Benjamin R. Farley

Benjamin R. Farley, Part-Time Faculty at the George Washington University

Benjamin R. Farley

B.S., J.D., M.A.

Professorial Lecturer

Part-time Faculty

School: Elliott School of International Affairs



Benjamin R. Farley is a Professional Lecturer at the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs and a Visiting Fellow at Emory University School of Law. Farley currently serves as the Acting Office Director of the Office of Terrorist Detentions in the Bureau of Counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State. During the 2022-2023 academic year, he was a Visiting Professor and the Acting Director of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic at Emory University School of Law.

Before rejoining the State Department in August 2021, Farley represented Ammar al Baluchi, one of the five defendants facing capital charges before the 9/11 military commission at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a supervisory trial attorney and law-of-war counsel at the U.S. Department of Defense, Military Commissions Defense Organization. Farley originally joined the Department of State in 2012 as a Presidential Management Fellow. From 2013 to 2017, he served as a senior adviser to the Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure.

A term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Farley earned a JD with honors from Emory University School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Emory International Law Review. He also holds an MA in international affairs from the Elliott School of International Affairs. Farley has published on topics including sovereignty, statehood, international humanitarian law, and constitutional law in various law, policy, and popular outlets such as The Virginia Journal of International Law, The Atlantic, the Michigan Journal of International Law, and the Fordham International Law Journal. He has also contributed to Articles of War, Just Security, Lawfare, War on the Rocks, and World Politics Review.

International Law, IAFF 2444

Regulating the Foreign-Fighter Phenomenon, 64 Va J. Int’l L. 69 (2023)

The Principle of Non-Refoulement in Relation to Supporting States Under IHL, Oxford J. Confl. & Sec. L. (2022) (peer reviewed)

Identifying the Start of Conflict: Conflict Recognition, Operational Realities and Accountability in the Post-9/11 World, 36 Mich. J. Int’l L. 467 (2015) (with Laurie R. Blank)

Drones & Democracy: Missing Out on Accountability?, 54 S. Tex. L. Rev. 385 (2013)

Targeting Anwar al-Aulaqi: A Case Study in U.S. Drone Strikes and Targeted Killing, 2 Nat’l Sec. L. Brief 57 (2011)

Characterizing U.S. Involvement in Pakistan: Is the U.S. Engaged in an Armed Conflict?, 34 Fordham Int’l L.J. 151 (2011) (with Laurie R. Blank)

Calling a State a State: Somaliland and International Recognition, 24 Emory Int’l L. Rev. 777 (2010)

J.D., Emory University School of Law

M.A., The George Washington University