The emerging law of 21st century war
As the threats posed by violent extremism rise worldwide, governments are struggling to respond in ways that are both effective and in conformity with international and domestic laws. Halting terrorist financing, online recruitment and radicalization, and cyberwarfare are just some of the areas that demand a careful balancing of multiple interests including the protection of freedom of speech, religion, privacy and the Internet. Tools employed in more recent warfare such as the use of drones, private security contractors, and controversial detention tactics add further complexity to the delicate tension between protecting security and human rights. The transnational nature of terrorism requires better international cooperation and coordination across multiple disciplines, as well as greater coherence amongst legal regimes.
On April 1, the Foreign Policy program at Brookings and The Hague Institute for Global Justice hosted legal expert Harold Hongju Koh to deliver the Third Annual Justice Stephen Breyer Lecture on International Law, which addresses critical issues of international law, justice, and policy. Koh offered an in-depth discussion about the future of international norms as they relate to cybersecurity and counterterrorism. Ingrid van Engelshoven, deputy mayor of The Hague, and Brookings President Strobe Talbott, delivered brief opening remarks. Following the keynote presentation, Koh and Michèle Coninsx, president of Eurojust, joined a panel discussion moderated by Abi Williams, president of The Hague Institute for Global Justice.
To subscribe or manage your subscriptions to our top event topic lists, please visit our event topics page.
At the end of the day, as we all know thorny national security issues don’t just involve the military; political-military considerations invariably bleed into them. If the senior military’s leadership views are going to be just constrained to military advice … who is thinking about issues from that broader perspective?
President-elect Bolsonaro has embraced tough-on-crime measures that egregiously violate basic human rights and eviscerate the rule of law. Responding to Brazil’s 63,880 homicides in 2017, Bolsonaro calls for increasing protection for police officers who kill alleged criminals and arming citizens. He calls for further militarizing urban policing, reducing the age of criminal liability from 18 to 16, reinstating the death penalty, authorizing torture in interrogations and imprisoning more people... Brazil’s police are already notorious for being one of the world’s deadliest in the use of force. In many favelas, Brazil’s retired and current police officers operate illegal militias that extort and control local communities, murdering those who oppose them and engaging in warfare with Brazil’s highly-violent gangs and in social cleansing. Bolsonaro is simply threatening to turn the rest of the police into state-sanctioned thugs.