Armed Conflict

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Better Get A Lawyer: Are Legal Constraints Defeating Britain’s Armed Forces on the Battlefield?

Aurel Sari is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Exeter and an affiliated member of its Strategy and Security Institute. Last Friday, the Policy Exchange, a British think tank dedicated to the development and promotion of new policy ideas, published a Report entitled ‘The Fog of Law: An Introduction to the Legal Erosion of British Fighting Power’. The Report makes fascinating reading and deserves serious attention. Written by Thomas Tugendhat and Laura Croft, its aim is to explain how the cumulative effect of legal developments taking place over the past decade has undermined the ability of Britain’s armed forces to operate effectively on the battlefield. The Report questions the desirability of what it calls ‘legal mission creep’ and offers seven policy recommendations designed to reverse it or at least arrest its future development. Undermining the warfighting ethos Flexibility, initiative and the acceptance of risk and responsibility are central to British military doctrine. As the British Defence Doctrine puts it, one of the key components of…

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The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: Obaidullah v United States and the Mainstream of International Law

Eirik Bjorge is the Shaw Foundation Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) is the only body in the international human rights system with a specific mandate to receive and examine cases on arbitrary deprivation of liberty. In this capacity it has, since 1991,…

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Syria and the Law of Humanitarian Intervention (Part II: International Law and the Way Forward)

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on Just Security. My first post for Just Security explained why, despite some bungled politics, President Obama’s proposed military action in Syria could have been lawful under U.S. domestic law.  This post discusses why President Obama did not violate international law by threatening to use force in Syria in…

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Syria, Security Resolution 2118 (2013) and Peace versus Justice: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back?

On 27 September 2013, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2118 (2013). The resolution broke the diplomatic impasse over Syria in the Security Council. It was celebrated as a diplomatic success and as a ‘precedent-setting’ resolution. It marks fundamental progress, on at least two fronts: (i) It shifted…

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Mapping the Debates about Syria

John Louth is Editor-in-Chief of Academic Law at Oxford University Press International lawyers are fortunate to be well-served by a number of very well informed and thoughtful blogs. Whether just throwing out an idea for discussion or undertaking a detailed survey of a topic it seems to me that we need to…

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