Michael J. Kelly, JD, LLM
Michael J. Kelly, JD, LLM

Michael J. Kelly, JD, LLM

Endowed Chair, The Senator Allen A. Sekt Endowed Chair in Law
School of Law

Academic Appointments


  • Law


  • Professor

Teaching Activity

  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • European Union Law
  • Independent Directed Study in International / Comparative Law
  • International Criminal Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • International Law
  • National Security and Foreign Relations Law
  • Native American Law


Professor Kelly coordinates the International and Comparative Law Program and the GOAL Master’s Program at Creighton University School of Law. He is president of the U.S. National Chapter of L’Association International du Droit Pénal, a Paris-based society of international criminal law scholars, judges and attorneys founded in 1924 that enjoys consultative status with the United Nations. His research and teaching focuses on the fields of international and comparative law and Native American law. He is the author and co-author of five books and over thirty articles in these areas, and his widely-cited work is among the top 3% downloaded from the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

Cuba Policy
After 55 years, American foreign policy is now changing with respect to Cuba. Professor Kelly has been on the front lines of that change as an expert on the international law of expropriations. Professor Kelly wrote the grant that USAID awarded to the School of Law calling for creation of a model Cuba/U.S. bilateral property claims settlement tribunal which can be used to settle the claims of companies and citizens whose property was confiscated by the Castro regime when it came to power in 1959. Professor Kelly and the team of six law and political science faculty tasked with building this model reported out their recommendations as a book on The Resolution of Outstanding Property Claims Between Cuba & the United States (Creighton University Press 2007). He testified in Congress in 2010 on this issue as it relates to lifting the embargo on Cuba.
Since the President’s December 2014 announced changes on Cuba policy, Professor Kelly and Creighton faculty have taken many interviews on this subject following up on a larger article in the Boston Globe, including those from Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, the Miami HeraldGlobe & Mail, Washington Post and Associated Press.
In addition to Cuba, Professor Kelly continues to consult with the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq on federalism and constitutional issues, and develop the Law School’s summer abroad program in Nuremberg, Germany and The Hague. He also serves as Co-Chair with David Satola (World Bank) of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Internet Governance, and served from 2012-2015 as a member of the President’s Advisory Committee on Global Engagement for the American Association of Law Schools (AALS).

Full text publications

Publications and Presentations


  • Michael J. Kelly, Prosecuting Corporations for Genocide, 2016
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Parameters of Vicarious Corporate: Criminal Liability for Genocide Under International Law, in International Law in the New Age of Globalization 321 (Andrew Byrnes, Mika Hayashi & Christopher Michaelsen eds.), 2013
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Status of Victims Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, in Victims of International Crimes: An Interdisciplinary Discourse 47 (Thorsten Bonacker & Christoph Safferling eds.), 2013
  • Michael J. Kelly, Islam & International Criminal Law: A Brief (In)compatibility Study, 14 Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law 3 (2008-2009), reprinted (with updates) in Pace Int'l L. Rev. Online Companion, at 1, 2010
  • Michael J. Kelly, Jefferson, Thomas (1743-1826), in 3 Treaties with American Indians: An Encyclopedia of Rights, Conflicts, and Sovereignty 831 (Donald L. Fixico ed.), 2008
  • Michael J. Kelly, Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, 1990, in 3 Treaties with American Indians: An Encyclopedia of Rights, Conflicts, and Sovereignty 725 (Donald L. Fixico ed.), 2008
  • Michael J. Kelly, Supremacy Clause, in 3 Treaties with American Indians: An Encyclopedia of Rights, Conflicts, and Sovereignty 951 (Donald L. Fixico ed.), 2008
  • Michael J. Kelly, Treaty with the Cherokee, November 28, 1785, in 2 Treaties with American Indians: An Encyclopedia of Rights, Conflicts, and Sovereignty 285 (Donald L. Fixico ed)., 2008
  • Michael J. Kelly, United States v. Dion, 1986, in 3 Treaties with American Indians: An Encyclopedia of Rights, Conflicts, and Sovereignty 722 (Donald L. Fixico ed.), 2008
  • Michael J. Kelly, United States v. Sioux Nation, 1980, in 3 Treaties with American Indians: An Encyclopedia of Rights, Conflicts, and Sovereignty 719 (Donald L. Fixico ed), 2008
  • Michael J. Kelly, Williams v. Lee, 1959, in 3 Treaties with American Indians: An Encyclopedia of Rights, Conflicts, and Sovereignty 686 (Donald L. Fixico ed.), 2008
  • Michael J. Kelly, Ghosts of Halabja: Saddam Hussein and the Kurdish Genocide, 2008


