2014 Transatlantic dialogue on international law and armed conflict: a joint series

Participants at the transatlantic workshop in Oxford.

Participants at the transatlantic workshop in Oxford.

In the middle of July, a group of academics and government lawyers gathered for two days at Britain's Oxford University to discuss issues related to current challenges pertaining to armed conflict and the applicable law. Participants came from both sides of the Atlantic (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, and Israel) to share views on a variety of topics.

The interplay between international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) was an issue that permeated the two day workshop, with an emphasis on the implications of recent court decisions. That discussion flowed into a conversation about accountability for violations of IHL, including an exploration of what the obligations are and how they are implemented. Given that many States are scaling down direct foreign military operations, the first day finished with a discussion on what partnered operations and security cooperation looks like, and how different bodies of law apply to these operations.

Issues relating to non-international armed conflicts (NIACs), and overlapping areas of IHL and IHRL, were addressed on the second day, including whether and how the rules applicable in international armed conflicts (IACs) could also apply to NIACs, and a determination of when a NIAC ends and when IHL stops applying.

Some of those who attended the workshop are now participating in a series of blog posts focusing on specific topics that were addressed during the workshop. Three blogs, Intercross, EJIL:Talk!, and Lawfare, are coordinating the series, and will host the posts, outlined below. Each blog post supports the different authors' perspectives, and not necessarily those of anyone else at the workshop, nor any of the institutions represented.

Schedule of blog posts:

  • Bobby Chesney on Lawfare
  • Ken Watkin, Overlap of IHL and IHRL: A North American Perspective, Part I on Intercross
  • Sarah Cleveland, Harmonizing Standards in Armed Conflict on EJIL:Talk!
  • Ken Watkin, Overlap of IHL and IHRL: A North American Perspective, Part II on Intercross
  • Lawrence Hill-Cawthorne, Developing the Law of Non-International Armed Conflict: A view on the Harmonization Project on EJIL:Talk!
  • Geoff Corn, Squaring the Circle: The Intersection of Battlefield Regulation and Criminal Responsibility on Lawfare
  • Guglielmo Verdirame on Intercross

The event was organized and sponsored by the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law & Armed Conflict, the Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations, the International Committee of the Red Cross in Washington DC and London, the South Texas College of Law, and the Strauss Center at the University of Texas.