Northwestern Events Calendar


MENA Monday. International Humanitarian Law Versus the Counter-Terrorism War Paradigm: Analyzing the US “War on Terror” — Lisa Hajjar

When: Monday, May 22, 2017
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CT

Where: Scott Hall, Guild Lounge, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Danny Postel  

Group: Middle East and North African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings


The US “war on terror” continues under a third administration, with no end in sight. From official authorization of, first, torture, then targeted killing (mainly by means of drone warfare), the policies and practices authorized for the military and the CIA have been deemed “legal” by successive administrations, despite the fact that they contravene the norms and rules of international humanitarian law (IHL).

In this talk, Lisa Hajjar will explain the “gap” between what IHL requires (i.e., the rules of proportionality, distinction, necessity, and human treatment) and what the United States does, and then consider how the global power of the United States affects interpretations of what is legal in war. The counter-terrorism war paradigm, which is constructed and defended as an alternative to the IHL paradigm, poses a serious threat to the international consensus on the basics of humanitarianism.

Lisa Hajjar is a professor of sociology at the University of California – Santa Barbara. Her publications include Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza (University of California Press, 2005) and Torture: A Sociology of Violence and Human Rights (Routledge 2013). She is currently working on a book tentatively titled The War in Court: The Legal Campaign against US Torture in the “War on Terror.” Her work focuses mainly on issues relating to law and conflict, military courts and occupations, human rights and international law, and torture and targeted killing.

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