Throughout September, in coordination with our friends over at Lawfare and EJIL:Talk!, we’re following up on this summer’s 2nd annual Transatlantic Dialogue on International Law and Armed Conflict (which took place in Oxford in July) with a joint blog series exploring a range of interesting issues, including when international humanitarian law ceases to apply.
Writing for Lawfare this week, Bobby Chesney, introduces his post by saying, “People sometimes speak of peacetime and wartime as sharply demarcated, their factual foundations and legal consequences being clearly distinct from one another. Everyone here will appreciate that it is not always or even often so simple, as Mary Dudziak has documented so richly in her recent book WAR TIME: AN IDEA, ITS HISTORY, ITS CONSEQUENCES.
Circumstances of violence can occur across a broad spectrum of intensity, with the nature and intensity of events rising or falling in unexpected ways (and places) over time. Even the parties themselves can undergo sweeping changes. Small wonder, then, that we lawyers spend so much time wrestling with the details of IHL’s field of application.”