Elizabeth Hersey ’14
has been selected as a recipient of the 2014 Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing for her Brooklyn Journal of International Law note, “No Universal Target: Distinguishing Between Terrorism and Human Rights Violations in Targeted Sanctions Regimes” (2013). Hersey will receive the award at the 15th Annual Burton Awards Program and Gala, held at the Library of Congress next month. She is the sixth BLS student to be awarded this prestigious honor in the last several years.
In her note, Hersey contends that there is a trend in international law toward states’ use of domestic legislation to punish individuals in other countries. It is quasi-accepted that states may enact "targeted sanctions" against individuals associated with terrorism, she writes. However, two new laws attempt to target suspected human rights violators in foreign territory: the United States’ Magnitsky Act and the Russian Federation’s Dima Yakolev’s Law (better known as the Russian adoption ban). The note argues that these extraterritorial laws violate international principles of state sovereignty and human rights.
“I'm hopeful more people will consider the appropriateness of targeted sanctions under international law, particularly as they are being used against Russian officials in this international disagreement over Crimea,” said Hersey. “I find the concepts of territoriality and state sovereignty very interesting and look forward to seeing how they evolve in this context.”