Armed Conflict

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Should the Geneva Conventions Apply to the “War on Terror”

Last week I took part in a BBC radio programme (“Iconoclasts”) debating whether the Geneva Conventions should apply to the war against terrorism. The programme (which can be heard by clicking here) addressed three issues: – Do the Geneva Conventions apply to ‘the war on terror’? – What is the difference between ‘tough interrogation’ and torture? – If the Geneva Conventions needs updating or replacing, what should the new rules be? The Iconoclast in the programme was Charlie Wolf, an American radio presenter and commentator based in the UK. He was formerly communications director of Republicans Abroad UK. In the programme, he took a similar position to that  first taken by the Bush Administration after September 11, i.e. that the”war on terror” was not within the contemplation of the drafters of the Geneva Convention and that the terrorists did not deserve the protections of the Geneva Convention as they did not respect them. These issues were addressed by the US Supreme Court in 2006, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld when it ruled that at least one provision of…

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How to Qualify the Armed Conflict in Libya?

A colleague and I are currently working on an article on the qualification or classification of armed conflicts in modern IHL. The ongoing developments in Libya bring out a specific difficulty in the process of qualification which we see as problems of state representation. An excerpt from the draft is provided below, and it is very much work in progress;…

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Operationalising the Law of Armed Conflict for Dissident Forces in Libya.

As the conflict in Libya appears to be drawing to a close, more allegations are surfacing that war crimes have been committed, and fears have been expressed that reprisals may occur.  The allegations made against the Qadhafi forces of torture and wilful killing (see here and here) are grave, but a Human Rights Watch…

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France Admits to Arming Libyan Rebels – Was this Lawful?

France has admitted supplying weapons to rebels in Libya fighting against Colonel's Gaddafi's forces. According to Channel 4 News in the UK: A senior French diplomatic source who wished to remain nameless told Channel 4 News that the weapon drop "was an operational decision taken at the time to help civilians who were in in imminent…

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When to Kill and When to Capture?

My previous post on the Osama bin Laden killing and a number of posts at Opinio Juris have attracted a very productive discussion in the comments, which I would recommend to all readers who haven’t seen it already. The key issue that has emerged in this discussion is whether the legality of OBL’s killing depends on whether the US…

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