Paul R. Williams (professor of law)

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Paul R. Williams
NationalityUnited States
Alma materUniversity of California, Davis
Stanford Law School
University of Cambridge
Scientific career
FieldsPeace negotiation
InstitutionsPublic International Law & Policy Group

Paul R. Williams holds the Rebecca Grazier Professorship in Law and International Relations at American University, where he teaches in the School of International Service and the Washington College of Law.[1] He is the president and co-founder of the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) which provides pro bono assistance to countries and governments involved in peace negotiations, drafting post-conflict constitutions, and prosecuting war criminals.


Williams has assisted nearly two dozen states and sub-state entities in major international peace negotiations, legislation drafting and policy planning, and post-conflict constitution building through his work as president and co-founder of the Public International Law & Policy Group. Williams is regarded as a social entrepreneur for his practical and innovative approach to providing pro bono assistance to clients. He has served as a delegation in the Dayton Agreement negotiations (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Rambouillet Agreement and Paris negotiations (Kosovo), Ohrid Agreement negotiations (Macedonia), and Podgorica/Belgrade negotiations for Serbia and Montenegro. He has also advised parties to the Key West negotiations for Nagorno-Karabakh, the Oslo and Geneva negotiations for the Sri Lankan Civil War, the Georgian–Abkhazian conflict negotiations, and the Somalia peace talks.

Williams has advised over two dozen governments and parties in Africa, Asia, and Europe including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Kosovo, Montenegro and Nagorno-Karabakh as well as the President of Macedonia, President of Estonia, Foreign Minister of Montenegro, and the Foreign Minister of East Timor. Advised topics include drafting and implementation of post-conflict constitutions, issues of state recognition, self-determination, and state succession, and border sea demarcations and negotiations. Williams has testified before the U.S. Congress and provided expert commentary in the British House of Commons on peace negotiations.

Prior to his work with PILPG, Williams was representative for the Office of the Legal Adviser at the 45th meeting of the International Whaling Commission.

Williams received his A.B. from the University of California, Davis in 1987, his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1990, and his PhD from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Fulbright Research Scholar.

Paul Williams has given over 150 public lectures and presentations covering topics such as the Yugoslav peace process, the Dayton peace negotiations, the Rambouillet/Paris negotiations, the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, European integration, the Nagorno-Karabagh crisis, the legal status of Taiwan, responsibility to protect, self-determination, earned sovereignty, humanitarian intervention, peacekeeping, self-defense, human rights, the U.N. Human Rights Committee, war crimes, impunity, the International Criminal Court, state succession, international environmental dispute resolution, Central and East European geopolitics, the politics of economic transformation, the regulation of transboundary watercourses, nuclear power management, and California water law.

Williams has been interviewed over 500 times on matters of international policy by major print and broadcast media, including: The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Newsweek magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Time magazine, the Associated Press, Fox News, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, MSNBC, BBC, CNN, the Voice of America, and NPR.

Selected Accomplishments[edit]

  • Advised the Libyan Transitional National Council on matters of international recognition, compliance with the laws of war and constitutional development.
  • Advised the government of Nepal on drafting a new constitution.
  • Advised the Government of Kenya on the preparation of legislation relating to the implementation of the new constitution on matters relating to land, devolution and justice.
  • Advised civil society and rebel movements on the Darfur peace process, including serving as a member of the Darfuri delegation to the Doha peace talks.
  • Advised the President and Vice President of Southern Sudan on the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, preparations for a referendum on independence in 2011, and state succession.
  • Advised the President and Prime Minister of Kosovo on the Vienna Final Status Talks.
  • Advised the President and Prime Minister of Montenegro on questions of international recognition and state succession.
  • Served as a member of the Kosovo delegation during the Rambouillet Peace Conference.



  • Shaping Foreign Policy in Times of Crisis: The Role of International Law and the State Department Legal Adviser (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Co-authored with Michael P. Scharf.
  • Peace with Justice? War Crimes and Accountability in the Former Yugoslavia (Rowman and Littlefield, 2002). Co-authored with Michael P. Scharf.
  • Indictment at the Hague: The Milosevic Regime and Crimes of the Balkan Wars (New York University Press, 2002). Co-authored with Norman Cigar.
  • International Law and the Resolution of Central and East European Transboundary Environmental Disputes (Macmillian/St. Martins Press, 2000). Awarded the Elizabeth Payne Cubberly Research Prize.
  • "Treatment of Detainees" (Henry-Dunant Institute, 1990).

Selected Chapters, Reports, and Book Reviews[edit]

  • "Drafting in Doha: An Assessment of the Darfur Peace Process and Ceasefire Agreements", in Monopoly of Force, The Nexus of DDR and SSR (2011). Co-authored with Matthew T. Simpson.
  • "Is it true that there is no right of self-determination for Kosova?", in The Case for Kosova: Passage to Independence (2006). Co-authored with Jennifer Ober.
  • "Was the former 1999 NATO intervention an illegal war against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia?", in The Case for Kosova: Passage to Independence (2006). Co-authored with Catherine Croft.
  • "Achieving a Final Status Settlement for Kosovo", published by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (2003). Co-authored with Janusz Bugajski and R. Bruce Hitchner.
  • "Simulating Kosovo: Lessons for Final Status Negotiations", published by the U.S. Institute of Peace (2002). Co-authored with James Hooper.
  • "The Role of Justice in Peace Negotiations", Post Conflict Justice (2002). Edited by M. Cherif Bassiouni.
  • "Trying the Butcher of Omarska", 10 Criminal Law Forum 147 (1999). Book Review.
  • "Creating International Space for Taiwan: The Law and Politics of Recognition", 32 New England Law Review 801 (1998).
  • "Legal Issues", A Global Agenda: Issues Before the 53rd General Assembly of the United Nations (1998).
  • "Illegal Annexation and State Continuity: The Case of the Incorporation of the Baltic States by the USSR", American Journal of International Law (2005). Co-authored with Yoonie Kim. Book Review.
  • "Constitutionalizing Globalization: The Postmodern Revival of Confederal Arrangements", American Journal of International Law 93(2): 561 (1999). Co-authored with Ramzi Nemo. Book Review.
  • "The Politics and Policy of Deep Seabed Mining", American Journal of Comparative Law 40(1): 276–288 (1992). Book Review.

