Michael Newton

Acting Associate Clinical Professor of Law
Vanderbilt University Law School

LL.M., J.D. University of Virginia LL.M. The Judge Advocate General’s School

B.S. United States Military Academy at West Point

Mike Newton came to Vanderbilt having previously served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Law, United States Military Academy. A highly sought after speaker on accountability and conduct of hostilities issues, he has published more than 30 articles, editorials and book chapters, as well as op-eds for the New York Times and International Herald Tribune among other papers. Professor Newton is a member of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. At Vanderbilt, he teaches practice-based courses relating to international law and international criminal law and develops externships and other educational opportunities for students interested in international legal issues. He developed and teaches Vanderbilt’s innovative International Law Practice Lab. As the Senior Advisor to the United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Professor Newton implemented a wide range of policy positions related to the law of armed conflict, including U.S. support to accountability mechanisms worldwide. He was the senior member of the team that taught international law to the first group of Iraqis who began to think about accountability mechanisms and a constitutional structure in November 2000. He subsequently assisted in drafting the Statute of the Iraqi High Tribunal, and served as the Advisor to the Judicial Chambers in 2006. Professor Newton has taught Iraqi jurists on seven other occasions, both inside and outside Iraq and as part of the academic consortium he assists Vanderbilt students in providing substantive advice to the lawyers in Iraq. He served as the U.S. representative on the U.N. Planning Mission for the Sierra Leone Special Court, and was also a member of the Special Court academic consortium. From January 1999 to August 2000, he served in the Office of War Crimes Issues, U.S. Department of State. He negotiated the Elements of Crimes document for the International Criminal Court, and coordinated the interface between the FBI and the ICTY and deployed into Kosovo to do the forensics fieldwork to support the Milosevic indictment.

Professor Newton began his distinguished military career after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served as an armor officer in the 4th Battalion, 68th Armor, Fort Carson, Colorado until his selection for the Judge Advocate General’s Funded Legal Education Program. As an operational military attorney, Professor Newton served with the United States Army Special Forces Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina in support of units participating in Desert Storm. Following duty as the Chief of Operational Law, he served as the Group Judge Advocate for the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He deployed on Operation Provide Comfort to assist Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq, as well as a number of other exercises and operations. From 1993-1995 he was reassigned as the Brigade Judge Advocate for the 194th Armored Brigade (Separate), during which time he organized and led the human rights and rules of engagement education for all Multinational Forces and International Police deploying into Haiti. He subsequently was appointed as a Professor of International and Operational Law at the Judge Advocate General’s School, Charlottesville, Virginia from 1996-1999.

Representative Publications

  • Unlawful Belligerency after September 11: History Revisited and Law Revised,” in New Wars, New Laws? Applying the Laws of War to 21st Century Conflicts 75 (David Wippman and Matthew Evangelista, eds., 2005)
  • “The Iraqi High Criminal Court: Controversy and Contributions,” 88 International Review of the Red Cross (forthcoming 2006)
  • “War by Proxy: Legal and Moral Duties of ‘Other Actors’ Derived from Government Affiliation,” Case W. Res. J. Int’l L., Symposium Issue, Fall 2005 (forthcoming 2006)
  • “The Iraqi Special Tribunal: A Human Rights Perspective,” 38 Cornell Int. L.J. 863 (2005)
  • “Iraq’s New Court Finds Itself on Trial,” New York Times Op-Ed Page, Nov. 24, 2004.
  • “I Am an American Soldier: Reflections on Abu Graib,” 45 Anthropology News No. 6, at 17 (September 2004)
  • “Harmony or Hegemony? The American Military Role in the Pursuit of Justice,” 19 Conn. J. Int’l Law 231 (2004)
  • “Comparative Complementarity: Domestic Jurisdiction Consistent with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” 167 Mil. L. Rev. 20 (March 2001) [Recipient, ABA Military Writing Award – 2002]
  • “International Criminal Law Aspects of the War Against Terrorism,” in International Law and the War on Terror, 79 U.S. Naval War College International Law Studies 323 (2003)

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