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Professor Jennifer Moore

Jennifer Moore

Professor of Law
Ron & Susan Friedman Faculty Excellence Award

B.A. 1983, Amherst College
J.D. 1987, Harvard University
Member of the California Bar

Contact Information

 Ph.: 505-277-5564
 Fax: 505-277-1597
 Office: 3112


Prior to joining the UNM law faculty in 1995, Jennifer Moore worked for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, first as an associate protection officer in West Africa, then as a legal officer in Washington, D.C. In Washington, D.C., she often conducted training sessions on refugee law for government officials, immigrant advocates, and other audiences.

Her interest in refugee issues began when she was a student at Amherst College. Following graduation in 1983, she worked as a research assistant for the Refugee Policy Group, a think tank on refugee issues.

During law school at Harvard, she spent a summer conducting field research on the protection of Salvadoran refugees in Honduras for Catholic Relief Services. This agency provided assistance to the refugees in camps administered by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Moore continues to take on occasional projects for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and, during the summer of 2000, she worked with her father for the War-Torn Societies Project International in Croatia. They interviewed a range of Croatians and expatriates working in Croatia to determine if the climate was right for the project's help in post-conflict reconstruction in that country.

She co-authored the first law school casebook on refugee law, Refugee Law and Policy (Fourth Edition 2011). Moore brings her expertise to the law school, teaching courses on refugee and human rights law.

In 2002-03, Moore was in Tanzania on a Fulbright Scholarship, where she taught international law at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. She also planned and facilitated human rights workshops for Burundian refugees residing in camps in Western Tanzania.

In August, 2004, the Dean of Arts and Sciences appointed Moore Director of UNM Peace Studies, an interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in the study of the causes of violence and alternatives to violence. Her term as Director ended in December 2006, and she remains active in the program as a member of the Peace Studies Curriculum Committee.

Moore authored Humanitarian Law in Action within Africa, in which she explores the various ways in which humanitarian and human rights law serve as tools of conflict resolution and transitional justice in countries emerging from protracted civil wars. The book builds on her field research in Uganda, Burundi and Sierra Leone, and was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. She is currently working on a second manuscript under a book contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press. The working title is Transformation After Violence: Justice, Gender, and Civil Society in Africa. This book focuses on the perspectives of women engaged in grassroots peacebuilding activities in Uganda, Sierra Leone and Burundi, now a decade or more since the peace agreements were negotiated at the national level in each country.

Contracts I

In an industrial society characterized by a "free enterprise" system and notions of individual freedom, "contract" is one of the primary means by which private individuals order their affairs. The contracts course inquires into why promises are enforced as contracts, which promises are enforced, and how they are enforced. The course places emphasis on close and critical analyses of court decisions.

See Professor for course description.

See Professor for course description.

Human Rights: Transitional Justice

Course Description

This three-credit course will be co-taught by Dr. Kathy Powers, of the UNM Political Science Department, and Professor Jennifer Moore, of the UNM School of Law. It is open to JD students and other UNM graduate students, especially but not limited to those pursuing degrees in Political Science, Sociology and Latin American Studies.

For law students, International Law is a pre-requisite. The course will not meet the Law School writing seminar requirement. Evaluation will be based upon a combination of class presentations and the submission of two or more essays on relevant themes.

For grad students in other departments, completion of International Law or a course in International Relations is recommended.

Course Overview

Transitional justice [TJ] refers to a broad spectrum of legal, political and social mechanisms established to help bridge the divide between violence and peace in societies emerging from protracted armed conflicts or periods of political repression characterized by widespread human rights abuses. As a legal term of art, TJ frequently denotes war crimes prosecutions and truth commissions to hold war criminals accountable and to establish the historical record. Nevertheless, the concept has a number of essential additional dimensions. Within the field of political science, TJ is a set of institutions as well as a social movement that emerged from a growing international consensus that impunity is no longer acceptable. Transitional justice advocates demand reparations for victims and survivors, as well as accountability for perpetrators. Incorporating the contributions of alternative dispute resolution, TJ encompasses community reconciliation programs and grassroots purification ceremonies. From the standpoint of social work and socio-economic development, TJ demands broad-based reforms in the health care, education, employment and commercial sectors.

No matter the academic or applied perspective, transitional justice theorists and practitioners must struggle with fundamental questions regarding the relationship between retributive and restorative justice and the proper role of reparations. The ultimate challenge to the theory and practice of transitional justice is whether the mechanisms of post-conflict reconstruction have a transformative impact upon the integrity, equality, agency and wellbeing of the most vulnerable persons in the society, including, women, youth, displaced persons and ethnic and social minorities.

