CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, February 5, 2007

Case Western International CrimProf and Others Asked to Participate in Updating Armed Conflict Rules

Scharf_sm_6Participation by Case Western Law School International CrimProf Michael Scharf, Prof Amos Guiora and Prof Gregory McNeal will contribute to the work of a team of international experts recommending updates to the rules of armed conflict to reflect the challenges of terrorism as the 100 year anniversary of The Hague Rules of 1907 approaches.

The goals of the research are to draft a set of updates to the rules of armed conflict, to suggest policies that can inform successful strategies and tactics for combating terrorism, and to consider the human rights dimensions of the purposeful use of non-combatants as a shield and civilian areas as safe sanctuary. The recommended updates will serve as a basis for nations to bring about needed changes in the laws of war.

Recent conflicts underscore the continuing shortcomings of international law and policy in responding to asymmetric warfare mounted by non-state terrorist groups in the 21st century. Neither The Hague Rules, the customary law of war, nor the post-1949 law of armed conflict and accompanying international humanitarian law, account for non-state groups waging prolonged campaigns of terrorism - and, in some cases, more conventional military attacks - that leave the defending state with little choice but to respond in ways that inflict heavy civilian casualties.

The invitation recognizes the strength of the global legal curriculum at the School of Law and the expertise of the professors who will be asked to serve on a team of international experts reviewing and discussing case studies and lessons learned developed by teams of military officers and military lawyers from Israel and the United States. Following that review, the professors will participate in a working session in Israel this summer to develop proposals for reform or new protocols to the laws of war. he effort will culminate in a conference in Washington D.C., where the Case team will participate in paper presentations and will engage in discussion with other experts regarding the future of the rules and policies for armed conflict. Following work will include the preparation of a book and an outreach effort to engage nations and other key bodies about the work of the group and their recommendations. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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