Civilization has long tried to limit the violence and cruelty of war. This important new book by a leading authority on ethics and war traces the recent history of these efforts, and explores key contemporary issues in the area. Best shows how the Second World War prompted reconstruction of international law, and charts the fortunes of its relations with war since then. He surveys the whole range of post-1945 armed conflicts--high-tech international wars, wars of national liberation, revolutions, and civil wars--to offer an original and thought-provoking approach to contemporary history, law, politics, and ethics.
“Professor Byers’s book goes to the heart of some of the most bitterly contested recent controversies about the International Rule of Law” (Chris Patten, Chancellor of Oxford University). International law governing the use of military force has been the subject of intense public debate. Under what conditions is it appropriate, or necessary, for a country to use force when diplomacy has failed? Michael Byers, a widely known world expert on international law, weighs these issues in War Law. Byers examines the history of armed conflict and international law through a series of case studies of past conflicts, ranging from the 1837 Caroline Incident to the abuse of detainees by US forces at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Byers explores the legal controversies that surrounded the 1999 and 2001 interventions in Kosovo and Afghanistan and the 2003 war in Iraq; the development of international humanitarian law from the 1859 Battle of Solferino to the present; and the role of war crimes tribunals and the International Criminal Court. He also considers the unique influence of the United States in the evolution of this extremely controversial area of international law. War Law is neither a textbook nor a treatise, but a fascinating account of a highly controversial topic that is necessary reading for fans of military history and general readers alike. “Should be read, and pondered, by those who are seriously concerned with the legacy we will leave to future generations.” —Noam Chomsky
In this classic text, Peter Maguire follows America's legal relationship with war, both before and after the Nuremberg trials of the 1940s. Maguire argues that the precedents set by the trials were nothing less than revolutionary, and he traces the development of these new attitudes throughout American history. The text has been revised throughout, with a new preface and postscript discussing the George W. Bush administration's attempt to rewrite the laws of war after 9/11. Maguire connects these efforts to the decline in American power and reputation. Praise for the previous edition: "[An] intriguing historical analysis."—Harvard Law Review "Outstanding... impressive... a terrific book."—American Historical Review "A five-star accomplishment that will intrigue the reader and prove that, in history, truth is often more fascinating than fiction."—H. W. William Caming, former Nuremberg prosecutor "Perceptive."—Journal of American History "An important and fascinating study, marked by impressive research and moral passion."—Ronald Steel, University of Southern California "A 'must read' for all those interested in international criminal law, war crimes, and war crime trials."—J. C. Watkins Jr., University of Alabama "A sobering exploration of the hypocrisy and double standards that shape the laws of war. Maguire reveals the conflict between American ideology and American imperialism, the Faustian compromises made by our leaders during their elusive quest for justice."—Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking "A pioneering account.... Law and War goes back to the middle of the nineteenth century to trace the history of modern war crimes, their shock value, and the efforts made to bring their perpetrators to account."—Thomas Keenan, Bardian
Atrocities such as genocide or crimes against humanity are usually committed by a large number of perpetrators. Moreover those who masterminded the crimes may not have actively participated. This book sets out how these people can be held responsible for their crimes by international criminal tribunals.
