Episode 13 – Douglas Guilfoyle on the Australian Inquiry into War Crimes in Afghanistan

In this episode, I speak with Douglas Guilfoyle, Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales, Canberra, in Australia. We discuss the recent report of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force on his investigation into war crimes – including murder and cruel treatment of civilians and detainees – alleged to have been committed by members of the Australian Special Forces deployed in Afghanistan. We discuss the impetus for the investigation, the nature of the findings and recommendations, and explore in some detail the report’s treatment of the issue of command responsibility, and its finding that no officers had sufficient knowledge of the misconduct so as to attract criminal liability. This includes a discussion of how the provisions on command responsibility in the Rome Statute were subtly but perhaps significantly adjusted when implemented in the Australian Criminal Code. This leads to the question of what influence the principle of complimentarity and possible ICC involvement may have had in shaping the government’s handling of the issues. Finally we discuss some of the structural, organizational, and cultural features of the Australian forces in Afghanistan that were said to have contributed to the unlawful conduct.

Materials:

“Australian War Crimes in Afghanistan: The Brereton Report,” EJILTalk!, Nov. 23, 2020.

– The Hon. PLG Brereton, Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry Report, Oct. 29, 2020.

– Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, “The Afghan Files,” The ABC, Jul. 10, 2017.

Reading Recommendations:

– Monique Cormier, The Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over Nationals of Non-State Parties, 2020.

– Jessie Hohmann and Daniel Joyce, eds., International Law’s Objects, 2019.

– Thomas Rid, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare, 2020.

Episode 11 – Catherine O’Rourke on the Rights of Women in Armed Conflict

In this episode, I speak with Catherine O’Rourke, Senior Lecturer in Human Rights and International Law, and Gender Research Coordinator at the Transitional Justice Institute, at Ulster University School of Law, Northern Ireland. We discuss her very recent book, The Rights of Women in Armed Conflict Under International Law, which examines the manner in which four specific regimes — IHL, international criminal law, human rights law, and the UN Security Council — have interacted in relation to the rights of women in armed conflict, not only in theoretical and doctrinal terms, but also in very practical terms on the ground in the armed conflicts in Colombia, Nepal, and the DRC. There are some surprises in terms of which regimes are strongest, and which institutions most effective, in protecting women’s rights. We discuss both the synergies and the conflicts among the different regimes, assessing how the various regimes fall short in protecting women’s rights, and ultimately, whether the multiplicity of regimes and fragmentation of law is, on balance, a benefit or an obstacle to the protection of women’s rights in armed conflict. Another fascinating discussion that will likely leave listeners clamoring for the book!

Materials:

The Rights of Women in Armed Conflict Under International Law (2020).

– “‘Geneva Convention III Commentary’ What Significance for Women’s Rights?” Just Security, Oct. 21, 2020.

Reading Recommendations:

– Gina Heathcote, Feminist Dialogues on International Law (2019).

– Judith Gardam, “Feminist Interventions into International Law: A Generation On,” 40 Adelaide Law Review 219 (2019).

– Judith Gardam and Michelle Jarvis, Women, Armed Conflict and International Law, (2001).

Episode 10 – Eliav Lieblich on the Humanization of Jus ad Bellum

In this episode, I speak with Eliav Lieblich, Professor of Law at The Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University, Israel, about the relatively under-studied relationship between international human rights law and the use of force by states. Eliav, in a forthcoming article, uses a recent General Comment of the U.N. Human Rights Committee as a point of departure for analyzing whether, and to what extent, violations of the jus ad bellum regime might also violate the right to life enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Thus, does an act of aggression by a state infringe human rights law as well as violate the jus ad bellum regime? And do governments contemplating the use of force in self-defense have to consider the human rights obligations owed to its own citizens, and the rights of the people in the state against which it is intending to use force? Eliav explores these fascinating questions, and their important implications, from not only a doctrinal and theoretical perspective, but also through the lens of just war theory and ethics as well.

Materials:

– “The Humanization of Jus ad Bellum: Prospects and Perils,” 32 Eur. J. Int’l L. (forthcoming, 2021).

– “Self-Defense Against Non-State Actors and the Myth of the Innocent State,” in Global Governance and Human Rights (Nehal Bhuta & Rodrigo Vallejo eds., Forthcoming).

Reading Recommendations:

– Helen Frowe, The Ethics of War and Peace (2nd ed., 2016).

– Tom Dannenbaum, The Crime of Aggression, Humanity, and the Soldier (2018).

– Adil Ahmad Haque, Law and Morality and War (2017).

Episode 1 – An Introduction by Host Craig Martin

I am Craig Martin, the host of this podcast. In this introductory episode, I explain briefly the objectives, scope, and format of the podcast. I also provide an overview of the main legal regimes that comprise “the laws of war,” namely the jus ad bellum and jus in bello regimes – which, respectively, govern the conditions under which states may use force against other states, and govern the conduct of armed forces within armed conflict. I also refer to their relationship with some other regimes that affect armed conflict, including international human rights law, and constitutional war powers provisions in domestic law.

While this episode is aimed primarily at the non-expert, to provide background that may be helpful in understanding the issues raised in subsequent episodes, it also highlights many of the areas of controversy and debate that we will address in episodes to come, and so may be of interest to the expert listeners as well.

Supplementary Material:

I include below some links to my own writing on these issues, as these articles include sections that summarize the legal regimes discussed in this episode, which some may find helpful; and they will also give a sense of where I stand on some of the more controversial issues:

– “Challenging and Refining the “Unwilling or Unable” Doctrine,” 52 Vanderbilt J. Trans. L. 245 (2019).

A Means-Methods Paradox and the Legality of Drone Strikes in Armed Conflict,” 19:2 Int’l J. Human Rights 142 (2015).

Taking War Seriously: The Case for Constitutional Constraints on the Use of Force, in Compliance with International Law,” 76:2  Brooklyn L. Rev. 611 (2011).

The rest of my writing can be found on my webpage.