What Is War?

An Investigation in the Wake of 9/11

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International law has lacked a widely-accepted definition of armed conflict despite the essential human rights and other rules that depend on such a definition. During armed conflict, government forces have “combatant immunity” to kill without warning. They may detain enemy forces until the end of the conflict without the requirement to provide a speedy and fair trial. Governments may have asylum obligations or neutrality obligations based on the existence of armed conflict. To fill this gap in our knowledge of the law, the International Law Association's Committee on the Use of Force produced a report on the meaning of armed conflict. This book contains the report and papers delivered at an inter-disciplinary conference designed to inform the committee from a variety of perspectives.
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Biographical Note

Mary Ellen O'Connell holds a chair at the University of Notre Dame. She earned law degrees at Cambridge and Columbia Universities and is the author of numerous publications, including, The Power and Purpose of International Law (OUP 2008) and Redefining Sovereignty (with Bothe and Ronzitti, Transnational 2005).

Table of contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; Contributors;
Part I The ILA Decision to Study the Meaning of “War” in International Law
Chapter 1 Introduction: Defining Armed Conflict in the Decade after 9/11 Mary Ellen O’Connell;
Chapter 2 Proposal to Study the Meaning of War in International Law (May 2005) ILA Committee on the Use of Force;
Part II Background Papers for the Study: International Law (2006)
Chapter 3 International Law’s Changing Terms: “War” becomes “Armed Conflict” Elzbieta Mikos-Skuza;
Chapter 4 The Meaning of Armed Conflict and the Jus ad Bellum Jutta Brunnée;
Chapter 5 The Concept of “Armed Conflict” in International Armed Conflict Masahiko Asada;
Chapter 6 The Meaning of Armed Conflict: Non-International Armed Conflict Christine Gray;
Chapter 7 Irregular Forces and Self-defense Under the UN Charter James Gathii;
Chapter 8 United Nations Peacekeeping and the Meaning of Armed Conflict Mary Ellen O’Connell and Ania Kritvus;
Part III Background Papers for the Study: Beyond International Law (2007) A. Political Science
Chapter 9 Silence of the Laws? Conceptions of International Relations and International Law in Hobbes, Kant, and Locke Michael Doyle and Geoffrey Carlson;
Chapter 10 War, Crime, and Terrorism: Distinctions and Implications John Mueller;
B. Military and Military History
Chapter 11 Meaning of War General Sir Michael Rose;
Chapter 12 What Is War? Jeremy Black;
Chapter 13 History and War: The Grim Record of the Past Williamson Murray;
C. Journalism
Chapter 14 The Meaning of War Pamela Constable;
Chapter 15 The Semantics of 21st Century Warfare James Gordon Meek;
D. Ethics 209
Chapter 16 Th e Precariousness of Rules Thomas Grassey;
Chapter 17 2Th e Meaning of War: An Ethical Analysis of Sanctions and Humanitarian Intervention Gerard Powers;
Chapter 18 Uganda’s “War in the North”: How Clashing Religious Views Created an Armed Conflict, How Reconciling Them May End It Todd Whitmore;
E. Peace Research
Chapter 19 The Meaning of War John Darby;
Chapter 20 What’s in a War? Insights from a Conflict Data Program Peter Wallensteen;
Part IV The ILA Reports on the Meaning of Armed Conflict in International Law (2008-10)
Chapter 21 Initial Report of the ILA Use of Force Committee on the Definition of Armed Conflict (2008)
Chapter 22 Defining Armed Conflict, The Work of the ILA Committee on the Use of Force (2005-2008) Mary Ellen O’Connell;
Chapter 23 Excerpts from a Memo by the Chair to the Committee on Submitting the Final Report (June 2010)
Chapter 24 The ILA Use of Force Committee’s Final Report on the Definition of Armed Conflict in International Law (August 2010)
Chapter 25 Report on the Adoption of the Committee’s Final Report on the Definition of Armed Conflict (September 2010) Mary Ellen O’Connell;
Postscript; Appendix Al-Aulaqi v. Obama, Complaint ; Al-Aulaqi v. Obama, Reply Memorandum; Exhibit A; Exhibit B; Index.

Readership

All those interested in the problem of armed conflict and, in particular, the proper implementation of wartime law, such as the right to kill without warning, detain without trial, or provide asylum.

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