Third-year student William Burke-White has won the 2002 Deak Award, for his piece “Reframing Impunity: Applying Liberal International Law Theory to an Analysis of Amnesty Legislation,” published in the Harvard International Law Journal. The Deak Award is an annual prize provided by Oceana Publications for the best student article in the United States appearing in a student-edited international law journal.

Harvard Law School Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, the newly elected president of the American Society of International Law, presented the award to Burke-White at the society ‘s annual dinner on Friday, March 15.

In his article, Burke-White draws on liberal international relations theory to develop a new approach to analyzing the extraterritorial validity of the laws of other countries. Burke-White then applies this new framework to amnesty legislation designed to facilitate political transition–including legislation in Bosnia, Guatemala, South Africa, and Fiji–and proposes a system for courts to use to consider such legislation.

Burke-White, a 1998 magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, has worked for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and served as Special Rapporteur to the Government of Rwanda. His research and scholarship focus on international criminal law and the reconstruction of judicial systems in the wake of ethnic violence. He has just returned from Cambodia and East Timor where he has been working with the governments on the development of internationalized courts for the trials of war criminals.

This is the second Deak Award for a Harvard International Law Journal student written piece in the last four years. Timothy Waters won the 1999 Deak Award for his piece “The Naked Land: The Dayton Accords, Property Disputes, and Bosnia’s Real Constitution.”

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