  • Michael Kelly, Atrocities by Corporate Actors: A Historical Perspective, 50 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 49, 2018
  • Michael J. Kelly & David Satola, The Right to Be Forgotten, U. Ill. L. Rev. 1, 2017
  • Michael Kelly, Surviving Genocide: Lessons from the Past and Hope for Our Future, Creighton Law., Fall 2016, at 18, 2016
  • Michael J. Kelly, Cuba: Taking the Long View to Find a Better Place, Creighton Law., at 14, Fall, 2015
  • David Satola & Michael J. Kelly, Internet Governance Overview: How Snowden Didn't Really Change Anything After All, Bus. L. Today, Nov. 2014, http://www.americanbar.org/publications/blt/2014/11/01_satola.html., 2014
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Kurdistan: Time to Make Good on a 95-Year Old Promise, JURIST, Aug. 15, 2014, http://jurist.org/forum/2014/08/michael-kelly-kurdistan-promise.php., 2014
  • Michael J. Kelly, Nazis After Hitler: How Perpetrators of the Holocaust Cheated Justice and Truth, 27 Holocaust & Genocide Stud. 344 (book review), 2014
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Why China Doesn't Really Want the Senkaku Islands, JURIST, Dec. 7, 2013, http://jurist.org/forum/2013/12/michael-kelly-china-senkaku.php., 2013
  • Michael J. Kelly, "Never Again"? German Chemical Corporation Complicity in the Kurdish Genocide, 31 Berkeley J. Int'l L. 348, 2013
  • Michael J. Kelly, Nazis After Hitler: How Perpetrators of the Holocaust Cheated Justice and Truth, 27 Holocaust & Genocide Stud. 344 (book review), 2013
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, China's Blue Water Ambitions and the Law of the Sea, JURIST, Oct. 4, 2012, http://jurist.org/forum/2012/10/michael-kelly-china-unclos.php., 2012
  • Michael J. Kelly, United States' Ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention: Securing Our Navigational Future While Managing China's Blue Water Ambitions, 45 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 461, 2012
  • Michael J. Kelly, Prosecuting Corporations for Genocide Under International Law, 6 Harvard L. & Pol'y Rev. 339, 2012
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Iraq 2003-2013: A Tragedy in Three Acts, JURIST, Dec. 16, 2011, http://jurist.org/forum/2011/12/michael-kelly-iraq-retrospective.php., 2011
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Status of Corporations in the Travaux Préparatoires of the Genocide Convention: The Search for Personhood, 43 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 483, 2011
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Evolution of International Law: Arcs and Cycles, 44 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 1 41, 2011
  • Michael J. Kelly, Ending Corporate Impunity for Genocide: The Case Against China's State-Owned Petroleum Company in Sudan, 90 Or. L. Rev. 413, 2011
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Debate over Genocide in Darfur, Sudan, 18 U.C. David J. Int'l L. & Pol'y 205, 2011
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, UN Security Council Membership: The Admission of India and Other Necessary Reforms, JURIST, Nov. 24, 2010, http://jurist.org/forum/2010/11/un-security-council-membershp-the-admission-of-india-and-other-necessary-reforms.php., 2010
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Defining Democracy in Iraq, JURIST, Mar. 4, 2010, http://jurist.org/forum/2010/03/defining-democracy-in-iraq.php., 2010
  • Michael J. Kelly, Grafting the Command Responsibility Doctrine onto Corporate Criminal Liability for Atrocities, 24 Emory Int'l L. Rev. 671, 2010
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Kurdish Regional Constitution Within the Framework of the Iraqi Federal Constitution: A Struggle for Sovereignty, Oil, Ethnic Identity, and the Prospects for a Reverse Supremacy Clause, 114 Penn St. L. Rev. 707, 2010
  • Michael J. Kelly & Sean Watts, Rethinking the Security Architecture of North East Asia, 41 Victoria U. Wellington L. Rev. 273, 2010
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, 'Change' at Guantanamo: Reality or Illusion?, JURIST, May 19, 2009, http://jurist.org/forum/2009/05/change-at-guantanamo-reality-or.php., 2009
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Guantanamo Is Closing: Now What?, JURIST, Jan. 22, 2009, http://jurist.org/forum/2009/01/guantanamo-is-closing-now-what.php., 2009
  • Michael J. Kelly, Perspectives on the Nuremberg Trial, 23 Holocaust & Genocide Stud. 498 (book review), 2009
  • Michael J. Kelly, Charting America's Return to Public International Law Under the Obama Administration, 3 J. Nat'l Security L. & Pol'y 239, 2009