The course will build on a foundation of international legal principles and political science (Week 1), explore the contributions of human rights law, international criminal law and the peace and reconciliative justice movements to transitional justice (Weeks 2-5), touch on the difference between quantitative and qualitative methods in political science (Week 6), address the prevalence of gender-based violence in armed conflict (Week 7), explore the work of truth commissions and reparations movements (Weeks 8-12), and end with consideration of amnesties and other attempts at reform of the security systems in countries emerging from long-term violence and repression into more vibrant, inclusive and democratic societies (Weeks 13-14).

Immigration Law

This 3 credit hours course examines the multitude of issues involving the immigrants and the law. Starting with the historical origins of the United States immigration law, the course will focus on family and employer sponsored immigration, asylum, naturalization, exclusion, and deportation regulations. The impact of the US Patriot Act will also be explored. Beyond the substantive analysis, the course will address the practical aspects of working as an immigration attorney. Various guests will provide insights into topics ranging from enforcement of regulations to the immigration procedures.

International Law

What is international law and how does it relate to national law? How do treaties enter into force and how do they interact with customary law? What protection does the international community accord the dignity of individuals in time of war and peace? Does international law meaningfully regulate the use of military force by governments and other armed groups?

These questions lie at the heart of public international law. In International Law we will begin to address them by exploring the basic concepts of international law through a problem-oriented approach. The course will introduce students to sources of international law, states, international organizations and non-governmental organizations, international dispute settlement, jurisdiction, human rights, international humanitarian law, and the use of force. This is a three-credit course that is open to first year as well as second and third year law students.


This class introduces you to the work and professional roles of lawyers. It investigates the meaning of professionalism; examines the role of personal and professional values in becoming and being a lawyer; and discusses various aspects of legal practice, including ways to improve your likelihood of success and happiness in your career.

As background, empirical studies show that lawyers who pick their fields carefully based upon their own strengths and needs are happier and do better in the profession overall. Other studies show that multitasking and excessive stress interfere with clear thinking. Indeed, calm focused people are better at what they do, whatever profession they enter. They are also more efficient and work better with others. Calm focused people are also happier and have a better sense of their own priorities and values. This class is designed to:

  • help you learn about the legal system and the professional role of attorneys;
  • help you create space in your life for activities that keep you balanced as a human being;
  • help you control stress and thus enhance your academic and professional success;
  • help you improve your interpersonal skills;
  • allow you to develop a support system at the law school by getting to know some of your peers in an unconventional setting; and
  • allow you to develop a relationship with a faculty member that is supportive both inside and outside the classroom.

Being a lawyer can be all you want it to be and can give you the power to bring about whatever change you want to see. This class will help prepare you to do just that.

Refugee and Asylum Law

This course will explore the evolution of both international and domestic legal protections for individuals fleeing persecution in their countries of origin. Starting in the international realm, students will study the development of the definition of a refugee and the norm of "non-refoulement," which prohibits the forcible return of individuals to countries in which their lives or freedom would be threatened. In discussing the form and content of international refugee protections, students will be asked to examine the fundamental inter-relationship between human rights law and refugee law. They will also address the potential conflict which exists between the principle of national sovereignty and the capacity of the international community to meaningfully prevent or respond to state repression.

The course will then examine the incorporation of international refugee law into U.S. law and policy, beginning with the interpretation by U.S. courts of the refugee definition, based upon the "well-founded fear of persecution." Students will also study more recent federal court decisions which analyze emergent issues in U.S. asylum jurisprudence, including conscientious objection to forced military service as a basis for asylum, as well as gender-related forms of persecution.

Blog Articles

Jennifer Moore, Talking with Women about Community Healing in Uganda and Sierra Leone, IntLawGrrls Blog Post (featuring voices on international law, policy and practice), August 3, 2016,

Jennifer Moore, Freedom from Detention for Central American Families, Oxford U. Press Blog (August 17, 2015),

Jennifer Moore, The Responsibility to Protect in the Ebola outbreak, Oxford U. Press Blog (September 22, 2014),

Jennifer Moore, Humanitarian protection for unaccompanied children from Central America, Oxford U. Press Blog (July 30, 2014, 5:30 AM),

Jennifer Moore, Punitive Military Strikes on Syria Risk an Inhumane Intervention, Oxford U. Press Blog (Sept. 2, 2013, 4:30 AM),

Jennifer Moore, Just Who Are Humanitarian Workers?, Oxford U. Press Blog (Aug. 19, 2013, 5:30 AM),


Humanitarian Law in Action within Africa (Oxford University Press, 2012)

Refugee Law and Policy: A Comparative and International Approach, co-authored with K. Musalo & R. Boswell (4th Edition, Carolina Academic Press, 2011).

