[P5052] International Law in the Contemporary Middle East: Impeding or Facilitating Violence? (Part 2)

Created by Lisa Hajjar
Monday, 11/20/17 1:00pm


This double panel focuses on the relationship between international humanitarian law (IHL, a.k.a. the laws of armed conflict) and the various wars and violent conflicts that have engulfed the Middle East since the turn of this century. Large parts of the region--including Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan--have become battlespaces of asymmetric wars (i.e., wars involving states and non-state groups). Two aspects of this violent reality, which the double-panel will address, are (Panel 1) the increasing "civilianization of armed conflict" whereby civilians and civilian objects--including hospitals--are targets of military operations, which has led to a blurring or disregard of the IHL imperative to distinguish between combatants and civilians during war; and (Panel 2) the heated and highly fluid debates on an international level about how to interpret, apply, and enforce IHL in these contexts, and how--or even if--perpetrators of war crimes can be held to account. Indeed, the Middle East has become a globalized "laboratory" for working out the fraught relationship between war and law. The overarching objective of this interdisciplinary panel, which includes both academics and humanitarian practitioners, is to consider how specific manifestations of violent conflict (e.g., torture, drone warfare and targeted killing, use of human shields, hospital bombings, use of chemical and biological weapons) have been framed, condemned, or justified in relation to IHL. The individual papers examine the deployment of violence by state and non-state actors and the broader effects of war in specific contexts in order to analyze the role of international law in providing a framework for the ethics of violence (i.e., what is "legal," what is "necessary," and what if assertions of necessity conflict with standards of legality) as well as structuring state-based and international decision-making that goes into the waging of war (e.g., who can be targeted and by what means). Together, the panelists will inquire about and debate whether international law impedes and regulates lethal force or facilitates its use, or both--in other words, how international law affects the deployment of violence in the Middle East.





Lisa Hajjar

(UC Santa Barbara)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer;

Omar Dewachi

(American University of Beirut)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Nicola Perugini

(University of Edinburgh)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Jonathan Whittall

(Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders)
Jonathan Whittall is Director of the Analysis Department at Médecins Sans Frontières. Jonathan leads a team that conducts research, carries out advocacy and provides strategic operational support on the thematics of health politics and policy, forced...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;