Chimène Keitner

Chimene Keitner Headshot

Position Title
Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law


Professor Chimène Keitner is a leading authority on international law and civil litigation, and served as the 27th Counselor on International Law in the U.S. Department of State. She has authored two books and dozens of articles, essays, and book chapters on questions surrounding the relationship among law, communities, and borders, including issues of jurisdiction, extraterritoriality, foreign sovereign and foreign official immunity, and the historical understandings underpinning current practice in these areas.

Professor Keitner holds a bachelor’s degree in history and literature with high honors from Harvard, a JD from Yale, where she was a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow, and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

Among other professional service, Professor Keitner has served on the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law and as Co-Chair of the ASIL International Law in Domestic Courts Interest Group. She is a member of the American Law Institute and an Adviser on the ALI’s Fourth Restatement of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States. She is also a founding co-chair of the International Law Association’s Study Group on Individual Responsibility in International Law.

Education and Degree(s)
  • A.B. History and Literature, magna cum laude, Harvard University, 1996
  • D.Phil. International Relations, Oxford University, 2001
  • J.D., Yale Law School, 2002
Honors and Awards
  • Hoopes Prize & Dabney Senior Prize for honors thesis
  • Human Rights
Research Interests & Expertise
  • Civil Procedure
  • Cyberlaw
  • International Law
  • Law and Digital Technology



International Law (8th ed.), with Allen S. Weiner & Duncan B. Hollis (Aspen 2023)

International Law Frameworks (5th ed.) (West Academic 2021)

  • 4th ed., with David J. Bederman (West Academic 2016)

The Paradoxes of Nationalism: The French Revolution and Its Meaning for Contemporary Nation Building (State Univ. of NY Press 2007; paperback 2008)

Articles and Book Chapters

The Extraterritorial Rights of Refugees, in Research Handbook on Extraterritoriality in International Law (Austen Parrish & Cedric Ryngaert, eds., Edward Elgar, 2023).

Sovereignty, Humanity, and Justice: Reflections on the U.S. Law of Foreign Sovereign Immunity, in Sovereign Immunity Under Pressure: Norms, Values, and Interests (Régis Bismuth, Vera Rusinova, Vladislav Starzhenetskiy & Geir Ulfstein, eds., Springer, 2022).

A Roadmap for Foreign Official Immunity Cases in U.S. Courts (with William S. Dodge), 90 Fordham L. Rev. 677 (2021).

Prosecuting Foreign States, 61 Va. J. Int’l L. 221 (2021).

Testimony Before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Foreign Sovereign Immunity and COVID-19: Part I, Part II, Part III & Part IV, Harv. Nat’l Sec. J. Online (2021–22).

Foreign Election Interference and International Law, in Defending Democracies: Combating Foreign Election Interference in a Digital Age (Jens Ohlin & Duncan Hollis, eds., Oxford Univ. Press, 2021).

Cybercrime vs. Cyberwar: Paradigms for Addressing Malicious Cyber Activity (with Mieke Eoyang), 11 J. Nat. Sec. L. & Pol’y (2021).

Authority and Dialogue: State and Official Immunity in Domestic and International Courts, in Concepts of International Law in Europe and the United States (Chiara Giorgetti & Guglielmo Verdirame, eds., Cambridge Univ. Press, 2021).

Personal Jurisdiction and Fifth Amendment Due Process Revisited, in The Restatement (Fourth) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States: Past, Present and Future (Paul Stephan & Sarah Cleveland, eds., Oxford Univ. Press, 2020).

The Law Against Family Separation (with Carrie Cordero & Heidi Li Feldman), 51 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 432 (2020).

The Law and Politics of the “Shifting Border,” in The Shifting Border: Ayelet Shachar in Dialogue (Peter Niesen, ed., Manchester Univ. Press, 2020).

Between Law and Diplomacy: The Conundrum of Common Law Immunity, 54 Ga L. Rev. 217 (2019).

Attribution by Indictment, 113 AJIL Unbound 207 (2019).

Immunities of Foreign Officials from Civil Jurisdiction, in Cambridge Handbook on Immunities and International Law (Tom Ruys & Nicolas Angelet, eds., Cambridge Univ. Press, 2019).

Explaining International Acts, 63 McGill L.J. 649 (2018).

Categorizing Acts by State Officials: Attribution and Responsibility in the Law of Foreign Official Immunity, 26 Duke J. Comp. & Int’l L. 451 (2016).