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Risky Business: An International Tribunal for Guantanamo Detainees?, JURIST, Aug. 20, 2009, http://jurist.org/forum/2009/08/risky-business-international-tribunal.php., 2009
  • Michael J. Kelly, Responses to the Ten Questions, 35 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 5059, 2009
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Converting Gitmo into a Front Line Post in the War Against Global Warming, JURIST, Nov. 10, 2008, http://jurist.org/forum/2008/11/converting-gitmo-into-front-line-post.php., 2008
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Indicting Sudan's President for War Crimes: Could George Bush be Next?, JURIST, July 15, 2008, http://jurist.org/forum/2008/07/indicting-sudans-president-for-war.php., 2008
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Kosovo Independence Will Succeed Despite Russian Legal Opposition, JURIST, Feb. 17, 2008, http://jurist.org/forum/2008/02/kosovo-independence-will-succeed.php., 2008
  • Michael J. Kelly, "Genocide" -- The Power of a Label, 40 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 147, 2008
  • Michael J. Kelly, Response, Just War from a Legal Perspective, in Journal of Religion & Society Supplement 4 92 (Dennis Hamm & Gail S. Risch, eds), 2008
  • Patrick J. Borchers, Michael J. Kelly, Erika Moreno, Richard C. Witmer, James S. Wunsch & Arthur Pearlstein, Executive Summary: Report on the Resolution of Outstanding Property Claims Between Cuba & the United States, 41 Creighton L. Rev. 207, 2008
  • Michael J. Kelly & Rick Witmer, Resolution of Outstanding Property Claims between Cuba and the United States, in 18 Cuba in Transition 63, 2008
  • Richard C. Witmer, Erika Moreno, Patrick J. Borchers & Michael J. Kelly, A Proposed Property Claims Settlement Mechanism for the United States and Cuba, Cuban Aff., Oct. 2007, at 1., 2007
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Getting Away with Murder: Delay Chemical Ali's Execution, JURIST, Aug. 14, 2007, http://jurist.org/forum/2007/08/getting-away-with-murder-delay.php., 2007
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Ending US Involvement in Iraq: Is a War Powers Fight Coming?, JURIST, May 7, 2007, http://jurist.org/forum/2007/05/ending-us-involvement-in-iraq-is-war.php., 2007
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Putin Lays Down the Law But Misses the Point, JURIST, Feb. 10, 2007, http://jurist.org/forum/2007/02/putin-lays-down-law-but-misses-point.php., 2007
  • Michael J. Kelly, Law After Auschwitz: Towards a Jurisprudence of the Holocaust, 21 Holocaust & Genocide Stud. 124 (book review), 2007
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Anfal Trial Against Saddam Hussein, 9 J. Genocide Res. 235, 2007
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Article 9 Pacifism Clause and Japan's Place in the World, 25 Wis. Int'l L.J. 491, 2007
  • Patrick J. Borchers, Michael J. Kelly, Richard C. Witmer, Erika Moreno, Arthur B. Pearlstein & James S. Wunsch, Report on the Resolution of Outstanding Property Claims Between Cuba & the United States, 2007
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Saddam Is Dead, But His Trial Should Continue, JURIST, Dec. 29, 2006, http://jurist.org/forum/2006/12/saddam-is-dead-but-his-trial-should.php., 2006
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Stay Saddam's Death Sentence, JURIST, Nov. 5, 2006, http://jurist.org/forum/2006/11/stay-saddams-death-sentence.php., 2006
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Israel v. Hezbollah: Article 51, Self-Defense and Pre-Emptive Strikes, JURIST, July 29, 2006, http://jurist.org/forum/2006/07/israel-v-hezbollah-article-51-self.php., 2006
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, The Milosevic Trial Legacy: If Not Outcome, Hope, JURIST, Mar. 11, 2006, http://jurist.org/forum/2006/03/milosevic-trial-legacy-if-not-outcome.php., 2006
  • Kelly, Michael J. [Review of G. R. Stone, Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime, From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism], Journal of National Security Law & Policy, 2, 195-200, 2006
  • Michael J. Kelly, Of Speech, Politics, and Circular History, 2 J. Nat'l Security L. & Pol'y 195 (2006) (reviewing Geoffrey R. Stone, Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime, From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism), 2006
