Director of the Criminal Justice Clinic and Assistant Professor of Law, SMU
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Professor Jenks teaches and writes on the law of armed conflict and criminal justice. Professor Jenks is the co-author of a law of armed conflict textbook, co-editor of a forthcoming war crimes casebook, and served as a peer reviewer of the Talinn Manual on the international law applicable to cyber warfare.
He has published articles on drones, child soldiers, extraordinary rendition, law of war based detention, targeting and government contractors. He has also spoken on those same topics at universities and institutes in Australia, Italy, South Africa and the U.S., and with the militaries of the Republic of Yemen and several different European and African countries. He recently served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense on U.S. military security sector reform in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Prior to joining the SMU faculty, Professor Jenks served for over 20 years in the military. After graduating from West Point, Professor Jenks was commissioned as an Infantry officer in the U.S. Army. He served as a rifle platoon leader, executive officer and in battalion and brigade staff positions in the U.S., Europe, and in deployments to Kuwait and Bosnia.
Following graduation from law school, Professor Jenks transitioned to the U.S. Army JAG Corps and was assigned as the primary international and operational law advisor near the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. During this assignment, he defended Status of Forces Agreement rights of American soldiers during South Korean interrogations and trials in high profile and politically sensitive criminal cases.
Following his return to the U.S. in 2003, Professor Jenks served as the lead prosecutor in the Army’s first counterterrorism case, a fully contested, classified court-martial of a soldier attempting to aid al qaeda. He coordinated the investigative efforts of 30 law enforcement agents from four separate federal agencies on three continents and the Department of Justice’s Counterterrorism section nominated him for the John Marshall award for interagency cooperation.
In 2004, he deployed to Mosul, Iraq and served as chief legal advisor to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team comprised of over 4000 soldiers. There he provided targeting advice for the employment of artillery, close air support and direct fire weapons during enemy engagements in a city of two million people. He also advised investigations and served as prosecutor for crimes against the civilian population, detainee abuse, and fratricide. He also wrote and briefed rules of engagement crucial to the success of the first free elections in Iraq in more than three decades.
Before moving to Dallas, Professor Jenks was most recently stationed in Washington D.C., holding numerous positions, including senior litigation attorney and deputy division chief of the U.S. Army’s litigation division, attorney adviser at the Department of State and his most recent position as chief of the International Law Branch of the Office of The Judge Advocate General in the Pentagon.
While at the Department of State, Professor Jenks served at the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York City and represented the U.S. during en US during negotiations on cultural and humanitarian resolutions pending before the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly
As the Army’s international law branch chief, he oversaw the foreign exercise of criminal jurisdiction over US service members, represented the Department of Defense at status of forces agreement negotiations and served as the legal advisor to the U.S. Military Observers Group, which provides military officers to United Nations Missions around the world.
Through two decades of military service, Professor Jenks received the Valorous Unit Award, the Bronze Star Medal, and both the Expert Infantryman and Parachutist Badges.