Articles and Book Chapters

Engendering Peace and Justice after Armed Conflict: A Call for Qualitative Research among Women's Community Networks" (Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security Occasional Paper Series, 2016).

"Demonizing Muslims Only Benefits IS," Opinion Piece published in The Albuquerque Journal, Dec. 19, 2015.

Transforming Societies after Violence: Conceptualizing and Contextualizing Transitional Justice in Africa (J.R. Stormes SJ, E.O. Opongo SJ, K. Wansamo SJ, and P. Knox SJ, eds., ACORD and HIPSIR, 2015.)

Protection against the Forced Return of War Refugees: An Interdisciplinary Consensus on Humanitarian Non-refoulement (Chapter 17 in Refuge from Inhumanity: War Refugees and International Humanitarian Law, Eds. David Cantor and Jean-Francois Durieux, Martinus Nijhoff, 2014).

R2P= MDGs: Implementing the Responsibility to Protect through the Millennium Development Goals, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy (Vol. 40, Nos. 1-3, 2012).

The Alchemy of Exile: Strengthening a Culture of Human Rights in the Burundian Refugee Camps in Tanzania, Washington University Journal of Law and Policy (Vol. 27, 2008).

U.S. Funding Key to U.N.’s Darfur Mission (opinion piece calling for U.S. action to end genocide in Darfur, Sudan), Albuquerque Journal, Wednesday, September 13, 2006.

Third Anniversary of Iraq Invasion Sparks Dissent (opinion piece calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq), Albuquerque Journal, Saturday, March 25, 2006.

Practicing What We Preach: Humane Treatment for Detainees in the War on Terror, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy (Vol. 34, No. 1, Winter 2005).

Collective Security with a Human Face: An International Legal Framework for Coordinated Action to Alleviate Violence and Poverty, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, (Vol. 33, No. 1, Winter 2004).

Senate Vote Should Reaffirm American Values (opinion piece opposing Alberto Gonzales nomination as U.S. Attorney General), Albuquerque Journal, Wednesday, February 2, 2005.

As U.N. 'Negotiates,' Sudan Genocide Rages (opinion piece), Albuquerque Journal, Monday, December 6, 2004.

Speaking Law to Power: Joan Fitzpatrick, 1950-2003 (obituary), Journal of Refugee Studies (Vol. 16, No. 4, December 2003).

Whither the Accountability Theory: Second-Class Status for Third-Party Refugees as a Threat to International Protection, International Journal of Refugee Law (Vol. 13, Nos. 1 & 2, 2001).

From Nation State to Failed State: International Protection from Human Rights Abuses by Non-State Agents, 31 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 81 (1999).

Restoring the Humanitarian Character of U.S. Refugee Law: Lessons from the International Community, 15 Berkeley J. Int'l L. 51 (1997).

The International Protection of Refugees: The Impact of Emergent Challenges on U.S. Law and Policy, inContemporary Practice of Public International Law (Ellen G. Schaffer & Randall J. Snyder eds., 1997).

Simple Justice: Humanitarian Law as a Defense to Deportation, 4 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 11 (1991).

Book Reviews

Book Review, 11 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 277 (1988) (reviewing Elvia Alvarado, A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart)(co-authored with J. Vogele).

Contributions to Official Documents

Discussion Paper, "Non-State Agents of Persecution as a Basis for Refugee Statues" (as consultant for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, drafted and submitted paper to UNHCR Division of International Protection, 23 April, 1998).

Sexual Violence Against Refugees: Guidelines on Prevention and Response (UNHCR, March 1995, Geneva) (drafted comments to 1994 Proposed Guidelines for UNHCR Headquarters, in capacity as UNHCR Associate Legal Officer, Washington, D.C.).

Immigration and Naturalization Service "Considerations for INS Officers Adjudicating Asylum Claims from Women" (Memorandum from Phyllis Coven, Office of International Affairs, U.S. INS to all INS Asylum Offices, May 26, 1995) (drafted UNHCR comments to 1994 Proposed INS Gender Considerations, in capacity as UNHCR Associate Legal Officer, Washington, D.C.).

UNHCR Protection Reports on the United States (1994, 1993) (drafted sections of two consecutive annual reports on the status of refugees in the United States, in capacity as UNHCR Associate Legal Officer, Washington, D.C.).

UNHCR Protection Reports on Guinea (1992, 1991) (drafted sections of two consecutive annual reports on the status of refugees in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa, in capacity as UNHCR Associate Protection Officer, Conakry, Guinea).

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