Steven R. Ratner is the Bruno Simma Collegiate Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. He teaches and writes in the field of public international law on a range of issues, including state and corporate duties regarding foreign investment, territorial and ethnic-based disputes, civil and interstate armed conflict, and accountability for human rights violations. He is also interested in the intersection of international law and political philosophy and other theoretical issues.
Ratner came to the Law School in 2004 from the University of Texas School of Law. A member of the board of editors of the American Journal of International Law from 1998 to 2008, he began his legal career as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the US State Department.
In 1998–1999, the United Nations (UN) secretary-general appointed him to a three-person group of experts to consider options for bringing the Khmer Rouge to justice. And in 2010–2011, he was a member of the UN's three-person Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka, which advised the secretary-general on human rights violations related to the end of the Sri Lankan civil war. Since 2022, he has been a commissioner on the UN Human Rights Council's three-person International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia.
Ratner also worked in the legal division of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva and at the Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in The Hague. From 2009 to 2021, he was a member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on International Law. He also is a counsellor of the American Society of International Law and a member of the American Law Institute. He has served as an expert on international investment law in various arbitrations and established. At the Law School, he directs the Geneva International Fellows Program.
"International Law Rules on Treaty Interpretation"
- International and Comparative Law
"Fair and Equitable Treatment and Human Rights: A Moral and Legal Reconciliation"
"Not Just the Historians: Anne Orford’s Insights and the Suspicion Between International Law and Philosophy"
"The Aggravating Duty of Non-Aggravation"
- International and Comparative Law
“Human Rights Politics at the United Nations: An Outsider’s/Insider's Account,” Indiana University Maurer School of Law Center for Constitutional Democracy.
“Can the United Nations Stop Wars and Protect Human Rights?” Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Ann Arbor, MI.
Paper presentation: King’s College London Colloquium on Cecile Fabre’s Through a Glass Darkly, London, UK, “Espionage and Secrecy: An Institutional Inquiry.”
The International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, of which I'm a member, presented its report to the UN General Assembly's Third Committee.
Spoke on a panel on The Secret Life of International Law at the annual meeting of the American Branch of the International Law Association in New York.
Presented a paper project entitled “Espionage and Beyond: Do International Political Morality and Law Need a Theory about Secrecy?", at the University of Richmond Conference on Philosophy and International Law: Contestations and Extensions, Richmond, VA.
University of Michigan Federalist Society talk on Foreign Policy for a Bankrupt Republic, commentator, Ann Arbor, MI.
University of Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict workshop to prepare the Oxford Statement on International Law Protections Against Foreign Electoral Interference through Digital Means, invited expert, virtual from Oxford, UK.
Permanent Missions of Japan and the United States to the United Nations in Geneva Brainstorming Session on Future Directions for a Treaty on Business and Human Rights, panelist, virtual from Geneva, Switzerland.
University of Michigan Donia Human Rights Center Panel on Racism and Race Relations in the United States: What Value for an International Human Rights Perspective?, moderator, virtual from Ann Arbor, MI.
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul International Seminar on Business and Human Rights: Hermeneutics for a Transnational World, Opening Lecture, "Business and Human Rights: Seizing the Opportunity," virtual from Porto Alegre, Brazil.
American Society of International Law Annual Meeting panel on International Law and Theories of Global Justice, moderator, virtual from Washington, D.C..
American Philosophical Association Central Division Meeting panel on the Philosophy of International Law, moderator and commentator on three papers, Chicago, IL.
University of Michigan National Security Law Society Panel on The Deterioration of Iran-U.S. Relations and International Law, presenter, Ann Arbor, MI.
Invited expert, European Commission brainstorming meeting on the design of a multilateral investment court, Washington, D.C.