Adjunct Senior Fellow for International and National Security Law
International law and international criminal justice; international humanitarian law and human rights law; international tribunals, including the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court; treaty law and treaties, including the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention; foreign sovereign immunity and official immunities; international and domestic law applicable to use of force and counterterrorism operations, including detention and prosecution policies; intelligence law and covert action; espionage statutes; U.S. national security organization and process; U.S. national security statutes; foreign investment in the United States, Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
John B. Bellinger III is adjunct senior fellow for international and national security law at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is also a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, DC, where he advises sovereign governments and companies on a variety of international law and U.S. national security law issues.
From 2005 to 2009, Bellinger was the legal advisor for the U.S. Department of State under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He led the U.S. delegation in numerous treaty negotiations and presentations to international bodies and represented the United States before the International Court of Justice in Mexico v. United States of America (Medellin) and before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal. Before his confirmation as legal advisor, he managed Secretary Rice's Senate confirmation and codirected her State Department transition team. Bellinger served from 2001 to 2005 as senior associate counsel to the president and legal advisor to the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House, where he was the principal lawyer for the national security advisor, the NSC, and the NSC staff. He previously served as counsel for national security matters in the criminal division of the Justice Department during the Clinton administration, as special counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and as special assistant to Director of Central Intelligence William H. Webster.
Bellinger is one of four U.S. members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which nominates judges to the International Court of Justice. He speaks and writes regularly on public international and national security law issues. His op-eds have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and International Herald Tribune. Bellinger received his AB from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1982, his JD from Harvard Law School in 1986, and an MA in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia in 1991.
Recognizing the limitations of current international systems based in The Hague, David A. Kaye provides a strategy for promoting national-level justice and accountability mechanisms to prosecute perpetrators of mass atrocity crimes.
The Authorization for the Use of Military Force, passed by Congress in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks, has been cited by the Bush and Obama administrations as sanctioning far-ranging military operations. Four scholars offer their perspectives on the AUMF’s legacy fifteen years on.
Drawing on his government experience in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, John Bellinger argues that the specter of terrorist attacks should never be used to promote fear mongering or xenophobic policies.
The Iran nuclear deal and subsequent UN Security Council resolution do little to bind the United States legally, though policymakers would face political pressure against reinstating sanctions, says CFR's John Bellinger.
Writing in the International New York Times, John Bellinger argues that referral of war crimes of the so-called Islamic State is far from a futile gesture. Such international arbitration, he notes, will simplify prosecution in the event that Islamic State leaders are captured alive.
John Bellinger argues that President Obama’s categorical dismissal of Guantanamo as a “facility that should have never been opened” needlessly politicizes the issue, alienating the congressional Republicans whose support he will need to close it. President Obama should use his State of the Union address the most compelling reason for Guantanamo’s closure: that its existence has now become a recruiting tool for terrorists around the world.
The 2001 law that authorized the U.S. war against al-Qaeda and its affiliates is not an appropriate justification for the offensive against ISIS and other emerging terrorist groups, says CFR's John Bellinger.
Despite recent calls for exceptions to diplomatic immunity, John B. Bellinger argues in the New York Times Room for Debate for the U.S. commitment to and importance of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to protect U.S. diplomats serving abroad.
What is the Obama administration's legal justification for targeted killings? CFR national security expert John Bellinger explores this question as well as others with significant implications for U.S. counterterrorism.
John B. Bellinger III testifies before the House Committee on the Judiciary on the legal and policy issues that stem from the use of lethal force by the U.S. government against American citizens abroad.
John B. Bellinger III says, "Over the last 230 years, the Senate has approved more than 1,500 treaties. In 2013, Mr. Obama must demonstrate leadership by putting greater effort in securing Senate approval of essential treaties that advance American interests, including the Law of the Sea Convention."
Jeffrey H. Smith and John B. Bellinger III say that because a nuclear-armed Iran is a real threat to the United States, the president does have reason to argue for his constitutional authority to use force against Iran, but legislative approval would give him stronger legal and political ground to do so.
Director: John B. Bellinger III, Adjunct Senior Fellow for International and National Security Law December 1, 2011—Present
Meeting ⁄ New York
David Rockefeller Lecture - The International Criminal Court: A New Approach to International Relations
SpeakerFatou BensoudaProsecutor, International Criminal Court PresiderJohn B. Bellinger IIIPartner, Arnold & Porter LLP; Adjunct Senior Fellow, International and National Security Law, Council on Foreign Relations; Counsellor, American Society of International Law
September 21, 20122:45–3:00 p.m. - Reception 3:00–4:00 p.m. - Meeting
The Synthesis of Law and Politics and the Evolution of International Justice
SpeakersJohn B. Bellinger IIIAdjunct Senior Fellow, International and National Security Law, Council on Foreign Relations; Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP; Former Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State, David J. SchefferMayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law, and Director, Center for International Human Rights, Northwestern University School of Law; Former U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, U.S. Department of State; Author, All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals PresiderJeffrey ToobinStaff Writer, New Yorker; Senior Legal Analyst, CNN
January 30, 20125:30–6:00 p.m. - Reception 6:00–7:00 p.m. - Meeting
The United States and the Future of Global Governance: The Use of Force and Accountability in International Law - A U.S. Perspective
SpeakersMatthew C. WaxmanAdjunct Senior Fellow for Law and Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations, John B. Bellinger IIIAdjunct Senior Fellow for International and National Security Law, Council on Foreign Relations, David J. SchefferProfessor of Law, Northwestern University ModeratorJeffrey ToobinStaff Writer, The New Yorker