Featured Faculty: Paolo Carozza

Author: Susan Good

International Law


According to Notre Dame Associate Professor of Law Paolo Carozza, international law is inextricably linked to, well, just about everything. “You could be making RVs in Indiana, but you’re still linked to the economy in China. You might be practicing family law in Arizona, but much of that work is about the migration of persons across jurisdictions when a family originates from Mexico,” says Carozza. “Understanding international law is, as a practical matter, a necessity for being a good, competent, able, creative lawyer regardless of what field of law you’re practicing in, period.”

Still, Carozza emphasizes that the reasons for learning international law transcend practicality. “Law, at some level, is about dedicating your life to solidarity with other human beings; about trying to organize life in a way that helps us achieve things that we want for our families and communities and for our world. Those things don’t stop at borders.”

Carozza believes that Notre Dame is home to one of the best public international law and international human rights programs in the country. “Not only are our scholars top in their field, we also have the capacity to become more globally present through other units of the greater University,” such as the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. Carozza is a fellow of all three.

As a former member and past president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) – the international body principally responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights in the 35 nations of the Western hemisphere – Carozza traveled throughout the Americas monitoring human rights conditions, and at IACHR headquarters in Washington, DC, he adjudicated individuals’ claims of rights violations by their governments. Carozza’s four-year term with the Commission ended in December 2009.

“It’s pretty impressive to note that, among those who work in the major human rights organizations around the world, Notre Dame graduates are represented extremely well.”

A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1996, Carozza is actively involved in the Law School’s Center for Civil and Human Rights (CCHR), and serves as director of the doctoral program in international human rights law. He earned both his bachelor’s and law degrees from Harvard, and pursued graduate studies at Cambridge University and at Harvard Law School as a Ford Foundation Fellow in Public International Law. After law school, he served as a judicial clerk for the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia and worked as an associate at the Washington, D.C., law firm Arnold & Porter.

For more information about Professor Carozza, visit his faculty profile page.

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