Paul Williams

Rebecca I. Grazier Professor of Law
and International Relations
Director of the JD/MA Dual Degree Program

Office: Room 400
Phone: 202-274-4271
E-mail: vCard


Paul R. Williams holds the Rebecca I. Grazier Professorship in Law and International Relations at American University. Professor Williams teaches at the School of International Service and the Washington College of Law and also directs the joint JD/MA program in International Relations. Professor Williams is co-founder of the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), a non-profit group, which provides pro bono legal assistance to states and governments involved in peace negotiations, post-conflict constitution drafting, and war crimes prosecutions.

Over the course of his legal practice, Professor Williams has assisted over two dozen peace negotiations and post conflict constitutions. Professor Williams has advised governments across Europe, Asia, as well as North and Sub-Saharan Africa on state recognition, self-determination and state succession issues, and on drafting and implementation of post-conflict constitutions. He is a leading scholar on peace negotiations and post-conflict constitutions, and a highly sought-after international law and policy analyst, being interviewed on over 500 occasions by major media outlets including The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, BBC, and CNN. Professor Williams has authored five books on a variety of topics such as international human rights, international environmental law and international norms of justice; he has also written over three dozen articles on a wide variety of public international law topics. Additionally, Professor Williams has testified before congressional committees concerning peace strategy in Kosovo, and holding war criminals accountable.

Prior to his arrival at American University, Professor Williams spent time as a Senior Associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and as a Fulbright Research Scholar at the University of Cambridge. Professor Williams also served as an Attorney-adviser for European and Canadian affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser.



Areas of Specialization

  • Comparative Law
  • International Human Rights
  • International Law
  • Law and Peace Negotiations

Degrees & Universities

  • Ph.D., University of Cambridge 1998
  • J.D., Stanford Law School 1990
  • A.B., University of California at Davis 1987

  • Selected Publications

    • + More Publications...

