Christopher J. Borgen is Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Center for International and Comparative Law at St. John's University School of Law. From 2009 to 2014 he was also the Associate Dean for International Studies for the Law School. Professor Borgen teaches, or has taught, International Law, National Security and the Law, International Finance, the International Law Colloquium, the Law of the European Union, the Seminar on States and Sovereignty, and Contracts, among other courses.
Professor Borgen is the co-founder of Opinio Juris, a website devoted to discussion, debate, and reports concerning international law.
Professor Borgen’s current research focuses on secession and on how “great powers” use of international law as a diplomatic tool in international crises. He is the principal author of Thawing a Frozen Conflict: Legal Aspects of the Separatist Crisis in Moldova, a report issued by the New York City Bar as a result of a mission to Moldova. The report has been the subject of conferences convened under the auspices of the United Nations, the Parliament of Moldova, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He has written widely on the topics of self-determination, secession, the recognition of states, international dispute resolution, and other topics in international law and national security law.
In 2018 Professor Borgen completed his work as Co-Rapporteur for the International Law Association's Committee on Recognition and Non-Recognition in International Law. The Committee had been established by the Executive Council of the International Law Association with the purpose of examining "whether contemporary issues of secession, break-up of States and the creation of new States have changed international law and policy with respect to recognition."
A past Co-Chair of the American Society of International Law's Space Law Interest Group, in 2018 Professor Borgen was also named a “core expert” for a proposed “Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations,” colloquially known as “The Woomera Manual.” Following on previous multinational manual projects concerning the laws applicable to naval warfare, air and missile warfare, and cyber-operations, this project brings together international lawyers and technical experts from around the world to develop a model manual that will objectively articulate and clarify existing international law applicable to military space operations.
While at St. John’s, he has also served as the Chairperson of the United Nations Committee of the New York City Bar, on the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law and as a member of the European Affairs and the Foreign and Comparative Law Committees of the New York City Bar.
Prior to joining the faculty at St. John's, Professor Borgen was the Director of Research and Outreach at the American Society of International Law, a non-partisan membership organization and think tank. At the ASIL, he was responsible for defining research areas and implementing public outreach programs as well as specialized programs for the judiciary and the media.
Professor Borgen began his legal career as a law clerk to Federal Magistrate Judge Arlene R. Lindsay of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He later spent three years as an associate with the Manhattan law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, practicing in both the litigation and international corporate groups. Professor Borgen has also served as an international trade consultant in Hungary.
Professor Borgen has received of the Order of Civic Merit, the highest honor awarded to a civilian by the Republic of Moldova, for his work on the ongoing separatist conflict.
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind…”: Selected Speeches by Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court on Foreign and International Law (Christopher J. Borgen, ed.) The American Society of International Law Studies in Transnational Legal Policy No. 38 (2007)
International Law: A Judge’s Handbook (contributor and editor to book by David Bederman) The American Society of International Law Studies in Transnational Legal Policy No. 35 (2003)
Conflict Management and the Political Economy of Recognition, in Complex Battlespaces: The Law of Armed Conflict and the Dynamics of Modern Warfare (Oxford University Press, 2018)
Moldova: Law and Complex Crises in a Systemic Borderland, in German Yearbook of International Law -2016 (Duncker and Humblodt, 2017)
Law, Rhetoric, Strategy: Russia and Self-Determination Before and After Crimea, 91 International Law Studies 216 (US Naval War College 2015)
Public International Law and the Conflict Over Transnistria, in Managing Intractable Conflicts: Lessons from Moldova and Cyprus (Mensur Akgün, ed.) (Istanbul Kültür University 2013)
Treaty Conflicts and the Question of Fragmentation, in The Oxford Handbook on Treaties (Duncan Hollis, ed.) (Oxford 2012)
From Kosovo to Catalonia: Separatism and Integration in Europe, 2 Goettingen Journal of International Law 1 (2010)
States and International Law: the Problems of Self-Determination, Secession, and Recognition in International Law for International Relations (B. Cali, ed.) (Oxford 2010)
The Language of Law and the Practice of Politics: Great Powers and the Rhetoric of Self-Determination in the Cases of Kosovo and South Ossetia, 10 Chicago Journal of International Law 1 (2009)
Hearts and Minds and Laws: Legal Compliance and Diplomatic Persuasion, 50 South TexasLaw Review 769 (2009)
A Tale of Two Networks: Terrorism, Transnational Law, and Network Theory, 33 Oklahoma CityUniversityLaw Review 409 (2008)
Introductory Note to Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence, 47 International Legal Materials 467 (2008)
Imagining Sovereignty, Managing Secession: The Legal Geography of Eurasia’s “Frozen Conflicts”, 9 Oregon Review of International Law 477(2007)
