• Full-Time Faculty
  • Chris Jenks

  • Director of the Criminal Clinic and Associate Professor of Law

"The machine has no feelings, it feels no fear and no hope ... it operates according to the pure logic of probability. For this reason, I assert that the robot perceives more accurately than man." - Max Frisch

  • fulltime Faculty
  • Chris Jenks

  • Director of the Criminal Clinic and Associate Professor of Law

"The machine has no feelings, it feels no fear and no hope ... it operates according to the pure logic of probability. For this reason, I assert that the robot perceives more accurately than man." - Max Frisch

Chris Jenks

Director of the Criminal Clinic and Associate Professor of Law

  • Biography

    • Professor Jenks will be on leave from the law school during academic year 2017-2018 while serving as the Special Assistant to the Department of Defense General Counsel in Washington, D.C.

      Chris Jenks joined the SMU Law faculty in Fall 2012 and teaches criminal law, evidence, and the law of armed conflict. His research considers how the nature and type of armed conflict (peacekeeping, coalition, non-international, international) impact accountability norms and practice.  He is currently researching the efficacy of the law of armed conflict as applied to lethal autonomous weapons.
      Professor Jenks is a fellow at the Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law’s Program on Emerging Military Technology at Melbourne Law School in Australia and at SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, and serves as the deputy course director the Peace Support Operations course at the International Institute for Humanitarian Law in Sanremo, Italy.  Prior to joining the SMU law faculty, Professor Jenks served in the US Army, first as an Infantry Officer and later as a Judge Advocate, and was detailed to the Office of the Legal Adviser at the Department of State and as a Special Assistant US Attorney on both the civil and criminal side at the Department of Justice.
      He is the co-author of a law of armed conflict textbook and has published book chapters with both Oxford and Cambridge University presses. His articles have appeared in the law reviews and journals of Harvard, Berkeley, Georgetown, Stanford, & Washington & Lee and the International Review of the Red Cross. His blog posts have been featured on Lawfare, Just Security, and Opinio Juris. He has presented to House and Senate Staffers on Capitol Hill, at the American Society of International Law, the Council on Foreign Relations, and at universities and institutes around the world.
      In 2016, he presented at the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Expert Meeting on Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWS) in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2015, he was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholars Grant to research LAWS as part of a multidisciplinary research group based out of Melboune, Australia. He has spoken on LAWS at the Australian Defence Legal Division Headquarters, the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, and at the University of Oxford. In 2014, he served on a working group on the environment and armed conflict at the United Nations in New York organized by the Special Rapporteur for the International Law Commission. And in 2013, he served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense on security sector reform in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
      Prior to joining the SMU faculty, Professor Jenks served for more than 20 years in the U.S. military, first as an infantry officer serving in Germany, Kuwait and as a NATO peacekeeper in Bosnia, and then as a judge advocate serving near the demilitarized zone in the Republic of Korea and later in Iraq, where he provided law of armed conflict advice on targeting and detention issues during combat operations. The Department of Justice’s Counterterrorism Section nominated him for the John Marshall Award for interagency cooperation following his work as the lead prosecutor in the Army’s first counterterrorism trial involving a soldier who attempted to aid an al-Qaeda terrorist. While working in the human rights and refugees section of the Office of the Legal Adviser at the Department of State, he served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. In his last assignment, Professor Jenks served as the chief of the international law branch for the U.S. Army in the Pentagon, where he supervised the program by which foreign countries asserted criminal jurisdiction over U.S. service members and represented the DOD at Status of Forces Agreement negotiations; he was also the legal adviser to the U.S. military observers group, which provides personnel to U.N. missions around the world.

  • Areas of Expertise

    • Autonomous Weapons 
      Military Law
      National Security Law
      Criminal Law
      International Law
      Human Rights 
  • Education

    • B.S., United States Military Academy, West Point
      J.D., University of Arizona College of Law
      LL.M.,  U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's School
      LL.M., with distinction, Georgetown University Law Center
      Ph.D Candidate, Melbourne University Law School
  • Courses

    • Law of Armed Conflict
      Criminal Law
      Criminal Clinic 
  • Books

    • THE LAW OF ARMED CONFLICT: AN OPERATIONAL PERSPECTIVE (Aspen Publishing 2012) (coauthor)
  • Book Chapters

    • A Rose by Any Other Name:  How the United States Charges Its Service Members for violating the Laws of Warin MILITARY JUSTICE IN THE MODERN AGE 365 (Alison Duxbury & Matthew Groves eds., Cambridge University Press 2016)

      Reimagining the Wheel: Detention – and Release – of Non-State Actors Under the Geneva Conventions, in DETENTION OF NON-STATE ACTORS ENGAGED IN HOSTILITIES:  THE FUTURE LAW (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

      Detention under the Law of Armed Conflict, in ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF THE LAW OF ARMED CONFLICT 301 (Rain Liivoja & Tim McCormack eds., Routledge 2016)

      United Nations Peace Operations:  Creating Space for Peace, in U.S. MILITARY OPERATIONS: LAW, POLICY, AND PRACTICE 691 (Geoffrey S. Corn, Rachel E. VanLandingham & Shane R. Reeve eds., Oxford University Press 2015)

