Call For Papers: 3rd Annual “Revisiting The Role of International Law in National Security” Workshop

Many conversations in the U.S. about situations of armed conflict – within civil society, academia, and the U.S. government – center on “national security law,” often drawing primarily from domestic law and military perspectives.  International law is sometimes set aside in these discussions.  This workshop aims to draw the international legal aspects of armed conflicts to the forefront of national security discussions. 

The workshop is for public international law scholars and practitioners.  It aims to drive discussions of public international law, including international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international criminal law, into conversations, in the U.S. in particular on national security issues and situations of armed conflict. The organizers are interested in discussing scholarship and ideas that seek to bridge partisan political divides while addressing both the law and national interests.

The workshop will provide an opportunity for authors to have their works in progress critiqued by established experts in the field of IHL, and will provide a networking opportunity for participants.  The organizers ask only for papers that that have not yet been accepted for publication

In addition to submissions to traditional US law reviews, participants might consider the possibility of publication in the ICRC’s International Committee of the Red Cross Review, which is seeking submissions for its upcoming editions.  The Review is a thematic journal covering a wide variety of issues, and to the extent that there are paper topics that overlap with “revisiting the role of international law in national security” and upcoming Review topics, the organizers encourage these submissions. The upcoming Review topics are outlined below.  Please note that selection for this workshop does not guarantee that a paper will be published by the Review. The author would still need to submit the publication to the Editor of the Review for consideration. 

We invite you to submit a detailed abstract or draft of an article for discussion.  A small number of papers will be selected for discussion at the workshop. 

  • When:  June 18th, 2018 (full day)
  • Where:  Cardozo Law School, New York City
  • Submissions:  Please send your name, current affiliation, and paper proposal to Tracey Begley at 
  • Deadline for submissions:  April 1st, 2018

Co-organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross Delegation for the United States and Canada, and faculty at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, Stanford Law School and Cardozo Law School.

A limited amount of travel funds may be available.  

Upcoming editions of the International Review of the Red Cross

Digital technology and war

The latest transformations in technology and digitization have led to a more connected world by facilitating communications, even more so due to the dramatic increase in access to digital technology in all aspects of life—from smartphones to new ways of connecting via social networks and other online platforms.

In emergency situations, new technology now allows for real time interactions between all actors involved. Relationships with beneficiaries of humanitarian relief are evolving, as more and more of the exchanges are made via digital tools such as messaging apps and digital cash payments. Meanwhile, technology can be used to allow for an easier and more direct access to humanitarian aid, for example through self-registration.

As the use of new technology spreads, digitized information is generated, shared and made available. This new information environment presents both challenges and opportunities for humanitarian organisations interested in using this information for the benefit of those they serve, while questions of privacy and data protection regularly arise. As it is often the case, ethical and legal considerations are being addressed in parallel with the evolution of technology.

There are also important risks that must be considered in terms of cyber security and data privacy. Another aspect of the virtual space is so-called cyberwarfare, as subject that was at the forefront in 2017 with the launch of the updated Tallinn Manual on law applicable to cyber warfare in March 2017 and calls by some for a “digital Geneva Convention”.

This edition of the Review will cover these topics and more. Contributors may choose to write on such topics as digital communication and humanitarian work, the information environment, cyberwarfare and IHL or the impact of new technology on the humanitarian field.

Children and war

Armed conflict and other situations of violence deprive children of food, clean water, health care—which is particularly troubling given the number of children who die of preventable illnesses, shelter, and the opportunity to have a childhood. Despite the protection afforded by international law, children are especially vulnerable to a myriad risks.  They are all too often drawn into hostilities, directly as child soldiers or indirectly, separated from their families, detained, recruited, forcibly driven from their homes, killed, injured, sexually abused or exploited in other ways.

Although children have been tragically affected by war throughout history, today’s conflicts seemingly reach new levels of suffering, especially for children. In light of this, more research is needed on the mental health and psycho-social consequences armed conflict, particularly prolonged armed conflict, has for children.

Another essential service that is affected by armed conflict is education, and when this happens it is children who are the most affected. Increasingly, protracted conflicts lead to lack of access to education for several years, raising questions on how to protect children in protracted conflict and insure that they have the tools to continue their development after the conflict. Recently, governments have joined together in the Safe Schools Process, seeking to promote safer access to education. Education is fundamental to a functioning society and to the wellbeing of individuals and of communities. As such, it can be thought of as an essential service, akin to electricity and clean water.

War and the body, war and the mind

War has a profound effect on both the human body and the human mind. This issue of the Review will explore the place of the body in war and address various issues such as the war wounded and other physical consequences of armed conflict, war surgery, the respectful and dignified handling of dead bodies, human enhancement of soldiers or the different ways in which genders experience war.

This edition will also examine various aspects of the human mind related to warfare, such as the impact of war on mental health and the use of psychology in military operations. War causes great psychological trauma to civilians and combatants alike. The “invisible scars” of war - from “shell shock” first observed after WW I to “post-traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD), have been extensively studied and the mental health response progressively developed. Modern armies have recognized the psychological consequences of combat and psychological support is made available for veterans, but there is far less attention paid to psychological consequences of violence on the affected civilian population and their access to psychosocial care.

The ICRC has commissioned various studies in recent years which attempt to understand behavior in war (for example the Roots of Behavior in War study, which is currently being revisited, as well as the People on War project, which aimed at understanding how civilians and combatants experience war, etc.). Mental health and care of humanitarian practitioners is also increasingly being addressed and discussed in the humanitarian field.

A major consideration is the challenges faced by persons with disabilities, both mental and physical, in armed conflict or other emergencies in terms of access to essential services like food, water, health care or social inclusion. Hostilities inflict physical and mental suffering, leaving many marked with disabilities for the rest of their lives. New developments in health care in conflict or other emergencies will also be explored, as well as the legal implications of the 2016 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in comparison with the provisions on the sick and wounded in the Geneva Conventions.

This issue will also address the distinction between the body and the mind, to see how this division is seen in different cultures.