Julian Bava '18, an alumnus of Stanford's Human Rights Minor, recently published a research paper in Vermont Law Review. His article, "Prosecuting Extraterritorial Atrocity Crimes Under State Law: An Analysis of the Puerto Rico Model," discusses the viability of state criminal prosecutions as a domestic model of international justice. In it, he analyzes the only statute in the United States that currently permits such proceedings: two articles of the Puerto Rico Penal Code, which respectively codify genocide and crimes against humanity. Julian worked with our Center and Faculty Fellow Beth Van Schaack in developing the paper.
Julian writes, "States are empowered to enact criminal legislation proscribing atrocity crimes committed both within their boundaries and extraterritorially, if they elect to do so. Despite its curious position as an unincorporated territory, Puerto Rico has led the charge on this front, and its penal code serves as a model for other states that wish to chart a new path toward ending impunity for the world’s most horrific crimes." He concludes with an optimistic note that suggests an expansion of human rights law at the state level: "If they choose to do so, states could usher in a new era of atrocity law litigation characterized by its independence from the whims of Congress."
During his time at Stanford, Julian was awarded the Center's Human Rights Fellowship in 2016, working with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague. He also received the University's International Public Service Fellowship, which enabled him to work for a year as a legal and policy researcher with Save the Children international in Beirut, Lebanon.
Julian's article can be read here.