      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)
  • Other Publications

    • Invited post to Just Security, Eyes Wide Shut: Scahill and Greenwald’s Flawed Critique of U.S. SIGINT Based Targeting, (February 18, 2014), http://justsecurity.org/2014/02/18/eyes-wide-shut-scahill-greenwalds-flawed-critique-u-s-sigint-based-targeting/

      Invited Submission for Professional in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection’s Current Challenges in International Humanitarian Law, The Janus Moon Rising-Why 2014 Heralds United States’ Detention Policy on a Collision Course…..With Itself, (February 10, 2014), http://phap.org/thematic-notes/2014/february/humanitarian-law-policy-2014-janus-moon-rising-why-2014-heralds-united

      Invited submission to Just Security, Amnesty International’s Drone Strike Report: Once more into the lex lata/ferenda breach? ( responding to Amnesty International’s report on U.S. drone strikes)  (October 22, 2013), http://justsecurity.org/2013/10/22/guest-post-amnesty-internationals-drone-strike-report-lex-lataferenda-breach/

      Posting to Opinio Juris, The Truth About Criminal Jurisdiction Over U.S. Troops in Afghanistan: Questions for Secretary of State Kerry, the Loya Jirga… and National Public Radio (guest commentator discussing U.S. Secretary of State comments on criminal jurisdiction over U.S. service members) (October 21, 2013), http://opiniojuris.org/2013/10/21/guest-post-truth-criminal-jurisdiction-u-s-troops-afghanistan-questions-secretary-state-kerry-loya-jirga-national-public-radio/

      Op/ed contribution to Al Jazeera America, The Truth About Criminal Jurisdiction Over U.S. Troops in Afghanistan (October 19, 2013), http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/10/19/us-afghanistan-troopssecurityagreement.html

      Contribution to SMU Experts: What to do About Syria, If You Don’t Know Where You are Going, Any Road will Get You There – Assessing U.S. Military Options in Syria (September 5, 2013), http://www.smu.edu/News/2013/experts-syria-05sept2013/chris-jenks-syria-opinion-05sept2013

      Contributor to American Society of International Law Cables online reporting of the ASIL annual meeting, The Regulation of Private Military and Security Contractors; Twenty Years of International Criminal Law From the ICTY to the ICC and Beyond; and Book Comment: International Criminal Justice: Legitimacy and Coherency (April, 2013)

      Postings to Lawfare, Capture Instead of Kill: A Dangerous Conflation of Law and Policy (guest commentator responding to NYU Law Professor Ryan Goodman’s contention that the law of armed conflict imposes a duty to capture instead of kill) (with Professors Laurie Blank, Geoff Corn and Eric Jensen) (February 25 and March 1, 2013) http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/02/corn-blank-jenks-and-jensen-respond-to-goodman-on-capture-instead-of-kill/ 

      Posting to Opinio Juris, 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 Lawfare, 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), http://www.lawfareblog.com

      Posting to Opinio Juris, 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), http://opiniojuris.org/

      Posting to Opinio Juris, The STL, In Absentia Trials & Notice “Otherwise Given,” (guest commentator discussing the Special Tribunal For Lebanon’s in absentia trial provisions) (May 28, 2010), http://opiniojuris.org/

      The Law And Policy Implications of ‘Baited Ambushes’ Utilizing Enemy Dead And Wounded, Army Lawyer (June 2010)

      Posting to Jurist, Not Child's Play: Revisiting the Law of Child Soldiers, (guest columnist) (April 13, 2010), http://jurist.law.pitt.edu

      Posting to Opinio Juris, 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) (March 14, 2010), http://opiniojuris.org/2010/03/14/us-government-contractors-battlefield-tort-liability-and-the-political/

      Posting to Opinio Juris, Bidding for Justice, (guest commentator on the implications of Canadian war crimes prosecutions) (November 14, 2009), http://opiniojuris.org/2009/11/14/guest-post-bidding-for-justice/
  • Presentations

