Erica Gaston

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Erica Gaston is currently a Project Manager at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin, Germany. A human rights lawyer by training, she has spent much of the last eight years engaged in field research, documentation and program development in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Pakistan. Her publications include three article compendiums on the legal, ethical, and practical dilemmas emerging in modern conflict and crisis zones; documentation of rights abuses and laws of war violations in conflict; and thematic research on rule of law issues in transitioning countries. She has a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor's degree from Stanford University.

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International Law: Self-Defense

Soldier Self-Defense and the Strikes in Syria

On Tuesday, U.S. forces shot down an armed Iranian drone in southern Syria, a few days after a similarly justified strike on a Syrian aircraft that dropped a bomb near a U.S. training outpost. Combined with the U.S. decision to ramp up support to Syrian Kurds seeking to retake Raqqa, these actions could be interpreted as initial steps on the road to war with Syria.

War Powers

Do the Strikes on al Shabaab Stretch the AUMF or The Unit Self-defense Doctrine?

Charlie Savage’s piece on the legal basis for the March 5 U.S. strike against an al Shabaab training camp, which allegedly killed 150 fighters, raises the intriguing question of whether the AUMF has been stretched yet again, this time to justify U.S. operations against al Shabaab as a whole.