Interesting Times for International Humanitarian Law: Challenges from the “War on Terror”

01-07-2003 Article, The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, vol. 27:2, Summer/Fall 2003, by Gabor Rona

Article published in "the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs", vol. 27:2, Summer/Fall 2003

“May you live in interesting times” is reputed to be an old Chinese curse. To call a curse what at first blush appears to be a blessing is to emphasize the risks over the opportunities inherent in living in interesting times. These are, indeed, interesting times for international humanitarian law, otherwise known as the law of armed conflict. Whether history will reward the pessimist or the optimist is, of course, uncertain. Still, there are some indications of how the pressures being brought to bear on humanitarian law by the War on Terror will resolve. The aim of this article is to explore some of those indications and, if it is not too ambitious, to possibly influence the debate.


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