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New Battlefields/Old LawsCritical Debates on Asymmetric Warfare$
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William Banks

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231152358

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231152358.001.0001

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Humanizing Irregular Warfare

Humanizing Irregular Warfare

Framing Compliance for Nonstate Armed Groups at the Intersection of Security and Legal Analyses

(p.190) Nine Humanizing Irregular Warfare
New Battlefields/Old Laws

Corri Zoli

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the role played by lawfare in prompting once compliant states' overreactions and in creating the appearance of violations of international humanitarian law. Combining legal and security analyses, the chapter brings the traditional law of war balance between humanitarian and security values back into new paradigms of warfare. It first shows how new challenges of regulating nonstate armed groups in armed conflicts has eroded the original balance at the core of humanitarian law between states' national security interests and humanitarian priorities to reduce unnecessary suffering for all victims of conflict. It then demonstrates how nonstate armed groups, by adopting an asymmetric strategy calculus that treats compliance with the law as a tactical vulnerability, have succeeded in leveraging compliance in their favor and, in turn, co-opted conventional incentives for increasing compliance. The chapter concludes by proposing a policy approach for enlisting disparate and often recalcitrant armed groups into engagement with the law that targets their asymmetric calculus and maximizes the sources of resilience internal to humanitarian law.

Keywords:   lawfare, international humanitarian law, law of war, nonstate armed groups, armed conflicts, national security, compliance, resilience

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