    • Governmental, Nongovernmental, and Other Government Organizations 
       “The War on Terror and IHL” presentation with Andrew Carswell of the ICRC and Professor Amos Guiora of Utah Law School to Teaching International Humanitarian Law Workshop
      International Committee of the Red Cross and BYU Law School
      BYU Law School
      Provo, UT (February 2014)
      Battlefield Status and Protected Persons and
      International Criminal Law
      International Humanitarian Law Workshop
      International Committee of Red Cross and Berkeley Law
      Berkeley Law (Berkeley, CA (January 2014)
      The Laws of War for the 21st Century
      Panel Chair
      Appellate Judges Education Institute discussion
      Attended by the U.S. Solicitor General
      San Diego, CA (November 2013)
      Cyber Warfare
      Panel Chair
      Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and
      Society International Biennial Conference
      Chicago, IL (October 2013)
      Security Cooperation with Foreign Governments
      anelist with Canadian Army Lt Col Rob Holman
      Moderated by USAF General (ret) Charlie Dunlap)
      “US-Canada International Humanitarian Law Workshop”
      International Committee of the Red Cross and Duke Law School
      Duke Law School
      Durham, NC (October 2013)
      Use of Force: Law Enforcement and Military Operations
      Symmetries: International Humanitarian Law and
      International Human Rights Law
      Transatlantic Workshop on International Law and
      Armed Conflict
      Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict
      Oxford, UK (July 2013)
      Professional Responsibility and National Security Law Advice
      Washington State Bar CLE
      Seattle, WA (May 2013)
      Enforcement and Judicial Responses to Violations of the Law of Armed Conflict
      Presentation to the Chief Executive Officer, board, and staff
      American Red Cross
      Dallas, TX (February 2013)
      Stand Your Ground….When Necessary: A Call For A Return to the Necessity of Self-Defense Testimony to the American Bar Association National Taskforce on Stand Your Ground Laws
      Dallas, TX (February 2013)
      Expanding the Reach: Prospects for Expanding the War Crimes Statute and Prospects of a Crimes Against Humanities Statute
      Office of Global Criminal Justice
      U.S. Department of State
      Washington, D.C. (January 2013)
      Signaling Effects of War Crimes Prosecutions
      Facilitated discussion of the international law department
      U.S. Navy War College
      Newport, RI (January 2013)
      Battlefield Status and Protected Persons
      Interactive International Humanitarian Law Workshop
      International Committee of Red Cross and
      Pepperdine University School of Law
      Pepperdine School of Law
      Pepperdine, CA (January 2013)
      Battlefield Status and Protected Persons
      International Humanitarian Law Workshop
      International Committee of Red Cross and Berkeley Law
      Berkeley Law
      Berkeley, CA (January 2013)
      Indefinite Detention of Terrorism Suspects
      Panelist on “Detained Suspected Terrorists: Try in
      Military Courts or Civilian Courts”
      Federalist Society’s Security vs Freedom:
      Contemporary Controversies Conference
      University of Florida
      Gainesville, FL (March 2014)
      Fair Trials and the Modern Jury
      Moderated discussion by Professors Daryl Brown,
      Nancy King, Youngjae Lee and Nancy Marder
      SMU Criminal Justice Colloquium
      SMU Dedman School of Law
      Dallas, TX (January 2014)
      United States v Robert Bales: Perspectives on Military Justice and Cultural Context
      Moderated discussion by Lieutenant Colonel Jay Morse, lead prosecutor, and Morwari Zafar, Afghan culture expert at the Defense Intelligence Agency
      SMU Dedman School of Law
      Dallas, TX (November 2013)
      The Paradox of Government Investigations
      Warren Commission Assistant Counsel and Staff Members
       “The Work of the Warren Commission, Half a Century On: Its Methods, Successes & Questions”
      SMU Dedman School of Law
      Dallas, TX (October 2013)
      Constraining Targeting in Non-international Armed Conflicts: Safe Conduct for Combatants Conducting Informal Dispute Resolution
      Presentation and moderated discussion of Professor Peter Margulies’ article
      The 6th Annual National Security Law Faculty Workshop
      South Texas College of Law
      Houston, TX (May 2013)
      Drone Strikes: Security, Human Rights, and Morality
      Moderator of panel involving Professors Naureen Shah, Columbia Law School,
      Mike Lewis, Ohio Northern, and Jeff Kahn, SMU Dedman School of Law
      SMU Dedman School of Law
      Dallas, TX (April 2013)
      Are You on the List? The Legal Implications of Targeted Killing
      Reaching Critical Mass: International and U.S. Law in the Wake of Modern Exigencies conference
      Vermont Law School
      Royalton, VT (March 2013)
      Foreign Audiences

      Implementing and Enforcing the Law of Armed Conflict: The U.S. Approach
      International Conference on Human Rights
      Centro Universitário de Brasilia (UniCEUB) Action
      Brasilia, Brazil (August 2013)
      Implementing and Enforcing the Law of Armed Conflict: The U.S. Approach
      International Conference on Human Rights
      Centro Universitário do Estado do Pará (CESUPA)
      Belem, Brazil (August 2013)
      Landscape of Legal Regulation,
      Use of Force in Counterterrorism Operations and
      Latest Developments in Counterterrorism
      Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection Thematic Workshop on Counterterrorism Polices and Implications for Humanitarian Action
      New York City, NY (July 2013)
      Qualification of Situations,
      Applicable Law to International and Non-International Armed Conflicts,
      Regulating the Conduct of Hostilities – Targeting Objects, and International Criminal Law
      Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection Core Professional Training on Humanitarian Law and Policy
      New York City, NY (July 2013)
      Conduct of Peacekeepers & Addressing Human Rights Violations,
      Use of Force in Peace Operations, and
      The Responsibility to Protect
      Conduct of Peace Support Operations Course
      International Institute of Humanitarian Law
      Deputy Course Director and Presenter
      Sanremo, Italy (June, 2013)
      Drones and Targeted Killings
      (Panelist along with Ben Wittes, Brookings Institute; Sarah Knuckey, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice NYU Law; and Dick Jackson, Special Advisor to the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General for Law of War Matters
      US Pacific Command International Operations and Law Conference
      Bangkok, Thailand (June 2013)