held in Israel by the International Committee of the Red Cross. She has written on issues such as the notion of ‘illegal occupation’, ICC jurisdiction over acts committed in the Gaza Strip, the right of settlers under illegal regimes, the law applicable to employment of Palestinians working in the Occupied Territories, and compensation to victims of lawful attacks under IHL. Her articles have appeared in the Vanderbilt JIL, Berkeley JIL, Cornel ILJ, Journal of International Criminal Justice, Leiden JIL and more. Her Transition from Illegal Regimes under International Law was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011.

 2016 Guest Lecturers
(most of whom are expected to return in 2016)

Harel Arnon photoDr. Harel Arnon is a Jerusalem based litigator. He was admitted to the Israel Bar in 2001 after receiving his LL.B. and M.A. (Phil.) (magna cum laude) from Bar-Ilan University and two Supreme Court clerkships (Chief Justice Aharon Barak and Justice Izhak Englard).  Dr. Arnon completed his doctoral studies at Harvard Law School (as a Fulbright Scholar) and practiced law in New York (Skadden, Arps) for four years. His book, A Theory of Direct Legislation, dealing with initiatives in the United States, was published in 2008. In 2013, he co-edited the book Land Law and International law in Judea and Samaria (Hebrew). Dr. Arnon’s practice includes litigating complex issues involving the Israeli settlements and land related conflicts in Judea and Samaria and he appears frequently in the Supreme Court of Israel. Dr. Arnon is considered a legal expert in issues involving Judea and Samaria and he regularly advices members of Knesset as well as government ministers and public officials.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner photoNitsana Darshan Leitner was born in Israel and raised in Petach Tikva. Her family, formerly well-to-do Iranian Jews who fled Iran’s Islamic regime in the early 1950s, encouraged her passion, courage, and life-dedication to justice. Today, Nitsana is well known in Israel and throughout the Jewish world for her assertive and successful pursuit of compensation for victims of terror.
As a law student and human rights activist at Bar Ilan University, Nitsana got her first taste of arguing a case before the Supreme Court of Israel shortly after the 1993 Oslo Accords were signed. She, along with a group of fellow students, filed a petition with the Israeli High Court of Justice on behalf of the victims of the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking, during which a wheelchair-bound Jewish passenger was tossed overboard. They argued that the Attorney General should forbid the master mind of the hijacking, Muhammad (Abu) Abbas, from entering Israel. Although the petition was rejected, the experience led Nitsana to realize there was tremendous potential in bringing legal action against terrorists. Through her husband, Nitsana became acquainted with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights group organization that used lawsuits to fight against hate groups in America and defending the rights of individuals that are the target of these groups. Encountering the methods of the group transformed Nitsana’s understanding of how lawyers could counter terrorism. Specifically, she realized that because terrorism operates outside the law, it created injustice in ways ordinary law enforcement could not address. However, terrorists still need to be able to run a business: they need offices, capital, and organizational abilities. Legal action could be used to drive terrorists out of business. In 2000, Nitsana sued the Palestinian Authority on behalf of a victim that was lynched in a Ramallah police station, and obtained approximately a $13 million dollar judgment in Israel. Nitsana decided to found the Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center in 2003, which today is one of Israel’s foremost independent human advocacy group, and has scored judgments of millions of dollars on behalf of victims of terror against countries that support terrorists as well as terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Pnina Sharvit Baruch photoPnina Sharvit Baruch, a senior research associate at INSS, retired from the Israel Defense Forces in 2009, after serving in the International Law Department there for twenty years, five of which (2003 – 2009), she was head of the Department. In this capacity, Adv. Sharvit Baruch was a senior legal advisor responsible for advising IDF commanders and decision makers at the governmental level on a wide variety of issues relating to international law and administrative law, among them: the laws of armed conflict and occupation of territory; naval law; counter-terrorism; security liaison; border demarcation; and conflict resolution. Adv. Sharvit Baruch served as a legal advisor in Israel’s delegations to negotiations with the Palestinians, from the early contacts and thereafter. In 2000, she also participated in the negotiations with Syria. Following her retirement from the IDF with the rank of colonel, Adv. Sharvit Baruch joined the faculty of the Tel Aviv University Law School, where she teaches courses related to public international law and conflict resolution, and also teaches international law at the National Security College. She has also published several articles on issues relating to these topics. Adv. Sharvit Baruch holds an LL.B. degree (magna cum laude) and an LL.M. degree (magna cum laude), both from Tel Aviv University.

Bana Shougri photoAttorney Bana Shoughry-Badarne, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, has been practicing human rights law since 1999. She holds LL.B degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and LL.M degree in international law from Washington College of Law, American University in Washington DC. Following her eight year tenure at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) where she directed ACRI’s legal advocacy efforts on behalf of the Palestinian Bedouin community in the unrecognized villages, she became the Legal Director & the Legal Advisor of the Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI). In July 2014 she became the Clinical
director of the International Human Rights Clinic at the Hebrew University and teaches the course “Torture: legal prohibition and practice”. She also volunteers in several Palestinian feminist organizations. She has expertise in civil, political, social and cultural human rights in Israel in addition to women’s human rights and Islamic law.