    • Paul Williams & Betsy Popken, Earned Sovereignty: The Way Forward, Denv. J. Intl. L. & Policy (2012).
    • Paul Williams & Betsy Popken, Libya and the Evolution of the Law of Humanitarian Intervention, Case W. Res. J. Intl. L. (2012).
    • Paul Williams, Lawfare: A War Worth Fighting, Case W. Res. J. Intl. L. (2011).
    • Paul Williams & Matt Simpson, Drafting in Doha: An assessment of the Darfur Peace Process and Ceasefire Agreements, Nat. Defense Univ. Press (Accepted).
    • Paul Williams, The Case for Federalism in Iraq, Am. U. Inl. L. Rev. (Nov. 2008).
    • Paul Williams & Meghan Stewart, Humanitarian Intervention Post 9/11, Case. W. J. Intl. L. (Spring 2008).
    • Paul Williams, The Responsibility to Protect and International Law, J. of the Hague Acad. of Intl. L. (Spring 2008).
    • Paul Williams & Jennifer Ober, Is It True That There is No Right of Self-Determination for Kosova?, in The Case for Kosova: Passage to Independence (Anna Di Lellio, ed., Anthem Press 2006).
    • Paul Williams & Catherine Croft, Was the Former 1999 NATO Intervention an Illegal War Against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia?, in The Case for Kosova: Passage to Independence (Anna Di Lellio, ed., Anthem Press 2006).
    • Paul Williams & Yoonie Kim, Book Review: Illegal Annexation and State Continuity: The Case of the Incorporation of the Baltic States by the USSR, 99 Am. J. Intl. L. 734 (July 2005).
    • Paul Williams & Karen Heymann, Earned Sovereignty: An Emerging Conflict Resolution Approach, 10 ILSA J. Intl. & Comp. L. 437 (2004).
    • Paul Williams & Francesca Jannotti, Earned Sovereignty: Bridging the Gap between Sovereignty and Self-Determination, St. J. Intl. L. (2004).
    • Paul Williams, Scott Lyons & Tali Neuwirth, Preemption in the 21st Century: What are the Legal Parameters?, 10 ILS j. Intl. & Comp. L. 353 (2004).
    • Paul Williams & Karen Heymann, Earned Sovereignty: An Emerging Conflict Resolution Approach, 10 ILSA J. Intl. & Comp. L. 437 (2004).
    • Paul Williams, Establishing a Stable Democratic Constitutional Structure in Iraq: Some Basic Considerations, Century Fund & The Pub. Intl. L. & Policy Group (2004) (reprinted in 39 New Eng. L. Rev. 53 (2004)).
    • Paul Williams, Michael P. Scharf, & James R. Hooper, Resolving Sovereignty-Based Conflicts: The Emerging Approach of Earned Sovereignty, 1 Den. J. Intl. L. & Policy 349 (2003).
    • Paul Williams, Janusz Bugajski & R. Bruce Hitchner, Achieving a Final Status Settlement for Kosovo, Ctr. Strategic & Intl. Stud. (2003).
    • Paul Williams, The Role of Justice in the Former Yugoslavia: Antidote or Placebo for Coercive Appeasement, 35 Case W. Res. J. Intl. L. 219 (2003).
    • Paul Williams (co-authored), The Role of Justice in the Former Yugoslavia: Antidote or Placebo for Coercive Appeasement, 35 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 219 (2003).
    • Paul Williams & James Hooper, Earned Sovereignty: The Political Dimension, 31 Denv. J. Intl. L. & Policy 355 (2003).
    • Paul Williams, Earned Sovereignty: The Road to Resolving the Conflict Over Kosovo's Final Status, 31 Denv. J. Intl. L. & Policy 387 (2003).
    • Paul Williams & Michael P. Scharf, The Functions of Justice and Anti-justice in the Peace-building Process, 35 Case W. Res. J. Intl. L. 161 (2003).
    • Paul Williams & James Hooper, Simulating Kosovo: Lessons for Final Status Negotiations, U.S. Inst. for Peace (Nov. 2002).
    • Paul Williams & Michael P. Scharf, Report of the Committee of Experts on Nation Rebuilding in Afghanistan, 36 New Eng. L. Rev. 709 (2002).
    • Paul Williams & Abraham D. Sofaer, Doing Justice During Wartime: Why Military Tribunals Make Sense, Policy Rev. (Feb. 2002).
    • Paul Williams, The Role of Justice in Peace Negotiations, in Post Conflict Justice (M. Cherif Bassiouni, ed., Transnatl. Pub. 2002).
    • Paul Williams & Katrina M. Waller, Coercive Appeasement: The Flawed International Response to the Serbian Rogue Regime, 36 New Eng. L. Rev. 825 (2002).
    • Paul Williams, The Norm of Justice and the Negotiation of the Rambouillet/Paris Peace Accords, 13 Leiden J. Intl. L. 207 (May 2000).
    • Paul Williams & M. Schraf, NATO Intervention on Trial: The Legal Case that was Never Made, Hum. Rights Rev. (Feb. 2000).
    • Paul Williams & M. Schraf, Legal Basis for NATO Military Action Taken Against Serbia/Montenegro, 5 Intl. Peacekeeping (Winter 1999).
    • Paul Williams, The Northern Ireland Peace Agreement: Evolving the Principle of Self-Determination, 12 Leiden J. Intl. L. 155 (1999).
    • Paul Williams, Book Review: Trying the Butcher of Omarska, 10 Crim. L. Forum 147 (1999).
    • Paul Williams & Ramzi Nemo, Book Review: Constitutionalizing Globalization: The Postmodern Revival of Confederal Arrangements, 93 Am. J. Intl. L. 561 (1999).
    • Paul Williams, Legal Issues, in A Global Agenda: Issues Before the 53rd General Assembly of the United Nations (Tessitore & Woolfson, eds., Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 1998).
    • Paul Williams, Kosovo: From Crisis to Solution, Prepared in conjunction with the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1997).
    • Paul Williams, Can International Legal Principals Promote the Resolution of Central and East European Transboundary Environmental Disputes?, 7 Geo. Intl. Envtl. L. Rev. 421 (1995).
    • Paul Williams & Major Paul Wade, Bankruptcy in Russia: The Evolution of a Comprehensive Russian Bankruptcy Code, 21 Rev. C. E. Eur. L. 511 (1995).
    • Paul Williams, The Prospects for Improved Central and East European Environmental Dispute Resolution, Proceedings, Conference on Environment in Central Europe: Problems of Transition (Aug. 1994).
    • Paul Williams, International Environmental Dispute Resolution: The Dispute Between Slovakia and Hungary Concerning Construction of the Gabakovo and Nagymaros Dams, 19 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 1 (1994).
    • Paul Williams, State Succession and the International Financial Institutions: Political Criteria or Sound Management?, 43 Intl. Comp. L. Q. 776 (1994).
    • Paul Williams, Treaty Succesion: Conflicting State Practice, 23 Denv. J. Intl. L. & Policy 1 (1994).
    • Paul Williams, Book Review: The Politics and Policy of Deep Seabed Mining, 40 Am. J. Comp. L. 276 (1992).
    • Paul Williams, Book Review: Comm Heritage or Common Burden, 14 Hou. J. Intl. L. 260 (1991).
    • Paul Williams & Steve McHugh, Water Marketing and Instream Flows: the Next Step in Protecting California's Instream Values, 9 Stan. Envtl. L.J 132 (1990).
  • + Selected Presentations

    • Paul Williams, Panelist, What Makes a State? (106th Annual American Society of International Law Proceedings, D.C., Mar. 28, 2012).
    • Paul Williams, Congressional Testimony, Winning the Peace in Kosovo: Time to Formulate a Strategy (Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Sub-Committee on European Affairs, June 2000).
    • Paul Williams, Congressional Testimony, Holding War Criminals Accountable (Senate/House Joint Committee on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Sept. 1999).
  • + Selected Media Appearances