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Sovereignty Redux: The ICJ Ruling in Congo v. Uganda, JURIST, Dec. 22, 2005, http://jurist.org/forum/2005/12/sovereignty-redux-icj-ruling-in-congo.php., 2005
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Sovereign Immunity for Saddam? Not Likely, JURIST, Oct. 18, 2005, http://jurist.org/forum/2005/10/sovereign-immunity-for-saddam-not.php., 2005
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, The Irony of a Possible ICC Finding of Genocide in Darfur, JURIST, June 09, 2005, http://jurist.org/forum/2005/06/irony-of-possible-icc-finding-of.php, 2005
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Genocide of the Iraqi Kurds and Trial of Saddam Hussein, Creighton Law., Fall 2005, at 10, 2005
  • Michael J. Kelly, Nowhere to Hide: Defeat of the Sovereign Immunity Defense for Crimes of Genocide and the Trials of Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein, 2005
  • Michael J. Kelly, Pulling at the Threads of Westphalia: "Involuntary Sovereignty Waiver" - Revolutionary International Legal Theory or Return to Rule by the Great Powers?, 10 UCLA J. Int'l L. & Foreign Aff. 361, 2005
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Tricky Nature of Proving Genocide Against Saddam Hussein Before the Iraqi Special Tribunal, 38 Cornell Int'l L.J. 983, 2005
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Reaping the Whirlwind: Departures from International Law Helped Create Climate for Iraq Prison Abuses, JURIST, May 19, 2004, http://jurist.org/forum/2004/05/reaping-whirlwind-departures-from-19.php., 2004
  • Michael J. Kelly, Letter to the Editor, A World of Paranoia, Foreign Pol’y, Nov./Dec. 2004, at 12, 2004
  • Raneta Lawson Mack & Michael J. Kelly, Equal Justice in the Balance: Assessing America's Legal Responses to the Emerging Terrorist Threat, 2004
  • Michael J. Kelly, Aut Dedere Aut Judicare and the Death Penalty Extradition Prohibition, 10 Int'l Legal Theory 53, 2004
  • Michael J. Kelly, Op-Ed, Boost U.N. Legitimacy by Adding Members to Security Council, Omaha World-Herald, May 18, 2003, at 11B, 2003
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Could the New International Criminal Court Try Americans for War Crimes in Iraq?, JURIST, Mar. 17, 2003
  • Michael J. Kelly, Cheating Justice by Cheating Death: The Doctrinal Collision for Prosecuting Foreign Terrorists -- Passage of Aut Dedere Aut Judicare into Customary Law & Refusal to Extradite Based on the Death Penalty, 20 Ariz. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 491, 2003
  • Raneta Lawson Mack & Michael J. Kelly, The War on Terror: Assaulting Democracy at Home?, Creighton U. Mag., Spring 2003, at 14, 2003
  • Michael J. Kelly, Time Warp to 1945 -- Resurrection of the Reprisal and Anticipatory Self-Defense Doctrines in International Law, 13 Fla. St. J. Transnat'l L. & Pol'y 1, 2003
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Bush Foreign Policy 2001-2003: Unilateralist Theory in a Multilateral World, and the Opportunity for Change Offered by Iraq, 2 Wash. U. Global Stud. L. Rev. 221, 2003
  • Michael J. Kelly, Executive Excess v. Judicial Process: American Judicial Responses to the Government's War on Terror, 13 Ind. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 787, 2003
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Bush's Pre-Emptive Strategy Is a Recipe for Chaos, Houston Chron., Sept. 24, 2002, at 20A, 2002
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Gulf War Resolution Limits Options; President Needs New War Authority, Detroit News, Aug. 28, 2002, at 11A, 2002
  • Michael J. Kelly, Can Sovereigns Be Brought to Justice? The Crime of Genocide's Evolution and the Meaning of the Milosevic Trial, 76 St. John's L. Rev. 257, 2002
  • Michael J. Kelly, Understanding September 11th -- An International Legal Perspective on the War in Afghanistan, 35 Creighton L. Rev. 283, 2002
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Milosevic Prosecution and the Erosion of Sovereign Immunity, Creighton Law., Summer 2002, at 12, 2002
  • Michael J. Kelly, Traveling the Road to Rambouillet: Is the Imposition of Federalism in Kosovo Pragmatic Foreign Policy or Unwise Meddling?, in Comparative Federalism in the Devolution Era 247 (Neil Colman McCabe ed.), 2002
  • Michael J. Kelly, Kissinger's World: A Cautionary Tale Through a Cold War Lens, 3 San Diego Int'l L.J. 133 (2002) (reviewing Henry Kissinger, Does America Need a Foreign Policy? Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century), 2002
  • Michael Kelly, Op-Ed, Bush Should Take His Cue from the Bible, Lansing St. J. at 10A, 2001

