Mary Ellen O’Connell - Surviving Syria: The Enduring Prohibition on the Use of Force
On 14 April 2018, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States attacked Syria with over 100 missiles. The attack followed an alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against its opponents in the long-running civil war.
Only the UK issued a legal justification for the attack, claiming it was lawful on an exceptional basis as "humanitarian intervention".
The prohibition on the use of force, however, is a peremptory norm, not subject to change through the usual legal methods of legislation and custom. The prohibition can only change in one direction: toward a wider scope, prohibiting more violent conduct, not less.
Our speaker - Mary Ellen O’Connell - is the Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame.
She is also Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution in the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.
Currently she is a Fulbright visiting researcher at the Norwegian Nobel Institute where she is investigating the presumption of peace in international law.
Professor O’Connell holds a BA from Northwestern University in history; an MSc in international relations from LSE; a JD from Columbia University, and an LLB and PhD in international law from the University of Cambridge.
Her focus is on international law and the use of force, legal theory, and international disputes resolution. She is the author of The Power and Purpose of International Law, among many other publications and is at work on a new book, The Art of Law in the International Community.