Robert Goldman

Professor of Law
Louis C. James Scholar

Office: Room Y315
Phone: 202-274-4111
Email: vCard


Robert K. Goldman is Professor of Law and Louis C. James Scholar at American University Washington College of Law. He is also Faculty Director of the War Crimes Research Office and Co-Director of WCL’s Center For Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. A member of WCL’s faculty since 1971, Professor Goldman was the law school’s Acting Dean from 1979-1980. He was instrumental in founding and was the first Faculty Director of WCL’s International Legal Studies Program. He practiced international trade law at Arnold & Porter from 1974-1976.

Professor Goldman teaches, practices and writes in the areas of International Law, Human Rights Law, Terrorism, and International Humanitarian Law. In 1993, he chaired the Commission of International Jurists on the Administration of Justice in Peru, jointly tasked by the US and Peruvian governments to evaluate Peru’s anti-terrorist legislation. He helped from 1994-1996 develop the normative framework for internally displaced persons and was a principal author of The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. He was a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights from 1995 to 2004 and was that body’s president in 1999-2000. From July 2004 to August 2005, Professor Goldman was the former UN Human Rights Commission’s Independent Expert on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. In 2009, he was elected a Commissioner and member of the Executive Committee of the International Commission of Jurists and since 2013 has been its Vice President. Prior to his election to the Inter-American Commission, he was a member of the Policy Committee of Human Rights Watch and the Advisory Boards of Americas Watch, Helsinki Watch and Middle East Watch. Professor Goldman is currently a member of the State Department’s Fine Arts Committee.



Areas of Specialization

  • International Human Rights
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • International Law

Degrees & Universities

  • J.D., University of Virginia Law School 1971
  • Universidad de la Republica, Montevideo, Uruguay 1968 (Fulbright Fellow)
  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania 1967 (cum laude)

  • Selected Publications

    • + More Publications...

    • Books

    • Robert Goldman (co-author), The International Dimension of Human Rights: A Guide for Application in Domestic Law 2001 (Inter-Amer Dev. Bank 2001).
    • Robert Goldman (co-author), Needless Deaths in The Gulf War (Middle East Watch 1991).
    • Robert Goldman, The Protection of Human Rights in the Americas: Past, Present and Future (N.Y.U. 1972).
    • Other Publications

    • Robert Goldman, History and Action: the Inter-American Human Rights System and the Role of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 31 Hum. Rights Q. 856 (2009).
    • Robert Goldman, “Internal Displacement, the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the Principles’ Normative Status, and the Need for Their Effective Domestic Implementation in Colombia”, in Colombian Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 2, 59-86 (Universidad de Rosario 2009).
    • Robert Goldman, Historia y Accion: el Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos y el Papel de La Comision Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, La Proteccion Internacional de Los Derechos Humanos: Un Reto en el Siglo XXI , 109-148 (El colegio de Mexico, Velasco & Ortega eds. 2007).
    • Robert Goldman, La Contribucion Argentina al Sistema Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Derechos Humanos y Un Nuevo Orden Global , 150-170 (Ministerio de Relaciones Exeriores, Comercio Internacional y Culto 2007).
    • Gallon, Gustavo et al., Simposio. Una Revisión Crítica del Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos: Pasado, Presente y Futuro, in Anuario de Derecho Humanos 2007, 53-82 (Mariano Fernández Valle, Universidad de Chile, Centro de Derechos Humanos 2007).
    • Robert Goldman, Report of the Independent Expeert on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism to the UN Commission on Human Rights, E/CN.4/2005/103 (Feb. 7, 2005).
    • Robert Goldman, Trivializing Torture: The Office of Legal Counsel's 2002 Opinion Letter and the International Law Against Torture, 12 Hum. Rights Br. 1 (Fall 2004).
    • Robert Goldman, Quien Comete Atrocidades, Fortalece Al Enemigo, Numero 39 (Bogota, Colom.) XIII, XIII-XVI (Dec. 2003).
    • Robert Goldman (co-author), Report of the Commission of International Jurists on the Administration of Justice in Peru, (Nov. 2003).
    • Robert Goldman, The Legal Status of Iraqi and Foreign Combatants Captured by Coalition Armed Forces, Crimes of War Project (Apr. 7, 2003).
    • Robert Goldman & Diane Orentlicher, Rules Between Guerrilla Warfare and War Crimes, Wash. Post (Outlook) (Apr. 6, 2003).
    • Robert Goldman & Brian Tittemore, Unprivileged Combatants and the Hostilities in Afghanistan: Their Status and Rights Under International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, in Am. Soc. Intl. L.: Task Force Papers ( Dec. 2002).
    • Robert Goldman, Certain Legal Questions Raised by the September 11 Attacks, 9 Hum. Rights Br. 2 (Fall 2001).
    • Robert Goldman & Walter Kalin, Proteccion de Los Desplazados Internos Bajo el Derecho Internacional, in Leccion y Ensayos Dossier: Proteccion Internacional de los Derechos Humanos, 223-327 (Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de Buenos Aires 1999).
    • Robert Goldman, Codification of International Rules on Internally Displaced Persons: An Area Where Both Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Considerations are Being Taken Into Account, 324 Intl. Rev. Red Cross 463 (Sept. 1998).
    • Robert Goldman & Walter Kalin, Chapter: Legal Framework, in Masses in Flight, 73-125 (R. Cohen & F. Deng, eds., Brookings Instn. 1998).
    • Robert Goldman, International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and the Internally Displaced in The Modern World of Human Rights, in Essays In Honor of Thomas Buergenthal, 517-548 (Inter-Am. Inst. Hum. Rights 1996).
    • Robert Goldman, Internally Displaced Persons: Global and Regional Initiatives, Specific Protection Needs and the Importance of an Inter-Agency Framework, in Memoria Coloquio Internacional 10 Anos de la Declaracion de Cartagena Sobre Refugiados, 279-305 (UN High Commissioner For Refugees/ Inter-Am. Inst. Hum. Rights 1995).
    • Robert Goldman, International Humanitarian Law: Americas Watch Experience in Monitoring Internal Armed Conflicts, 9 Am. U. J. Intl. L. Policy 49 (1993).
    • Robert Goldman, Uruguay: Amnesty Laws in Violation of the American Convention, 49 The Rev. (Intl. Comm. Jurists) 37 (1993).
  • + Selected Presentations

    • Robert Goldman, Address, Nicola Calipari e le Sfide Della Nouva Intelligence Conference (Rome, Italy, Mar. 6, 2006).
  • + Selected Media Appearances