Editing and Reviews

  • The Cuba-U.S. Bilateral Relationship: New Pathways and Policy Choices (Michael J. Kelly, Erika Moreno & Richard C. Witmer eds.), 2019
  • Michael Kelly, Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer, 30 Holocaust & Genocide Stud. 141 (book review), 2016
  • The International Law of Disaster Relief (David D. Caron, Michael J. Kelly & Anastasia Telesetsky eds), 2014
  • Michael J. Kelly, The Tokyo International Military Tribunal: A Reappraisal, 72 Mod. L. Rev. 318 (book review), 2009


  • Alison Seaborne & Michael J. Kelly, United States’ Report on Business Involvement in International Crimes, 88 REVUE INTERNATIONALE DE DROIT PÉNAL 343, 2017


  • International Law Governing Transnational Disasters, Fourth Biennial Four Societies Conference, Boalt Hall, Berkeley, California (September 2012), co-sponsored by the American, Japanese, Canadian and Australian/New Zealand Societies of International Law., 2012
  • “The Status of Victims under the Rome Statute of the ICC”, at Phillips University, Marburg Germany conference on victims’ rights, 2011
  • “Legal Issues Concerning the Trial of Adolf Eichmann” Joint CLE discussion with Justice Gabriel Bach at Kutak Rock law firm, 2011
  • “The New Constitutionalism in Iraq and Kurdistan: Presidential Power versus Prime Ministerial Power” with Jens Meierhenrich (LSE) at Suleymaneyah, Iraq PUK party headquarters conference, 2011
  • “Creighton’s Report on Property Claims in Cuba” (Barcelona, Spain) presentation to the Catalan Bank, Praedium LLC, and 1898 Cuba Group on Creighton’s findings and the adaptability of our report to the Spanish situation, 2010
  • “The Development of a New ‘Lawfare’ Paradigm in Law and Policy” (Cleveland, OH) Moderator for panel at Lawfare! Conference, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 2010
  • “Corporate Liability for Genocide” paper presented at Third Biennial Four Societies Conference, Awaji Island, Japan (August 2010), co-sponsored by the American, Japanese, Canadian and Australian/New Zealand Societies of International Law., 2010
  • "The Historical Development of Native American Law” (Lincoln, NE) Lecture for the Nebraska State Bar Foundation to 100 Nebraska high school history teachers, 2010
  • “Commemoration of the Children’s Massacre” at Halabja, Iraq memorial service; remarks on behalf of AIDP supporting investigation into historical atrocities committed by the regime of Saddam Hussein and prosecution of the perpetrators, 2010
  • “Use of the Command Responsibility Doctrine to Prosecute Corporations for Genocide” (Atlanta, GA) Emory Law School symposium on international criminal law, 2010
  • “Property Rights in the Context of Lifting the U.S. Embargo Against Cuba” (Washington DC) Testimony before the House Ways & Means Committee, 2010
  • “Crimes Against Humanity Treaty Development Process” (Washington D.C.) Brookings Institution Conference on the development of a new crimes against humanity treaty, 2010