Lawmaking Under Pressure – book symposium

About the author(s):

Katharine Fortin

Katharine Fortin is an Associate Professor at Utrecht University where she teaches IHL and IHRL. Before joining Utrecht University, she worked at the ICTY, ICC and Norton Rose Fulbright. She is the author of The Accountability of Armed Groups under Human Rights Law (Oxford University Press, 2017) which won the 2018 Lieber Prize. She has written widely about the framework of law that applies to armed groups in non-international armed conflicts and is one of the editors of the Armed Groups and International Law blog.

Over the coming week, along with Opinio Juris blog, we are delighted to co-host a symposium on Giovanni Mantilla’s latest book, Lawmaking under Pressure: International Humanitarian Law and Internal Armed Conflict.

Scholars and practitioners who will be joining the discussion include: Alonso Gurmendi, Neta Crawford, Kathryn Greenman, Alejandro Chehtman, Verity Robson, Charli Carpenter, Boyd van Dijk, Iris Mueller and Katharine Fortin.

From the publisher:

In Lawmaking under Pressure, Giovanni Mantilla analyzes the origins and development of the international humanitarian treaty rules that now exist to regulate internal armed conflict. Until well into the twentieth century, states allowed atrocious violence as an acceptable product of internal conflict. Why have states created international laws to control internal armed conflict? Why did states compromise their national security by accepting these international humanitarian constraints? Why did they create these rules at improbable moments, as European empires cracked, freedom fighters emerged, and fears of communist rebellion spread? Mantilla explores the global politics and diplomatic dynamics that led to the creation of such laws in 1949 and in the 1970s.

By the 1949 Diplomatic Conference that revised the Geneva Conventions, most countries supported legislation committing states and rebels to humane principles of wartime behavior and to the avoidance of abhorrent atrocities, including torture and the murder of non-combatants. However, for decades, states had long refused to codify similar regulations concerning violence within their own borders. Diplomatic conferences in Geneva twice channeled humanitarian attitudes alongside Cold War and decolonization politics, even compelling reluctant European empires Britain and France to accept them. Lawmaking under Pressure documents the tense politics behind the making of humanitarian laws that have become touchstones of the contemporary international normative order.

Mantilla not only explains the pressures that resulted in constraints on national sovereignty but also uncovers the fascinating international politics of shame, status, and hypocrisy that helped to produce the humanitarian rules now governing internal conflict.

As this is a co-hosted symposium, half of the contributions will be found at Opinio Juris, and the other half at Armed Groups and International Law. Keep an eye on both websites to follow along. We look forward to the discussion!

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