Latest in International Law: LOAC: Proportionality

International Law

Israel-Gaza and the Law of Armed Conflict: Recommended Readings

A number of friends and colleagues have asked me recently for recommended readings on the law of armed conflict and Gaza. I’ve decided, therefore, to post some of my suggestions and some explanation as to why I chose them. I hope to update this compilation as I improve it and perhaps as more is written. I note upfront that these are simply my personal recommendations.


Readings: Laurie Blank on Proportionality in Jus in Bello in Israel-Hamas Conflict, a Primer

Laurie Blank (Emory University Law School professor, director of its law of armed conflict clinic and, of course, well known to many Lawfare readers as a prominent scholar of LOAC) has an opinion column up at primer on the meaning of proportionality in the conduct of hostilities in the law of armed conflict, what it is and what it isn't.

Targeted Killing

Report of the Stimson Center Task Force on Drone Policy

The Stimson Center released today the report of its Task Force on US Drone Policy. The ten-member task force, of which I was a member, was chaired by General John Abizaid and Rosa Brooks. The report makes eight recommendations for overhauling US drone strategy; improving oversight, accountability, transparency and clarifying the international legal framework applicable to lethal drones; and improving export controls for drone technology.

International Law

Targeting Non-Al Qaeda Members in Yemen (?): The Role of Consent

The other day both Bobby here and Ryan Goodman at Just Security here picked up on news reports that DOD may be willing to provide additional military cooperation (including logistics and direct fire capabilities) to the Yemeni government.

Ryan then takes the opportunity to ask: what type of force is the U.S. government undertaking in Yemen already?

International Law: LOAC: Proportionality

The Attempt to Capture Ikrima Probably Does Not Signify a Shift Regarding the Scope of the AUMF

As information continues to emerge  regarding the Baraawe raid, it is becoming increasingly clear that the operation was of a piece with, rather than a departure from, existing US policy.  According to NPR's Gregory Warner, Kenyan government officials have said that the raid targeted Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, a Kenyan citizen of Somali descent better known as "Ikrima."  Ikrima, we are told, has long functioned as a pivot of sorts linking al Shabaab to Kenya, bo

International Law

Corn Comments on the Costs of Shifting to a Pure Self-Defense Model

The following guest post is from Professor Geoffrey Corn (South Texas College of Law), in response to a post in which I raised the possibility that, in light of the non-battlefield targeting standards articulated by the President in his NDU address and other considerations, it is no longer obvious that the armed-conflict model is serving a function beyond the battlefield (excepting the legacy GTMO detention cases), in the sense that the same authorities could be invoked on self-defense grounds.  Geoff writes in to express con

Detention: Law of

Eight Thoughts on the Broad Reading of Article II Inherent in Bobby’s Conjecture

Bobby’s post from Friday argued that “the current shadow war approach to counterterrorism doesn’t really require an armed-conflict predicate–or an AUMF, for that matter.”  Bobby’s point is that most if not all of the USG’s current uses of force outside Afghanistan could in theory continue even if the armed conflict against al Qaeda ended.  This is because, as Bobby says, the administration’s “imminent threat” constraint outside hot battlefields – which has allowed quite a lot of lethal force to be used in many nations – “is at le

Detention: Operations in Afghanistan

Does the Armed-Conflict Model Matter in Practice Anymore?

This post draws on material from my current book project, the concluding chapter of which considers the legal architecture of counterterrorism in a "postwar" setting...and advances the argument that we already have largely crossed into that world. 

In yesterday's speech, President Obama repeatedly referred to the possibility that the armed conflict with al Qaeda may end, and indeed that it must and should end lest we find ourselves in a perpetual state of war.  It is the same perspective prev

International Law: LOAC: Proportionality

Drone Strikes, the UN Special Rapporteur Investigation, and the Duty to Investigate

[Update - I've clarified some points below, at the bottom, in response to reader feedback]

Ben Emmerson QC is a British human rights law specialist who currently serves as the UN Human Rights Council's "Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights" (this poisition is one of several dozen thematic or country-specific investigative entities set up by the HRC under its "special procedures" system).  Last summer he appeared at a conf

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