Using Law to Fight Terror
October 27-29, 2016
Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL)
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Recent challenges in international security posed by two terrorist organizations, Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have highlighted an urgent domestic and foreign policy challenge, namely, how to address the threat posed by violent non-state actors while adhering to the rule of law values that form the core of democratic governance. In view of the seriousness of the security threat these organizations pose, combating violent extremism has become the highest national security priority among the U.S. and its allies in recent years. Yet the legal framework for conducting operations of this magnitude against non-state actors has never been clearly identified. In order for war to be constrained by law, the rules by which all parties engage must be publicly known, clearly articulated, and consistently applied. Legal scholars and policymakers, however, have had difficulty adapting existing legal frameworks, which focus on relations among states, to the new demands on military practice, a problem made worse by the rapidity of the changes within contemporary armed conflict. With the current project, the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL) seeks to sharpen the understanding of policymakers and academics regarding the status of non-state actors under the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), and to contribute to the clarification, articulation, and dissemination of a common legal and ethical framework to guide military and political leaders in asymmetric conflict.
This event is co-sponsored by the Perry World House, the University of Pennsylvania’s new university-wide hub for international activities, the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication, the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Global program, and The Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School.