Geoffrey S. Corn

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Geoffrey S. Corn is the George R. Killam Jr. Chair of Criminal Law at the Texas Tech University School of Law and Director at the Center for Military Law & Policy. Prior to that, he served as Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law Houston and Distinguished Fellow of the Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy. Professor Corn served in the U.S. Army for 21 years as an officer, and a final year as s civilian legal advisor, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Professor Corn’s teaching and scholarship focuses on the law of armed conflict, national security law, criminal law and procedure, and prosecutorial ethics. He has appeared an expert witness at the Military Commission in Guantanamo, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and in federal court. He is the lead author of The Law of Armed Conflict: An Operational Perspective, and The Laws of War and the War on Terror, and National Security Law and Policy: a Student Treatise.

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Framing Israel: The U.N. Commission of Inquiry on the Spring 2018 Gaza Border Confrontations

Politicians, trial lawyers and drafters of reports learn early on that framing an argument is central to the task of persuasion. And so it goes for the report by the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the border confrontation that occurred last spring between Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the tens of thousands of Gaza residents who sought to force their way into Israel by breaching the security barrier.


The IDF MAG’s Gaza Report and Its Critics: Context, Compliance, and Credibility

“No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” This axiom informs compliance with the law of armed conflict (LOAC) in combined arms maneuver: combat operations involving ground forces employing a range of capabilities to achieve an overarching “commander’s intent.” Ground maneuver combat is decentralized and dynamic, especially when dealing with an agile and adaptable enemy. LOAC’s application will often turn on factors such as available capabilities, the enemy’s strength and tactics, time for deliberation, and the speed of maneuver.


Use of Force at the Gaza Border: A Hybrid Approach to Tactical Challenges

The recent confrontation at the Israel-Gaza border between thousands of Gazans and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) took a heavy human toll, raising concerns about excessive uses of force and complex issues of international law. The Israeli High Court of Justice declined to order modification of the IDF’s rules and procedures that dictate when, where and how its forces may employ lethal force.

transatlantic dialogue

Transatlantic Workshop on International Law and Armed Conflict: Wounded and Sick, Proportionality, and Armaments

[Editor's note: This piece is the latest installment in a mutli-blog series building on the Fifth Annual Transatlantic Workshop on International Law and Armed Conflict, as explained in detail here.]

Transatlantic Workshop on International Law and Armed Conflict

Wounded and Sick, Proportionality, and Armaments


Combined Arms Maneuver Operations and LOAC Implementation: A View from the Golan

Last week I was among a group of international law scholars and practitioners invited to Israel by the Israeli Defense Forces Military Advocate General for a three-day conference focused on contemporary LOAC issues. The goal was to highlight the complex legal issues that arise in modern armed conflicts, with an emphasis on ground combat operations—what military commanders would call combined arms maneuver—against quasi-conventional and highly capable enemies. To this end, our hosts devoted an entire day of the conference to a “field trip” to Israel’s northern border.

Campaign 2016

Legitimacy and the Rule of Law Under Donald Trump

Many writers on this site have highlighted why they are concerned about President-Elect Donald Trump’s becoming the Commander in Chief of our armed forces. I share almost all these concerns. But in this post, I will try to explain the concern I consider most significant: Trump’s campaign statements consistently indicate a complete failure to appreciate the importance of legitimacy in U.S. operations.