December 6, 2022

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The Nomination of Professor Sarah Cleveland for the International Court of Justice

Press Statement
Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
August 23, 2022

The U.S. National Group to the Permanent Court of Arbitration intends to nominate Professor Sarah Cleveland, an esteemed scholar of international law with extensive experience in multilateral settings, for election to the International Court of Justice in 2023. We strongly support her nomination.

The United States deeply values the work of the International Court of Justice. As the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice plays a vital role in the peaceful settlement of disputes and promotion of the rule of law.  The United States continues to recognize the Court’s contributions to the maintenance of international peace and security, and more generally to the realization of the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations.

A dedicated scholar of international law, Professor Cleveland possesses the knowledge, experience, integrity, commitment to the rule of law, and vision to help guide the Court in its important work in the years ahead. She is an outstanding choice for this key position. We ask other UN Member States to vote for Professor Cleveland in 2023.

Professor Cleveland has a long and distinguished career in the service of international law, including as a professor of international law, as the Counselor on International Law in the Department of State’s Office of the Legal Adviser (2009-2011), and as Vice Chair and member of the UN Human Rights Committee (2015-2018). She currently holds the Louis Henkin Chair in Human and Constitutional Rights at Columbia University Law School in New York, where she has been a member of the faculty since 2007. Professor Cleveland also served as the U.S. observer member and member on the European Commission for Democracy Through Law (Venice Commission) of the Council of Europe (2010-2019), and she is presently a member of the Ad Hoc Conciliation Commission for Qatar v. United Arab Emirates in the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. She has been a visiting professor of international law at the University Panthéon-Assas (Paris II) and Sciences-Po University in Paris, France, as well as at universities in Italy, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. She has published widely on international law subjects and has been involved in international law litigation in the United States and before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. She continues to serve as a member of my Advisory Committee on International Law, as a Council Member of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, and as a Commissioner for the International Commission of Jurists.

Professor Cleveland earned a Bachelor’s Degree with honors at Brown University; a Master’s Degree at Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar; and a J.D. at Yale University Law School. She clerked for Judge Louis F. Oberdorfer on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the United States Supreme Court.

Professor Cleveland has our full support, and we hope the International Court of Justice will be able to benefit from her expertise and experience.

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