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Joan Donoghue to replace Judge Buergenthal at the ICJ

Our friends over at Opinio Juris report that Joan Donoghue, Principle Deputy Legal Advisor of the State Department, has been nominated by the US national group of the PCA to replace Judge Buergenthal on the ICJ. If this report is true, and Opinio Juris refers to “reliable sources”, the nomination would be somewhat of a surprise. To most active in international legal scholarship, Joan Donoghue is rather unknown. After a quick search in various online catalogues of law libraries I came up with the following articles authored by Joan Donoghue:

  • “Perpetual Immunity for Former Diplomats?: A Response to “The Abisinito Affair: A Restrictive Theory of Diplomatic Immunity?”” (Columbia journal of transnational law, vol. 27, pages 615-630)
  • “The Public Face of Private International Law: Prospects for a Convention of Foreign State Immunity (57 Law and Contemp. Probs. 205)
  • EC participation in protection of the marine environment: Legal and institutional aspects” (Marine Policy Volume 17, Issue 6, November 1993, Pages 515-518)
  • “Taking the “Sovereign” Out of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act: A Functional Approach to the Commercial Activity Exception (17 YALE J. INT’L L. 489, 495 (1992))
  • “On learning not to think like a lawyer: Improving the effectiveness of International environmental law” (unpublished manuscript, 1993)

Besides Joan Donoghue’s apparent specialization in the law of diplomatic relations one could also discern a slight affinity to international environmental law. In 1992 she presented a paper entitled “Legal Dimensions of Compliance and Dispute Resolution in a Global Climate Regime” at the annual conference of the International Studies Association and one year later she was part of the US delegation to the International Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change. Joan Donoghue also acted as attorney-advisor on the side of the US in the Nicaragua case before the ICJ. Last year she was part of the panel of the plenary discussion at the annual meeting of the ASIL, on the topic “The Obama Administration’s Take on International Law”.


  1. Gentian Zyberi Gentian Zyberi 11 July 2010

    It was high time to address the gender (un)balance at the ICJ! Other countries should follow the example of the US and China.

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