Since at least the Middle Ages, the laws of war have distinguished between combatants and civilians under an injunction now formally known as the principle of distinction. The principle of distinction is invoked in contemporary conflicts as if there were an unmistakable and sure distinction to be made between combatant and civilian. As is so brutally evident in armed conflicts, it is precisely the distinction between civilian and combatant, upon which the protection of civilians is founded, cannot be taken as self-evident or stable. Helen M. Kinsella documents that the history of international humanitarian law itself admits the difficulty of such a distinction. In The Image Before the Weapon, Kinsella explores the evolution of the concept of the civilian and how it has been applied in warfare. A series of discourses-including gender, innocence, and civilization- have shaped the legal, military, and historical understandings of the civilian and she documents how these discourses converge at particular junctures to demarcate the difference between civilian and combatant. Engaging with works on the law of war from the earliest thinkers in the Western tradition, including St. Thomas Aquinas and Christine de Pisan, to contemporary figures such as James Turner Johnson and Michael Walzer, Kinsella identifies the foundational ambiguities and inconsistencies in the principle of distinction, as well as the significant role played by Christian concepts of mercy and charity. She then turns to the definition and treatment of civilians in specific armed conflicts: the American Civil War and the U.S.-Indian Wars of the nineteenth century, and the civil wars of Guatemala and El Salvador in the 1980s. Finally, she analyzes the two modern treaties most influential for the principle of distinction: the 1949 IV Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War and the 1977 Protocols Additional to the 1949 Conventions, which for the first time formally defined the civilian within international law. She shows how the experiences of the two world wars, but particularly World War II, and the Algerian war of independence affected these subsequent codifications of the laws of war. As recognition grows that compliance with the principle of distinction to limit violence against civilians depends on a firmer grasp of its legal, political, and historical evolution, The Image before the Weapon is a timely intervention in debates about how best to protect civilian populations.
60 years after the trials of the main German war criminals, the articles in this book attempt to assess the Nuremberg Trials from a historical and legal point of view, and to illustrate connections, contradictions and consequences. In view of constantly reoccurring reports of mass crimes from all over the world, we have only reached the halfway point in the quest for an effective system of international criminal justice. With the legacy of Nuremberg in mind, this volume is a contribution to the search for answers to questions of how the law can be applied effectively and those committing crimes against humanity be brought to justice for their actions.
In recent years there has been a flourishing body of work on the Law of Treaties, crucial for all fields within international law. However, scholarship on modern treaty law falls into two distinct strands which have not previously been effectively synthesized. One concerns the investigation of concepts which are fundamental to or inherent in the law of treaties generally - such as consent, object and purpose, breach of obligation and provisional application - while the other focuses upon the application of treaties and of treaty law in particular substantive (e.g. human rights, international humanitarian law, investment protection, environmental regulation) or institutional contexts (including the Security Council, the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization and the World Trade Organization). This volume represents the culmination of a series of collaborative explorations by leading experts into the operation, development and effectiveness of the modern law of treaties, as viewed through these contrasting perspectives.
This new edition of International Law confirms the text's status as the definitive book on the subject. Combining both his expertise as academic and practitioner, Malcolm Shaw's survey of the subject motivates and challenges both student and professional. By offering an unbeatable combination of clarity of expression and academic rigour, he ensures both understanding and critical analysis in an engaging and authoritative style. The text has been updated throughout to reflect recent case law and treaty developments. It retains the detailed references which encourage and assist further reading and study.
Each year, many thousands of child civilians are killed, injured, or otherwise physically and psychologically harmed as a result of armed conflicts. There is a considerable body of international law which aims to minimise the harm inflicted on these children, and yet it is little known, or observed. This book is the first major international legal text to focus exclusively on child civilians. It addresses three main questions: (1) what are the precise rules incorporated in the pertinent body of law, and what are its implementation mechanisms? (2) how effective is it (with reference to recent conflicts involving Iraq) in helping to achieve some protection for child civilians? and (3) can it be rendered more effective? The book concludes by proposing a number of strategies to strengthen the impact of the applicable law. As the first detailed analysis of the surprisingly large body of law relevant to the treatment of child civilians, this book is an important contribution to a topical and highly charged human rights issue.
Has there always been an inalienable 'right to have rights' as part of the human condition, as Hannah Arendt famously argued? The contributions to this volume examine how human rights came to define the bounds of universal morality in the course of the political crises and conflicts of the twentieth century. Although human rights are often viewed as a self-evident outcome of this history, the essays collected here make clear that human rights are a relatively recent invention that emerged in contingent and contradictory ways. Focusing on specific instances of their assertion or violation during the past century, this volume analyzes the place of human rights in various arenas of global politics, providing an alternative framework for understanding the political and legal dilemmas that these conflicts presented. In doing so, this volume captures the state of the art in a field that historians have only recently begun to explore.