Education and Honors
- Ph.D Candidate, Melbourne University Law School
- LL.M., with distinction, Georgetown University Law Center, 2009
- LL.M., U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's School, 2006
- J.D., University of Arizona College of Law, 2001
- B.S., United States Military Academy, West Point, 1992
Publications, Speeches and Presentations
- Law as Shield, Law as Sword: The ICC’s Lubanga Decision, Child Soldiers and the Perverse Mutualism of Participation in Hostilities, ___ University of Miami National Security National Security and Armed Conflict Review ___ (2013)
- United States Practice in International Humanitarian Law - National Report, YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW (2012)
- Introductory Note: Şahin v. Turkey, 51 International Legal Materials 268 (2012)
- Two Sides of the Combatant COIN: Untangling Direct Participation in Hostilities From Belligerent Status in Non-International Armed Conflicts, 33 UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 313 (Winter 2011) (with GEOFF CORN)
- Indefinite Detention "Under the Laws of War" 22 STANFORD LAW AND POLICY REVIEW 41 (2011) (with ERIC JENSEN)
- Siren Song: The Implications of the Goldstone Report on International Humanitarian Law, 7 BERKELEY JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW PUBLICIST (2011) (with GEOFF CORN)
- All Human Rights Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others: The Extraordinary Rendition Of A Terror Suspect In Italy, The NATO SOFA, And Human Rights, 1 HARVARD NATIONAL SECURITY JOURNAL 171 (2010) (with ERIC JENSEN)
- A Sense of Duty: The Illusory Criminal Jurisdiction of the U.S./Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, 11 SAN DIEGO JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 411 (2010)
- Square Peg In A Round Hole: Government Contractor Battlefield Tort Liability and the Political Question Doctrine, 28 BERKELEY JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 178 (2010)
- Introductory Note: The United States Supreme Court: Graham v. Florida and the Federal Court of Australia: Habib v. Commonwealth, 49 INTERNATIONAL LEGAL MATERIALS 1029 (2010)
- Introductory Note: European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber: Varnava and Others v. Turkey, 49 INTERNATIONAL LEGAL MATERIALS 358 (2010)
- Law from Above: Unmanned Aerial Systems, Use of Force, and the Law of Armed Conflict, 85 NORTH DAKOTA LAW REVIEW 649 (2009)
- Notice Otherwise Given: Will In Absentia Trials at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Violate Human Rights?, 33 FORDHAM JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 57 (2009)
- Human Rights and Military Decisions: Counterinsurgency and Trends in the Law of International Armed Conflict, 30 UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 1367(2009) (with DAN E. STIGALL and CHRISTOPHER L. BLAKESLEY)
- Agency of Risk: The Competing Balance Between Protecting Military Forces and the Civilian Population During Counterinsurgency Operations in Afghanistan, in Law, Spirituality and Ethics (Marine Corps University Press 2012) revised and reprinted in Counterinsurgency Law: New Directions in Asymmetric Warfare (Oxford University Press 2013)
- Posting to http://opiniojuris.org/, Auguring Afghanistan: Foreign Criminal Jurisdiction of US Service Members (guest commentator discussing the prospects of a US/Afghanistan Status of Forces Agreement) reposted on both lawfare--http://www.lawfareblog.com/2012/11/jenks-on-criminal-jurisdiction-as-a-dealkiller-for-a-us-afghan-sofa/ and the Air Force General Counsel Blog http://afgeneralcounsel.dodlive.mil/2012/11/26/afghanistan-and-criminal-jurisdiction-post-2014/ (November 25, 2012)
- Posting to http://www.lawfareblog.com, Italy, the Abu Omar Rendition Prosecution, and Violation of the NATO SOFA (guest commentator discussing Italian Court of Cassation decision affirming criminal conviction of USAF officer involved in extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar) (September 22, 2012)
- Posting to http://opiniojuris.org/, President Bashir in Chad: Enough Failure to Go Around (guest commentator discussing Sudanese President Bashir’s visit to a State Party to the Rome Statute while under an ICC arrest warrant) (July 25, 2010)
- Posting to http://opiniojuris.org/, The STL, In Absentia Trials & Notice “Otherwise Given,” (guest commentator discussing the Special Tribunal For Lebanon’s in absentia trial provisions) (May 28, 2010)
- The Law And Policy Implications of ‘Baited Ambushes’ Utilizing Enemy Dead And Wounded, ARMY LAWYER June 91 (2010)
- Posting to http://jurist.law.pitt.edu, Not Child's Play: Revisiting the Law of Child Soldiers, (guest columnist) (Apr. 13, 2010)
- Posting to http://opiniojuris.org/, US Government Contractors, Battlefield Tort Liability, and the Political Question Doctrine, (guest commentator discussing the Supreme Court inviting the Solicitor General to submit a brief in Carmichael v. KBR) (Mar. 14, 2010)
- Posting to http://opiniojuris.org/, Bidding for Justice, (guest commentator on the implications of Canadian war crimes prosecutions) (Nov. 14, 2009)