Law of War

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Snapshot,
David Kaye

An explosive new report on torture in Syria politicizes atrocities committed during Syria's civil war. It will not lead to what Syrians want and need: an independent criminal inquiry that results in international prosecutions and promotes domestic accountability.

Snapshot,
Betcy Jose

Much of the recent debate about Syria stressed the importance of preserving the taboo on chemical weapons, which were banned in part because they are difficult to control and can harm civilians who are not the intended targets. Yet it appears that the Assad regime purposefully targeted civilians and, by doing so, broke an even more important international norm.

Snapshot,
Sohail H. Hashmi and Jon Western

Some opponents of a strike in Syria contend that the norm against chemical weapons is pointless, since they generally produce far fewer fatalities than conventional arms. But chemical weapons, like nuclear and biological ones, are concerning primarily because they make discrimination between civilians and fighters impossible.

Snapshot,
Charli Carpenter

More and more, unmanned machines such as drones are waging war. So far, governments kept humans as the operators. But now militaries worldwide are developing armed autonomous robots with the capacity to use lethal force on their own.

Essay, Jul/Aug 2013
Audrey Kurth Cronin

Drones are not helping to defeat al Qaeda and may be creating sworn enemies out of a sea of local insurgents. Embracing them as the centerpiece of U.S. counterterrorism would be a mistake.

Response,
Carl Levin

Activists on both the right and the left have alleged that the National Defense Authorization Act contains new authority for the military to detain American citizens. The new law does no such thing.

Essay, May/June 2011
David Kaye

A decade on, the ICC is still trying to find its footing, thanks partly from the chief prosecutor’s poor management and excessive ambition. The election to replace him is a chance to reboot.

Snapshot,
Michael W. Doyle

The UN authorization of a no-fly zone in Libya gives teeth to the much-heralded “responsibility to protect." But the intervention poses legal and ethical dilemmas that will plague policymakers in the weeks and months ahead.

This article appears in the Foreign Affairs/CFR eBook, The New Arab Revolt.

 

Review Essay, Mar/Apr 2011
Charli Carpenter

Two recent books cast doubt on the value of the existing laws of war when it come sto safeguarding civilians in an age of unconventional conflict. But a closer look suggests that the current regulations constitute a firm foundation on which to better protect civilians.

Essay, Jan/Feb 2010
Abraham D. Sofaer

Some threats to international security are so potentially damaging that preventing them in advance is preferable to remedying their effects. In such cases, states should judge preventive actions by a standard of legitimacy, not strict legality.

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