The book provides an empirical account of the laws that regulate today’s scenes of armed conflict by looking into the details of one particular military incident and its ex-post legal accounting. Empirically, the book focuses on a highly controversial airstrike in Afghanistan (2009), in which large numbers of civilians were identified as combatants and killed as such. The incident lends itself to reflect upon the relation between the violation of procedural rules and the violation of the international laws of armed conflict. The ethnomethodological Law-in-Action research investigates the practical details of legal accountability and explores how the event shaped and specified the legally required protection of civilians in armed conflict. Exploring the collaborative and systematic work that goes into the ‘application of law’ at the military and the judiciary site, the study develops an empirical respecification of the concept of ‘juridification of warfare’.
Martina Kolanoski, Dr.phil., is a research associate and lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt/Main. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the German Institute for Human Rights, Berlin, where she is part of the working group Climate Change and Human Rights. Between 2016 and 2020, Martina was a Visiting Fellow at the University of Liverpool, School of Law and Social Justice, where she collaborated on topics related to this publication.
List of Figures and Tables
1Introduction 1.1 The Juridification of Warfare as an Empirical Phenomenon
1.1.1 Post-Cold War Developments
1.1.2 Civil Law and Victims’ Rights to Compensation
1.1.3 Relations of War and Law
1.1.4 Analysing and Assessing Scenes of Combat
1.2 Overview of the Chapters
2Civilian Deaths and Legal Responsibility 2.1 The Kunduz-Airstrike
2.1.1 Military, Political and Legal Investigations
Appendix 1Map Kunduz Area with German Camp and Place of Bombing
Appendix 2Redacted Transcript of Cockpit Communication Recorded in One of the F-15 Fighters
International lawyers and ethnomethodologists. Scholars and postgraduate students from sociology, sociology of law, military studies, peace and conflict research and political science.
The book may spurn the interest of legal, political and civil society actors who are involved in the investigation and evaluation of the military violence. In the young legal field of international criminal law, the actors have a genuine interest in questions of legal development, to which they explicitly attend, e.g. through strategic litigation.
Empirically, the book focuses on an airstrike which was part of an international military engagement, it included US-soldiers and Afghan citizens, and became an international matter of concern. The description of the legal casework in a German court provides a crucial example of the case-based specification of international rules by (local) national courts. The application of the international law of armed conflict and the specification and further development through casework is therefore equally important for German and international readers. The study adds new dimensions to transnational and interdisciplinary debates about the deployment of the military and the role of law, both during the armed violence itself but also as a resource for assessing its appropriateness afterwards. Next to international scholars from the subject areas named above, I see a potential readership in the environment of places like the International Criminal Court and the UN as well as in the international master programs that offer a specialization in international criminal law.