Sienho Yee   ©    中文简历

Professor of International Law, China Foreign Affairs University

Member, Institut de Droit International ; **Member of the US Supreme Court Bar

Author: Towards an International Law of Co-progressiveness ** Editor-in-chief,  Chinese Journal of International Law (an Oxford journal; SSCI)


Email: sienho[AT]


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Publications * Law School * IL Teaching; *UNCLOS dispute settlement *Lectures 讲座/著作单子 共进国际法,共进国际法新篇 *领袖型国家;*完美法治 *《哥大法评》文章


Sienho Yee’s research interests are in public international law (PIL), especially the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), international dispute settlement in general and some structural questions of the international legal system. His articles on these issues and the international law of co-progressiveness have appeared in fine journals (List of publications) such as American Journal of International Law, Columbia Law Review, Chinese Journal of International Law; European Journal of International Law, German Yearbook of International Law, International and Comparative Law Quarterly (ICLQ), Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law, and Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, and some have been used as reading materials in august universities and cited in good casebooks, and cited, reviewed, abstracted, debated in good journals and used in international litigation. His paper, “A Proposal to Reformulate Article 23 of the ILC Draft Statute for an International Criminal Court”, 19 Hastings ICLR (1996), 529 (on the relationship between the United Nations Security Council and the International Criminal Court), has been considered by some to have contributed to “the origination of the principle employed in” an important provision, Article 16, of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Another paper, The Interpretation of “Treaties in Force” in Article 35(2) of the Statute of the ICJ, 47 ICLQ (1998), 884 was reproduced by Germany as Annex 31 to its Preliminary Objections filed in the Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Montenegro v. Germany) case before the International Court of Justice and discussed in that filing (pp. iv; 28) and was described as an “excellent study” [sic] in Italy’s filing (pp. 11-12), and then was quoted by one paragraph in Judge Elaraby’s 8 separate opinions (ICJ Reports 2004, pp. 262, 508, 653, 798, 944, 1093, 1240, 1385) in the related cases. His arguments were discussed several times in open court on 9 May 2006 in another related case at the ICJ. His works have also been cited in the Mauritius v. UK arbitration award and in a separate opinion in the California Supreme Court. He contributed two papers with almost 100 pages on Article 40 (how to start a case) and Article 45 (the President’s control over proceedings) of the ICJ Statute to the book The Statute of the International Court of Justice: A Commentary (Oxford University Press 2006; 2d edn, 2012; 3d edn, 2019). He was the principal presenter on Article 38 of the Statute and applicable law at the Seminar organized by the ICJ to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding (2016), and the invited author on territory for the 150th anniversary celebration book of the Institut de Droit International (IDI 2023). In July 2012, he delivered a special course of lectures on “Jus Cogens at the International Court of Justice” at The Hague Academy of International Law. He also delivered other special courses on aspects of dispute settlement at Thessaloniki Institute on standing to invoke State responsibility in 2003, at Xiamen Academy on ICJ Statute, art.38(1)(d) in 2007 and again at Xiamen Academy on the dispute settlement system under the UN Law of the Sea Convention in 2014. In dispute settlement, he has served as former judicial law clerk to Judge Li Haopei, Appeals Chamber, UN Int’l Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (1995-96) and to Judge Robert E. Cowen, US Court of Appeals, 3d Cir. (1993-94), and as adviser, consultant, counsel and/or advocate to governmental authorities from different continents since 2000 in various matters including case preparation before the ICJ and ITLOS and amicus briefing before the US Supreme Court (in Kiobel case; Vitamins cases ). He also served as Sub-reporter on ICJ Reform for the ILA Study Group on UN Reform and former Co-Chair and Chair (2001-04), ILA American Branch Committee on International Dispute Settlement.

In a paper published in April 2001 he proposed the concept of the “international law of co-progressiveness” and coined this phrase to capture the spirit of the current stage of international law development following the law of co-existence and the law of co-operation.  His exposition of this concept has been used as teaching materials internationally (Course), featured in Xinhua Digests and Renmin University Reprints.  Innsbruck University invited him to give a special lecture on the concept. Martinus Nijhoff has published his “collected works” elaborating the concept: Towards an International Law of Co-progressiveness (Part I, 2004; * Part II: Membership, Leadership and Responsibility, 2014). He has also been invited to participate in other world projects such as the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law and International Law in Domestic Courts. 

His educational and professional qualifications include his Juris Doctor degree in 1993 from Columbia Univ. Law School (Columbia Law Review note author) and membership in the Bar of New York State (1994) and the Bar of the US Supreme Court (2004).  He was also a student in some other most interesting places.


He was elected membre associé of Institut de Droit International in 2009 in Napoli at 44, and became membre in 2013 in Tokyo.


His experiences include being: (1) Professor of International Law, China Foreign Affairs University; (2) MOE Changjiang Xuezhe Professor of International Law and Chief Expert, Wuhan University Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies and Institute of International Law, Wuhan, China; (2a) Distinguished Professor, National University of Malaysia; (3) Editor-in-chief (founding co-editor-in-chief), Chinese Journal of International Law (Oxford; SSCI) & Advisory Board Member and formerly editor, International Law in Domestic Courts (Oxford) and member of various other boards of editors; (4) Project Chief Expert, “State Major Research Project” on “China’s Constructive Role in the Settlement of International Disputes and Global Crisis-situations” (China Social Sciences Foundation); (5) Member of IDI Commission on Jurisprudence and Precedent in International Law and others; (6) former counsel, IMF Legal Dept; (8) associate, Sullivan & Cromwell, New York; (9) formerly, Fowler Hamilton Visiting Research Fellow, Christ Church, Oxford; visitor at Harvard, Humboldt, and Tel Aviv; Rockefeller Bellagio Resident Fellow; Tengfei Professor of International Law and Director of the Silk Road Institute of International Law, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China; associate professor of law at the University of Colorado School of Law; lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London and teacher of international law in other interesting places.


He has given invited presentations/lectures at interesting places including Beijing (on international law of co-progressiveness); the Old Library, All Souls College, Oxford (on Opinio Juris); the “Very Hot Palace” at St Petersburg, Russia during its 300th anniversary celebrations (on Forum prorogatum returns to the International Court of Justice); Oxford Public International Law Group (on ITLOS presidency) and Wuhan (on member responsibility for acts of an international organization).