Faculty Spotlight

Prof. Gathii Examines Kenyan Military Action in Somalia

Professor James Thuo Gathii

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Professor James Gathii analyzes the case for Kenyan military incursion into Somalia in the cover story of December's issue of The Nairobi Law Monthly.

In the article, "Kenya walks tightrope in Somalia," Professor Gathii focuses on Kenya's military offensive against Al-Shabaab from an international perspective, arguing that since the group is a non-state actor, the ability to use force becomes less clear under international law.

Al-Shabaab, which controls parts of Somalia, is accused of kidnapping two women working with Doctors without Borders, as well as several tourists, from Kenyan soil. Kenya has launched a military offensive against the group, citing the need for self defense.

In other activity, Professor Gathii, a leading international law scholar with particular expertise on developing countries and international law, is developing a conference on Africa and International Law, to be held at Albany Law School. Keynote speeches will be delivered by a prosecutor for the International Criminal Court and the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya.

Earlier in December, Professor Gathii delivered a talk at the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner's event "People at the Centre: Human Rights in Global Economics and Development," discuss the right to development and human rights in the context of the proliferation of regional trade agreements between countries. His latest book, African Regional Trade Agreements as Legal Regimes (Cambridge University Press), is an analysis of the impact of these trade agreements between African nations, contrasting the more flexible agreements with other contemporary trade models such as NAFTA or the European Union.

As the Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship and the Governor George E. Pataki Chair of International Commercial Law at Albany Law School in New York state, Professor Gathii’s research and expertise spans the areas of public international law, international economic law, international intellectual property and trade law, as well as on issues of good governance and legal reform as they relate to the third world and sub-Saharan Africa in particular.

Professor Gathii’s publications include War, Commerce and International Law (Oxford University Press), as well as more than 50 articles and book chapters. In addition to teaching at Albany Law School, he has taught courses at the Trade Policy Training Institute in Africa, based in Tanzania, for the past four years. He also spent a sabbatical from 2007 to 2008 in Kenya doing research and visiting as part of the University of Nairobi's Faculty of Law; during that time he also wrote a column for Business Daily (Africa), to which he still contributes.

Professor James Thuo Gathii