Categories: International and Comparative Law
Instructor(s) Kelly, Kevin
Selected Problems in International Law: Law of Armed Conflict
When is it lawful for a nation to go to war and, notwithstanding this question, how may a war be lawfully fought? Where do these two questions come from, and how are they to be answered? Even before the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent debates over military tribunals for accused terrorists and the combatant status of captured Taliban fighters and Al Qaeda members, the laws and customs governing armed conflict and the conduct of military operations were receiving attention unprecedented since the Nuremberg and Tokyo war crimes trials. For example, the post-Cold War increase in American military operations has led, within the US armed forces, to a greater focus on international legal norms and requirements; the civil wars in the Balkans and Rwanda have resulted in the first viable war crimes tribunals since the end of the Second World War; and a
permanent International Criminal Court to address war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity has been established in the Hague. This course will address these topics, as well as: the nature of modern warfare and its impact on the on-going development of the laws of armed conflict; the Just War tradition; international law and custom governing warfare, military operations,
and humanitarian intervention. If there is time we will also discuss domestic War Powers (presidential and congressional).