About the Competition

The Virginia Law Human Rights Student Scholars Writing Competition (HRSSWC) is sponsored by the University of Virginia School of Law’s Human Rights Program and the Virginia Journal of International Law. This global competition is designed to encourage student scholarly inquiry into human rights topics and afford emerging student scholars an opportunity to develop their research and contributions by interacting with Virginia’s preeminent international law faculty

The HRSSWC welcomes all student papers relating to human rights law from current J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. students from the United States and abroad. Recent graduates may also submit papers written as part of their law school curriculum. Entrants are encouraged to view this topic broadly, submitting any work that furthers understanding of a substantive area of human rights law.

The student author of the top paper will receive a cash prize of $500 and expedited consideration for publication in the Virginia Journal of International Law. Additionally, the winning author may be invited to present his or her paper at a symposium involving UVA’s international law faculty, VJIL editors, and UVA law students.

Papers will be judged on quality of analysis and writing. The judging committee will include members of Virginia’s law faculty and VJIL editors.

Current Winner

Bachmutsky Headshot
Roi Bachmutsky, Harvard Law School

“Otherwise Occupied: The Legal Status of the Gaza Strip 50 Years After the Six Day War”

Roi Bachmutsky earned his bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with highest honors and general distinction from the University of California, Berkeley. Upon graduating, Roi spent the following year working at one of Israel’s leading human rights organizations, Breaking the Silence, where he met a cadre of accomplished Israeli and Palestinian human rights lawyers and was inspired to attend law school.

During his time at Harvard Law School, Roi served as a Student Attorney at the International Human Rights Clinic (IHRC), Symposium Co-Chair for the Harvard Human Rights Journal (HHRJ), Project Leader at Student Advocates for Human Rights, and a Research Assistant for the Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC). During his two years at the IHRC, Roi specialized in promoting accountability for human rights abuses by providing legal advice to activists from Myanmar’s Rohingya community, assisting in the drafting of a petition for a writ of certiorari in Ntsebeza v. Ford Motor Co. before the U.S. Supreme Court, and leading a team of students to assess the viability of litigation to hold corporations accountable for violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He spent his summers working at the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), and the U.S. Department of Justice Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP).

Roi graduated in May of 2017 and will spend the coming year working on issues of international criminal justice in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA).

Past Winners

2015 Winner:

Alyson Zureick, New York University School of Law

“(En)Gendering Suffering: Denial of Abortion as a Form of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment”

2013 Winner: 

Kendra L. Wergin, University of Virginia School of Law & Sciences Po Paris École de Droit

“Problematic Precedents: The Conflicting Legacies in the Genocide Jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia”

2012 Winner:

Clare M. Boronow, University of Virginia School of Law

“Silencing the Media in Sri Lanka: How the Sri Lankan Constitution Fuels Self-Censorship and Hinders Reconciliation”

2011 Winner:

Clare M. Boronow, University of Virginia School of Law

“Closing the Accountability Gap for Indian and Alaska Native Tribes: Balancing the Right to Self Determination with the Right to a Remedy”

2010 Winner:

Andrew Herman, New York University School of Law

“Reassessing the Role of Supplier Codes of Conduct: Closing the Gap Between Aspiration and Reality”

2009 Winner:

Alyssa Bell, New York University School of Law

“Torturous Intent: Refoulement of Haitian Nationals and U.S. Obligations Under the Convention Against Torture”