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The Lawfare Podcast

The Lawfare Podcast: Samuel Moyn on “How Warfare Became Both More Humane and Harder to End"

This week, Samuel Moyn, Professor of Law and History at Harvard University, closed out a one-day conference on “The Next President's Fight Against Terror” at New America with a talk on “How Warfare Became Both More Humane and Harder to End.”


The Caesar Bill: A Novel Approach to Human Rights Accountability in Syria

In the more than five years since Syrian calls for self-determination first began, the world has witnessed the most egregious humanitarian crisis since World War II unfold. Over 400,000 people have been killed, 14 million people have been driven from their homes, and more than 50 percent of Syria’s critical infrastructure has been destroyed.

International Law

China, Russia, and International Law

Whatever economic problems China and Russia may be experiencing, the foreign policy of both countries of growing importance to global peace and security. Russia’s military intervention in Syria and Ukraine have changed the political and military calculus in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea has made that region into a global hotspot of interstate conflict, one that is unlikely to be diffused by the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s decision in Philippines v. China.

International Law

A Global Downturn in Human Rights: Implications for International Law

There is a downturn in civil and political rights in many of the world’s largest and most geopolitically significant countries, especially Russia, China, and Turkey, but also other countries such as Venezuela. These developments have broad potential consequences for international law. In particular, they have implications for: the success of regional human rights treaties and courts; the “right to democracy”; the meaning of sovereignty; and the overall effectiveness of international law.

Politics & National Security

Crossing Red Lines and US Credibility: What About Our Human Rights Rules?

A prominent feature of The Atlantic’s recent retrospective on President Obama’s foreign policy decisions was whether the president’s refusal to follow through on threats of military action against Syria’s Assad regime after it used chemical weapons against civilians damaged US credibility.


Today’s Crackdown on Egyptian Civil Society: An Eerie Reminder of 2012

Despite continued reports of torture, harrowing tales of abuse in detention, and haunting anecdotes of forced disappearances, Egyptian authorities seem wholly unwilling to contend with the human rights violations that have long plagued the country’s security sector. Rather, authorities seem insistent to instead embark upon yet another wave of crackdown against civil society, taking measures to constrain the activities of the players who document, report, advocate, and litigate within the country’s anti-torture scene and even more broadly, the entire human rights movement.

International Law

Attacks on Medical Facilities in Yemen: Should Medical Humanitarians Stay?

Imagine you are the head of an international medical humanitarian organization with extensive operations in Yemen. Your organization provides life-saving care to civilians and wounded fighters hors de combat alike. There is no doubt that there is tremendous need for medical assistance. But there have also been numerous attacks on civilians and medical establishments in the region. Would you increase, maintain, or decrease your operations there? What role should the disposition of the parties to the conflict toward IHL play in your decision?

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