New Battlefields, Old Laws


It has become increasingly clear that a re-examination of the policies and laws for the conduct of armed conflict is required. Toward that end, INSCT—working with the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel—has assembled international teams of scholars and practitioners to address the considerable challenges for the future of humanitarian law.


A radio roundtable at NBOL 2014. (L to R) Nathan Sales, Jennifer Daskal, William C. Banks, Laurie Blank, and Daphne Richemond-Barak (at the console), Sept. 10, 2014.

Recent conflicts underscore the shortcomings of international law and policy in responding to asymmetric warfare. The tendencies of terrorists or insurgent groups to operate within civilian communities present significant and unanticipated strategic and tactical challenges for victimized states and citizens.

Neither The Hague Rules, the customary laws of war, nor the post-1949 law of armed conflict and accompanying international humanitarian law, account for non-state groups waging prolonged, “fourth generation” campaigns of terrorism that leave the defending state with little choice but to respond in ways that inflict heavy civilian casualties. The result is that the defending state is often criticized for violating norms that do not accommodate the conflict being waged. At the same time, the defending state lacks adequate guidance in shaping the parameters and details of its response.

NBOL 2014: The Next Steps in Counterterrorism

The 2014 World Summit on Counter-Terrorism—hosted by INSCT Partner the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel—once again convened a New Battlefields, Old Laws (NBOL) symposium, on Sept. 10, 2014. NBOL 2014’s theme was “The Next Steps in Counterterrorism: Adapting to an Evolving Threat and an Expanding Battlefield.” Offering incisive and timely analysis of a pressing security issue, the 2014 symposium created three inter-related products analyzing the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in light of recent developments in asymmetric warfare, counterterrorism, and security in the Middle East.

Oxford Union Debate: “The Future of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”

The motion debated was, “This House believes that the 2001 AUMF should be amended to authorize force against future terrorist threats.” Presiding over the debate was Laurie Blank of the Emory University School of Law. Speaking in favor of the motion was INSCT Faculty Member Professor Nathan Sales of the Syracuse University College of Law. Speaking against was Professor Jennifer Daskal of the American University Washington College of Law.

A Special Roundtable Hosted by Dr. Daphne Richemond-Barak

Dr. Daphne Richemond-Barak of the International Law Desk at ICT hosts a discussion on IDC Radio on the issue on “Adapting to an Evolving Threat and an Expanding Battlefield.” Special guests are INSCT Director Professor William C. Banks; Professor Laurie Blank, Clinical Professor of Law and Director, International Humanitarian Law Clinic at Emory Law School; Professor Jennifer Daskal,  American University Washington College of Law; and INSCT Faculty Member Nathan Sales.

Blog: “Debate on the Future of the 2001 AUMF”

… All that said, both Sales and Daskal agreed that the President should go to Congress to seek new authorization for his planned actions against ISIL. They just disagreed as to what such an authorization ought to look like. Meanwhile, many others have joined the debate on the blogosphere—raising multiple questions about the President’s legal justifications for the strikes …

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NBOL 2014 Schedule

The Next Steps in Counter-Terrorism: Adapting to an Evolving Threat and an Expanding Battlefield

9:30-9:45   Greetings & Introduction
William Banks, Syracuse University College of Law

9:45-11:00   Part I – An Evolving Threat
CHAIR: Daphné Richemond-Barak, Interdisciplinary Center, IDC Herzliya

The View from the United States
Matthew Levitt, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Laurie Blank, Emory University School of Law

The View from Israel
Ronen Cohen, Former Director of the terror desk of the Israeli Military Intelligence directorate, & Central Command and Intelligence Officer
Daphné Richemond-Barak, IDC Herzliya

11:15-12:15   Part II – An Expanding Battlefield
CHAIR: William Banks, Syracuse University College of Law

Contemporary Challenges of Localized Non-International Armed Conflicts
Geoffrey Corn, South Texas College of Law

The Parties v. Geography Debate
Michael Schmitt, U.S. Naval War College

12:30-14:00   Part III – Rethinking the Legal Framework
An Oxford-Union Debate on the Future of the Authorization for Use of Military Force

PRESIDENT: Laurie Blank, Emory University School of Law

MOTION: “This House believes that the 2001 AUMF should be repealed.”

Speaking in favor:
Jennifer Daskal, American University Washington College of Law

Speaking against:
Nathan Sales, Syracuse University College of Law

Scholarship: Critical Contributions to the Study of Asymmetric Warfare

spacer New Battlefields/Old Laws: Critical Debates from the Hague Convention to Asymmetric Warfare
William C. Banks, editor (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011)Recognizing that many of today’s conflicts are low-intensity, asymmetrical wars fought between disparate military forces, Banks’ collection analyzes nonstate armed groups and irregular forces (such as terrorists, insurgent groups, paramilitaries, child soldiers, civilians participating in hostilities, and private military firms) and their challenge to international humanitarian law. Contributions by: Robert P. Barnidge Jr., Geoffrey S. Corn, David M. Crane, Hilly Moodrick-Even Khen, Renée de Nevers, Daniel Reisner, Daphné Richemond-Barak, Gregory Rose, Eric Talbot Jensen, and Corri Zoli.
 spacer Counterinsurgency Law: New Directions in Asymmetric Warfare
William C. Banks, editor (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)In Counterinsurgency Law, William C. Banks and several distinguished contributors explore, from an interdisciplinary legal and policy perspective, the multiple challenges that counterinsurgency operations pose to the rule of international, humanitarian, human rights, criminal, and domestic laws.Contributions by: Robert M. Chesney, Geoffrey S. Corn, Evan J. Criddle, Boaz Ganor, Christopher Jenks, Peter Margulies, Gregory S. McNeal, Daphné Richemond-Barak, Eric Talbot Jensen, and Corri Zoli.

Workshop Series

New Battlefields, Old Laws 2013: The Operationalization of the Law

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