Whose Public, Whose Order?: Imperium, Region, and Normative Friction, 32 Yale Journal of International Law 331(2007)
Triptych: Sectarian Disputes, International Law, and Transnational Tribunals in Drinan’s Can God and Caesar Coexist?, 45 Journal of Catholic Legal Studies 11 (2006)
Thawing a Frozen Conflict: Legal Aspects of the Separatist Crisis in Moldova, 61 The Record of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (2006)
Resolving Treaty Conflicts, 37 George Washington International Law Review 573 (2005)
American Lawyers and International Competence, 18 Dickinson Journal of International Law 493 (2001) (with Charlotte Ku)
Law and International Relations, 31 New Mexico Law Review 85 (2001)
The Theory and Practice of Regional Organization Intervention in Civil Wars, 26 New York University Journal of International Law and Politics 797 (1994)
Recognition/ Non-recognition in International Law (Final Report – Sydney 2018), International Law Association (Co-Rapporteur) (2018)
Recognition/ Non-recognition in International Law (Second Interim Report – Washington DC 2014), International Law Association (Co-Rapporteur) (2014)
Introductory Note to ICJ Advisory Opinion on Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Kosovo, 49 International Legal Materials (2011)
Of Maps, Stories, and Tapestries: Researching International and Domestic Law in the Age of Globalization, in George Washington International Law Review Guide to International Legal Research (2003)
Presidential Panel: International Law and the Sole Superpower, Proceedings of the American Society of International Law 2002 (2002) (reporter)
Judicial Views of International Law, Proceedings of the American Society of International Law 2001 (2001) (reporter)
Judicial Views of International Law, 95 American Society of International Law Proceedings 28 (2001)
"Discovery" in International Legal Developments Year in Review: 1998, 33 International Lawyer 424 (1999)
"World Court Rejects Yugoslav Requests to Enjoin Ten NATO Members from Bombing Yugoslavia" in American Society of International Law Insight (June 1999) (with Peter H.F. Bekker) (link)
"Discovery" in International Legal Developments Year in Review: 1997, 32 International Lawyer 237 (1998)
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights: Critique of the Department of State's 1996 Country Report on Haiti (1997)
"Discovery" in International Legal Developments Year in Review: 1996, 31 International Lawyer 334 (1997)
Opinio Juris, a weblog dedicated to reports, commentary, and debate on current developments and scholarship in the fields of international law and politics (co-founder and contributor) (link)
Paper Presentations & Selected Speaking Engagements
“Blogging and Legal Academia,” AALS Workshop for New Law Teachers, Washington, DC, June 20, 2009.
“Hearts and Minds and Laws: Legal Compliance and Diplomatic Persuasion,” 15th-Annual Ethics Symposium—Law, Ethics and the War on Terror, South Texas Law School, September 19, 2008.
“Is Kosovo a Precedent?: Secession, Self Determination and Conflict Resolution,” Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC, June 13, 2008.
Keynote, “How Does a Conflict Become ‘Frozen’?” Conference on the Basic Principles for the Settlement of the Conflicts of the GUAM States; GUAM/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan; Baku, Azerbaijan; April 15-16, 2008.
“Consequences of Illegal Use of Force in Territorial Acquisition,”Conference on the Basic Principles for the Settlement of the Conflicts of the GUAM States; GUAM/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan; Baku, Azerbaijan, April 15-16, 2008.
“Law, Geopolitics, and Eurasia’s ‘Frozen Conflicts’”, International Law Colloquium, George Washington University Law School, February 4, 2008.
“Legal Aspects of the Moldovan Secessionist Conflict,” Center for European Policy Studies, Brussels, Belgium, December 2007.
"International Law and Web 2.0;" ASIL Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, March 30, 2007.
“Imperium, Region, and Normative Friction,” Seton Hall Law School Faculty Colloquium, March 19, 2007.
“Imagining Sovereignty, Managing Secession: The Legal Geography of Eurasia’s ‘Frozen Conflicts,’” Oregon Review of International Law Symposium- Complexities of Scale: the Role of the Subnational in International Law; University of Oregon School of Law, March 16, 2007.
“Whose Public, Whose Order?: Imperium, Region, and Normative Friction,” Yale Journal of International Law Conference, The “New” New Haven School: International Law—Past, Present, and Future;Yale Law School, March 9-10, 2007.
“The Relation of Domestic and International Judiciaries,” International Association of Judges Conference (Panel Moderator, Co-Organizer, Co-Host) November 2006.
Thawing a Frozen Conflict: Legal Aspects of the Separatist Crisis in Moldova: A Report from the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Parliamentary Conference in Moldova (July 2006) (link)
“The War on Financing International Terrorism: On the Frontlines,” New York International Law Review Symposium (Moderator) (April 2006) (link)
"Separatism in Moldova: Legal Aspects of a “Frozen Conflict,” Villanova University School of Law Faculty Workshop, February 2006.
"Separatism in Moldova: Legal Aspects of a “Frozen Conflict,” United Nations Program, November 2005.
“Hope: Foundation of a Civilization of Love and Justice,” 2005 Vincentian Chair of Social Justice Conference at St. John’s University, October 2005. (link)
“U.N. Reform and the International Court of Justice,” International Law Weekend 2005, American Branch of the International Law Association (Organizer and Panel Moderator), October 2005. (link)
How Does a Conflict Become ‘Frozen’?, Proceeding of the Conference on the Basic Principles for the Settlement of the Conflicts of the GUAM States (2008)
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