Topic: Reflect the topics on International humanitarian law
Possible avenues of exploration:
1. Should the separation thesis between the Jus Ad bellum (right to go to war) and Jus in Bello (IHL rights in war) be maintained?
2. How should one assess the impact of the ‘martens clause’ in the interpretation of the IHL?
3. Does the principle of distinction serve humanitarian and/or military goals in armed conflict? Or are there better alternatives?
4. New Weaponry and IHL: Does Non-lethal Weaponry Comply with IHL?
5. The rules of distinction require that a key separation be made between a wealthy civilian financier of the war effort and the young conscript soldier. Attacks are not permitted on the former but are permitted on the latter. Does this achieve the right balance in modern warfare and why/why not?
6. The law relating to assessing proportionality relies upon evaluating dissimilar considerations – does this advance humanitarian and/or military goals. What reforms, if any, would you suggest?
7. Does modern IHL invite non-state actors, who cannot possibly win (in the conventional sense) in an armed conflict with modern military forces, disincentive to comply with its requirements? If so, what reforms would you suggest? Or if not, what factors inform your answer?
8. Should the law relating to proportionality and the obligation to take all feasible precautionary measures oblige countries to use precision guided missiles/munitions regardless of their costs and availability within an immediate area of operations?
9. The ICJ determined that nuclear weapons were scarcely reconcilable with principles underpinning IHL, yet refused to declare that they were unlawful in all circumstances. What is your view of the legality of nuclear weapons under the tenets of IHL and how do you reconcile this with the ICJ’s decision in the Nuclear weapons case?
10. How does IHL and International Human Rights Law (IHRL) intersect? Do all IHRL rights apply? Should they? How useful is the lex specialis rule in this area? What should be the appropriate way IHL and IHRL apply to a battle space/area of occupation?
11. Is the current framework of IHL sufficient to deal with cyber warfare?
12. On the whole, do you believe that IHL has been a positive force in ameliorating violence in armed conflict? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this body of law?