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Full-Text Articles in Law

Reconsidering Reprisals, Michael A. Newton Jan 2010

Reconsidering Reprisals, Michael A. Newton

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The prohibition on the use of reprisals is widely regarded as one of the most sacrosanct statements of the jus in bello applicable to the conduct of modern hostilities. The textual formulations are stark and subject to no derogations. Supporters of the bright line ban describe it as a vital bulwark against barbarity. In the words of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the prohibition is absolute, despite the fact that the declarations of key states indicate residual ambiguity over the scope of permissible reprisals, particularly in the context of non-international armed conflicts. Reprisals are a recurring feature of …


Illustrating Illegitimate Lawfare, Michael A. Newton Jan 2010

Illustrating Illegitimate Lawfare, Michael A. Newton

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Lawfare that erodes the good faith application of the laws and customs of warfare is illegitimate and untenable. This essay outlines the contours of such illegitimate lawfare and provides current examples to guide practitioners. Clearly addressing the terminological imprecision in current understandings of lawfare, this essay is intended to help prevent further erosion of the corpus of jus in bello. Words matter, particularly when they are charged with legal significance and purport to convey legal rights and obligations. When purported legal “developments” actually undermine respect for the application and enforcement of humanitarian law, they are illegitimate. Although the laws and …