Law Journal Articles[edit]

  • "Lawfare: A War Worth Fighting", Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law (2011).
  • "Earned Sovereignty: Bridging the Gap between Sovereignty and Self-Determination", Stanford Journal of International Law (2004). Co-authored with Francesca Jannotti Pecci.
  • "Preemption in the 21st Century: What are the Legal Parameters?", ISLA Journal of International and Comparative Law (2004). Co-authored with Scott Lyons & Tali Neuwirth.
  • "Earned Sovereignty: An Emerging Conflict Resolution Approach", ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law (2004). Co-authored with Karen Heymann.
  • "The Role of Justice in the Former Yugoslavia: Antidote or Placebo for Coercive Appeasement", Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law (2003).
  • "Earned Sovereignty: The Political Dimension", 31 Denver Journal of International Law & Policy 355 (2003). Co-authored with James Hooper.
  • "Earned Sovereignty: The Road to Resolving the Conflict Over Kosovo's Final Status", 31 Denver Journal of International Law & Policy 387 (2003).
  • "Resolving Sovereignty-Based Conflicts: The Emerging Approach of Earned Sovereignty", Denver Journal of International Law & Policy (2003). Co-authored with Michael P. Scharf & James R. Hooper.
  • "The Functions of Justice and Anti-justice in the Peace-building Process", Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law (2003). Co-authored with Michael Scharf.
  • "Coercive Appeasement: The Flawed International Response to the Serbian Rogue Regime", 36 New England Law Review 825 (2002). Co-authored with Karina M. Waller.
  • "Doing Justice During Wartime: Why Military Tribunals Make Sense", Policy Review (2002). Co-authored with Abraham D. Sofaer.
  • "Report of the Committee of Experts on Nation Rebuilding in Afghanistan", New England Law Review (2002). Co-authored with Michael P. Scharf.
  • "State Succession to Debts and Assets: The Modern Law and Policy", Harvard International Law Journal (2001). Co-authored with Jennifer Harris.
  • "NATO Intervention on Trial: The Legal Case that Was Never Made", Human Rights Review (2000). Co-authored with Michael Scharf.
  • "The Norm of Justice and the Negotiation of the Rambouillet/Paris Peace Accords", Leiden Journal of International Law (2000).
  • "The Northern Ireland Peace Agreement: Evolving the Principle of Self-Determination", Leiden Journal of International Law 155 (1999).
  • "Can International Legal Principles Promote the Resolution of Central and East European Transboundary Environmental Disputes?", 7 Georgetown International and Environmental Law Review 421 (1995).
  • "Bankruptcy in Russia: The Evolution of a Comprehensive Russian Bankruptcy Code", 21 Review of Central and East European Law 511 (1995). Co-authored with Paul Wade.
  • "International Environmental Dispute Resolution: The Dispute Between Slovakia and Hungary Concerning Construction of the Gabcikovo and Nagymaros Dams", 19 Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 1 (1994).
  • "State Succession and the International Financial Institutions: Political Criteria or Sound Management?", 43 International and Comparative Law 132 (1990). Co-authored with Steve McHugh.

Policy Articles and Op-Eds[edit]

  • "Deals with the Devil: Thorny Diplomacy in Sudan", The National Interest (2011). With Morton Abramowitz.
  • "Word Games: The UN and Genocide in Darfur", The Jurist (2005). With Jamal Jafari.
  • "Iraq's Political Compact", The Boston Globe (2005).

"A Defining Moment for Kosovo", The Baltimore Sun (2004). With Bruce Hitchner.

  • "Peace Before Prosecution?", The Washington Post (2003). With Ambassador Morton Abramowitz.
  • "Yes, Military Commissions Are Appropriate", Knight Ridder (2003). With Abraham Sofaer.
  • "The Case Against Amnesty for Hussein", Chicago Tribune (2003).
  • "With Its Acts of War, Al-Qaida Yielded Rights", The Baltimore Sun (2002). With Richard Hubbell.
  • "Prosecute Terrorists on a World Stage", Los Angeles Times (2001). With Michael Scharf.
  • "Rebuild Afghanistan - or Terrorists Will Find Fertile Ground for Growth", The Washington Times (2001). With Bruce Hitchner.
  • "The West Must Act to Avoid a Bosnia Redux", The Wall Street Journal Europe (1998). With Norman Cigar.
  • "Indict Serbia's Milosevic for Crimes Against Humanity", International Herald Tribune (1998). With Michael Scharf.
  • "Reward Serbs with the Town of Brcko? Don't Do It", The Christian Science Monitor (1998). With Norman Cigar.
  • "Serbia After Milosevic", The Christian Science Monitor (1997). With Norman Cigar.
  • "For the Peach in the Balkans, Indict Milosevic Now", International Herald Tribune (1997). With Norman Cigar.
  • "Promise Them Anything", The Weekly Standard (1995).
  • "UN Members Share Guilt for the Genocide in Bosnia", The Christian Science Monitor (1995).
  • "Une Lourde Violation du Droit International", Le Monde (1995).
  • "Why the Bosnian Arms Embargo is Illegal", The Wall Street Journal Europe (1995).


  1. ^ "Paul Williams," Faculty, Washington College of Law, American University

External links[edit]