Actions and Detail Panel
Individualization of War with Professor Jennifer Welsh, European University...
Tue, 21 March 2017, 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM PDT
Join us for an engaging talk and Q&A with Jennifer Welsh, Professor and Chair in International Relations at the European University Institute. Light lunch served at 12:15 pm.
Individual rights and responsibilities are at the centre of today’s international and civil conflicts in a way that they have never been before. This process of ‘individualisation’, which challenges the primacy of the sovereign state, has two main drivers: powerful normative developments related to human rights, which have spawned new kinds of wars and peacekeeping missions and a new class of international crimes; and dramatic technological and strategic developments that empower individuals as military actors, and that enable either the targeting or protection of particular individuals.
This lecture discusses how the individualisation of conflict forces us to confront the status of individuals in three different capacities: 1) as subject to violence but deserving of protection; 2) as liable to attack because of their status as combatants or their responsibility for attacks on others; and 3) as agents who can be held accountable for the perpetration of crimes committed in the course of armed conflict. It also argues that while the human rights norms underpinning individualisation are normatively desirable in themselves, efforts to operationalise protection, liability, and accountability are placing enormous strain on the actors and institutions most actively engaged in armed conflict: the governments and armed forces of states; international security organisations; and humanitarian agencies. This strain is manifest in a series of concrete dilemmas that are confounding contemporary policy-makers and potentially weakening the legitimacy of national, international, and non-governmental institutions.
Bio: Jennifer M. Welsh is Professor and Chair in International Relations at the European University Institute and a Fellow of Somerville College, University of Oxford. She was previously a Professor in International Relations at the University of Oxford, and co-director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict. In 2013, she was appointed by the UN Secretary General to serve as his Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, a position she held until March 2016.