Military campaigns against overseas armed groups have been the subject of enormous controversy since September 11, 2001, particularly over the use of drone strikes and the detention of alleged terrorists. Debate has focused largely on whether an armed conflict exists between the state and the group whose members it targets, and how far that conflict extends. Surprisingly, however, there has been little attention paid to the question of how far the use of force against terrorist groups is justified in response to the threat they pose.

In this talk, Anthony Dworkin will present an alternative way of thinking about the legal and normative framework for military action against terrorists - one based on the justification for the resort to force rather than the rules on the conduct of hostilities. The talk will look at the role of human rights law in determining the justification for the use of force against non-state groups. It will call for a rethinking of the relationship between human rights and the laws of war, and discuss the implications for when states can kill or detain members of terrorist groups overseas.

Anthony Dworkin is a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, leading the organisation's work in the areas of human rights, democracy and justice. He is also a visiting lecturer at the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po. He has published several papers on European and US counter-terrorist campaigns, most recently "Europe's New Counter-Terror Wars" (ECFR, 2017). This talk is based on a forthcoming article in International Law Studies. 

The event, which is organized in collaboration with the Oxford Institute for Ethics Law and Armed Conflict will take place at Mansfield College, in the Gilly Leventis Seminar Room, within the new Hands Building (shown on the map as Love Lane building). Please report to the Lodge on arrival and ask for directions.