In the middle of July, a group of academics and government lawyers gathered for two days at Oxford University to discuss issues related to current challenges pertaining to armed conflict and the applicable law. Participants came from both sides of the north Atlantic (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and continental Europe), and from Israel, to share views on a variety of topics.
The interplay between international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) was an issue that permeated the two day workshop, with an emphasis on the implications of recent court decisions. That discussion flowed into a conversation about accountability for violations of IHL, including an exploration of what the obligations are and how they are implemented. Given that many States are scaling down direct foreign military operations, the first day finished with a discussion on what partnered operations and security cooperation looks like, and how different bodies of law apply to these operations.
Issues relating to non-international armed conflicts, and again the overlapping areas of IHL and IHRL, were addressed on the second day, including whether and how rules applicable in international armed conflicts (IACs) could apply to non-international armed conflicts (NIACs), and a determination of when a NIAC ends and when IHL stops applying.
Some of those who attended the workshop are now participating in a series of blog posts focussing on specific topics that were addressed during the workshop. Three blogs, Intercross, EJIL:Talk!, and Lawfare, are coordinating the series, and will host the posts, outlined below. Each blog post supports the author’s perspective, and not necessarily that of anyone else at the workshop, or any of the institutions represented.
Schedule of blog posts:
- Bobby Chesney, IHL and the End of Conflict, September 3rd on Lawfare
- Ken Watkin, Overlap of IHL and IHRL: A North American Perspective, Part I, September 5th on Intercross
- Sarah Cleveland, Harmonizing Standards in Armed Conflict, September 8th on EJIL:Talk!
- Ken Watkin, Overlap of IHL and IHRL: A North American Perspective, Part II, September 10th on Intercross
- Lawrence Hill-Cawthorne, Developing the Law of Non-International Armed Conflict: A view on the Harmonization Project, September 12th on EJIL:Talk!
- Geoff Corn, Squaring the Circle: The Intersection of Battlefield Regulation and Criminal Responsibility, September 15th on Lawfare
- Guglielmo Verdirame, September 17th on Intercross
The event was organized and sponsored by the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, the Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations, the International Committee of the Red Cross Delegations for the United States and Canada and for the United Kingdom and Ireland, the South Texas College of Law, and the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas.