The Office of the Staff Judge Advocate speaks at the University of Passau

By Pfc. Jesus Menchaca, 7th Army Training Command Grafenwöhr

Members of the 7th Army Training Command Office of the Staff Judge Advocate traveled to the University of Passau to speak to law students and professors about Human Rights in war on Oct. 20th, 2021, in Passau, Germany. This event was put together by Sophia Klingler, a law student at the University of Passau and head of the German-American Lawyers Association Student Division Passau, and had a total of 55 people in attendance. 48 of them joined via Zoom from various places such as California, New York, and throughout Germany.

The OSJA along with Professor Robert Esser, a European and International Criminal Law Professor at the University of Passau, spoke at the university in order to understand both U.S. Army law and German law systems to coordinate effectively and efficiently in future shared endeavors. Esser discussed the investigation into German military actions and commands by the European Court of Human Rights and the “Kunduz Airstrike Case,” which he used to further discuss existing concepts.

Lee, a 7th ATC Military Justice Advisor with OSJA, gave a brief introduction into the U.S. Law of Armed Conflict, or the International Humanitarian Law, and the legal principles embedded and used. He then spoke about how the LOAC can be both similar and different from German Law in some ways.

Huestis, 7th ATC’s Senior Civilian Attorney with OSJA, spoke about the importance of Soldiers training in the Rules of Engagement and the LOAC before they’re in a combat situation. He then spoke about his personal experience in the military Judge Advocate General’s Corps Office. The JAG Corps is the branch concerned with military justice and law. Officers serving in a JAG Corps are typically called judge advocates and also serve as prosecutors when conducting a court-martial.

“International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law is usually not something we are taught in German law school aside from a few courses, if a student chose a certain specialization,” said Klingler. “However, I think it is a highly relevant issue, especially if one keeps up with current events and wants to get a better grasp on what is going on in the world.”
Lecture attendees were provided time to ask questions when the speakers completed their presentations.

After the discussion Zeller, a 7th ATC Deputy Staff Judge Advocate with OSJA, gave Esser and Klingler a challenge coin and a Manual for Court-Martial thanking them for inviting the OSJA to speak at the University of Passau.

“It’s always a fantastic opportunity to do any sort of coordinated event with our German host nation partners, especially when it concerns both of our armed forces and how we can be better allies,” said Lee.


Professor Dr. Robert Esser is a German jurist who currently holds a chair on German, European and International Criminal and Criminal Procedural Law, Commercial Criminal Law at the University of Passau in Bavaria, Germany. He undertook his legal education at the University of Trier (Germany) and Uppsala (Sweden) as well as completed his basic military service with the German Air Force. Following his habilitation in 2006 he began his professorship at Passau in 2007, where he currently – among many other projects – leads the research institute “Human Rights in Criminal Proceedings (HRCP)”.

Captain Kevin Lee is a U.S. Army Judge Advocate stationed at U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria where he has practiced as a National Security Law attorney for 7th Army Training Command advising on the law of armed conflict and other operational law matters. Prior to joining the Army Judge Advocate General Corps, Captain Lee was an associate at an international law firm in New York City working on mergers and acquisitions before joining the New York Stock Exchange as in-house legal counsel advising on regulatory matters.  He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Bradley Huestis, Lt. Colonel (ret.) U.S. Army, Senior Civilian Attorney and Chief of Client Services, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 7th Army Training Command, Grafenwöhr. Mr. Huestis earned a Bachelor’s Degree as a Distinguished Military Graduate at Arizona State University in 1989 and followed up with his J.D. cum laude at University of Arizona College of Law in 1995. He furthered his education with the degree of an LL.M. in Military Law and The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in 2001. In addition to his legal endeavors, Mr. Huestis was also a Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School in 2015 and received a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Tampa in 2021. Following this degree he authored Ahab: A Hockey Story in 2021 as well. Aside from his education, Mr. Huestis served in the US Army as a Field Artillery Officer at V Corps, Giessen, Germany, Legal Assistance Attorney, Operational Law Attorney and Trial Counsel to the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was also the Brigade Judge Advocate for TF Tiger in Tuzla, Bosnia and an Administrative Law Attorney and Trial Defense Counsel at 1st Armored Division in Baumholder, Germany. Following these assignments, he went on to become a professor for the Criminal Law Department at TJAGLCS in Charlottesville, VA. He then went on to become the Chief of Military Justice at V Corps in Heidelberg, Germany and Chief of Military Justice, MNC-I in Baghdad, Iraq. He spent his last duty station as Chief of the United States Army Claims Service Europe at USAREUR in Mannheim, Germany from 2008-09.  As an attorney, he is licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the Supreme Court of Colorado.


Sophia-Marie Klingler is a law student at the University of Passau in Bavaria, Germany and preparing to take the first state exam to acquire her legal degree. She also acts as head of the DAJV’s new-founded student division in Passau, which organized the event.

Impressions from the event