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Media rely on Associate Dean Victor Hansen’s legal expertise

Former JAG Corps officer interprets military and national security law for worldwide audiences

(Boston, Revised-10/18/13) New England Law | Boston:  When major stories break, Associate Dean Victor Hansen’s phone starts ringing.
 
An authority on military and national security law, he’s discussed the trials of international terrorism suspects in American courts with the Wall Street Journal, the case of a U.S. soldier accused of massacring innocent Afghan civilians with Bloomberg Businessweek, and the consequences that could face classified document leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning with the Associated Press. 
 
Associate Dean Victor Hansen Associate Dean Victor Hansen
 
And when a U.S. Naval Academy “yoga and toga” party resulted in rape accusations, Hansen was among the experts tapped by the New York Timesto explain the military’s Article 32 hearings, which can set the stage for courts-martial. Hansen described the proceedings and considered how they could be changed to provide more protections for women service members who testify.
 
Hansen’s interviews regularly appear in syndicated articles that educate readers across the country and around the world; recent placements have included the International Herald Tribune and websites in South Africa and New Zealand, to name a few. The Manning story ran in the Vancouver Sun, along with many other media outlets. 
 
Hansen is also a legal scholar in the more conventional sense. He co-authored The Law of Armed Conflict: an Operational Approach in 2013. This comprehensive overview arcs from the historical underpinnings of long-established law to contemporary rules governing the termination of hostilities and prosecuting war criminals. His publications portfolio also includes The Case for Congress, co-written with Professor Lawrence Friedman, which critiques the legislative branch’s acquiescence in the war on terror.
 
Hansen assumed the position of associate dean this summer. Before joining New England Law in 2005 he had a 20-year career in the Army, most of that time as a JAG Corps officer. He was involved in military capital litigation as both a prosecutor and defense attorney and served as a regional defense counsel for the Army Trial Defense Service, supervising seven offices covering 15 states.
 
He now finds himself widely quoted in the media in a type of public scholarship that plays a key role in informing the national debate, and which can lead to opportunities for students and the law school as a whole.  “Our faculty has strength in this area,” he says, and he hopes to further develop this expertise as a complement to more traditional legal research and publishing.

In addition to his law school duties he serves as vice president of the National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ). His work with the institute and first-hand knowledge of Guantanamo led him to encourage Abbigail Shirk ’14 to serve as an observer at the Cuban military base.  Shirk made the trip earlier this year and is only the second law student to have observed military commission proceedings on behalf of the NIMJ.


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