​Bohrer, Ziv; Janina Dill & Helen Duffy (2020) Law Applicable to Armed Conflict. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 288 pp.

​ISBN: 978-1-108-72298-8

Matthew Evangelista

Cornell University

Read more about this book: www.cambridge.org

What laws govern armed conflict? For some time now, legal scholars and practitioners have argued whether International Humanitarian Law (IHL), of which the Geneva Conventions form a part, should be supplemented or superseded by International Human Rights Law (IHRL). Disagreements are rife, including over basic definitional questions about types of armed conflict and whether IHRL should be limited to peacetime within particular countries or can be extended extraterritorially during times of war. This volume, the second of the Max Planck Trialogues on the Law of Peace and War, is less a conversation among authors than a compilation of three distinct, highly sophisticated and original analyses of the relative merits of applying one set of laws or the other. Helen Duffy, a legal scholar and practitioner of 'strategic litigation', argues that IHL and IHRL are compatible and that, where gaps emerge in the coverage of IHL owing to new challenges such as transnational terrorism, human-rights norms should fill in. She cites the jurisprudence of human-rights courts to support her case. With convincing historical evidence, Ziv Bohrer disagrees that current challenges constitute anything genuinely new and argues for 'adaptation' by analogy from existing IHL. Janina Dill employs her skills as a moral philosopher to prescribe a given body of law to particular types of conflict, depending on which serves better 'to preserve individual rights or to prevent their violation'. The essays, oriented toward specialists, could each stand alone as a monograph, as the authors barely address each other directly. It is left to series editors Anne Peters and Christian Marxson to link the arguments in an excellent summary chapter.