Horizontal Enforcement and the ILC’s Proposed Draft Articles on the Immunity of State Officials from Foreign Criminal Jurisdiction, 109 AJIL Unbound 161 (2015).

Prosecute, Sue, or Deport? Transnational Accountability in International Law, 164 U. Pa. L. Rev. Online 1 (2015).

Functional Immunity of State Officials Before the International Law Commission: The “Who” and the “What”, 17 QIL Zoom Out 51 (2015).

From Conquest to Consent: Puerto Rico and the Prospects for Genuine Free Association, in Reconsidering the Insular Cases (Gerald Neuman & Tomiko Brown-Nagin, eds., Harvard Univ. Press, 2015).

The Three C’s of Jurisdiction Over Human Rights Claims in U.S. Courts, 113 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 67 (2015).

State Courts and Transitory Torts in Transnational Human Rights Cases, 3 U.C. Irvine L. Rev. 81 (2013).

Germany v. Italy and the Limits of Horizontal Enforcement: Some Reflections from a U.S. Perspective, 11 J. Int’l Crim. Just. 167 (2013).

Transnational Litigation: Jurisdiction and Immunities, in The Oxford Handbook of International Human Rights Law (Dinah Shelton, ed., Oxford Univ. Press, 2013).

Adjudicating Acts of State, in Foreign Affairs Litigation in U.S. Courts: The 25th Sokol Colloquium (John Norton Moore, ed., Martinus Nijhoff Press, 2013).

The Forgotten History of Foreign Official Immunity, 87 NYU L. Rev. 704 (2012).

Optimizing Liability for Extraterritorial Torts: A Response to Professor Sykes, 100 Georgetown L.J. 2211 (2012).

Rights Beyond Borders, 36 Yale J. Int’l L. 55 (2011).

Framing Constitutional Rights, 40 Southwestern L. Rev. 617 (2011).

The Politics of Corporate Alien Tort Cases, 2011 Pepperdine L. Rev. Online 23 (2011).

“Cheap Talk” About Customary International Law, in The U.S. Supreme Court and International Law: Continuity or Change? (D. Sloss, M. Ramsey, & W. Dodge, eds., Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011).

Foreign Official Immunity and the “Baseline” Problem, 80 Fordham L. Rev. 605 (2011).

Foreign Official Immunity After Samantar, 44 Vanderbilt J. Transnat’l L. 843 (2011).

Annotated Brief of Professors of Public International Law and Comparative Law as Amici Curiae in Samantar v. Yousuf, 15 Lewis & Clark L. Rev 609 (2011).

The Common Law of Foreign Official Immunity, 14 Green Bag 2d 61 (Autumn 2010).

Officially Immune? A Response to Bradley and Goldsmith, 36 Yale J. Int’l L. Online 1 (2010).

Sabbatino, Sosa, and “Super Norms”, in Looking to the Future: Essays on International Law in Honor of W. Michael Reisman (M. Arsanjani et al., eds., Brill, 2010) (with Kenneth C. Randall).

Conceptualizing Complicity in Alien Tort Cases, 60 Hastings L.J. 61 (2008).

Associate Statehood: Principles and Prospects, 3 Faroese L. Rev. 13 (2003).

Free Association: The United States Experience, 39 Tex. Int’l L.J. 1 (2003) (with W. Michael Reisman).

The Challenge of Building an Inter-Communal Rule of Law in Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona, 15 Law & Literature 53 (2003) (peer reviewed).

Victim or Vamp? Images of Violent Women in the Criminal Justice System, 11 Colum. J. Gender & L. 38 (2002).

Crafting the International Criminal Court: Trials and Tribulations in Article 98(2), 6 UCLA J. Int’l L. & Foreign Aff. 215 (2001).

National Self-Determination in Historical Perspective 1789/1989: Insights from the French Revolution for Today’s Debates, 2 Int’l Stud. Rev. 3 (2000) (peer reviewed).

The “False Promise” of Civic Nationalism, 28 Millennium: J. Int’l Stud. 341 (1999) (peer reviewed).

Nationalism and War in the French Revolution, 17 ASEN Bull., Summer 1999, at 12 (peer reviewed).

Power and Identity in Nationalist Conflicts, 8 Oxford Int’l Rev., Spring 1997, at 1.

UNESCO and the Issue of Cultural Diversity, 1946–2000 (Katérina Stenou ed., 2000).