The Ethics of Asymmetric Conflict: A Panel Discussion

Contact: @Oxford_SSV

Just War Theory provides the framework designed to shape or restrain warfare. It is the standard by which military conduct is judged, and which states can claim to have adhered in order to justify their actions on an off the battlefield. Jus ad Bellum, the right to fight, and Jus in Bello, the legitimate way in which war should be fought, denote when and how violence can be perpetrated; to correct a grave and certain suffered wrong, (generally one which impeaches widely agreed human rights), as a last resort, and in a manner that is discriminate, proportionate and effective. But to what extent have the rules of just war become malleable in an asymmetric war context? What are the criteria which determines when just war theory can be superseded? What are the limits of the ‘exceptional’ policy and protocols that can be adopted? And, how should this be monitored or governed? The parallel discussion to this is, of course, is to what extent the ‘guerrilla’, ‘liberation fighter’, or ‘terrorist’, could ever be considered to have the right to fight, or have a legitimate way in which to execute violence.
This panel event brings together scholars with different disciplinary backgrounds and research interests to open and interrogate this debate collectively.

Papers & Speakers:

The Rise or Demise of the Independence Thesis in Guerrilla Warfare/Insurgency Ethics?
Professor Michael Gross (Professor & Head of the School of Political Science, University of Haifa, Israel)

Enemies Known and Unknown: Targeted Killings in America’s Transitional War
Dr Jack McDonald (Teaching fellow, Department of War Studies, King’s College London)

The Asymmetric rule of Asymmetric Warfare
Rachel Kowalski ( DPhil Candidate, History Faculty, The University of Oxford)

Our three panellists will present short research papers before we open the topic for discussion with audience participation with a Q&A format.