What international law corpus applies to border-crossing fights between non-State and State forces (transnational conflicts): peacetime-general international law, the Law of International Armed Conflict, the Law of Non-International Armed Conflict, or a new wartime international law altogether? This issue is widely disputed, because transnational conflicts fail to neatly fit into any recognised legal category of collective violence. The ‘goofiness’ of transnational conflicts is commonly attributed to their novelty. But, nearly two decades already passed since 9/11 (the event marking their rise) without reaching an accepted classification. This classification dispute is not alone. Since the early 2000s, international lawyers have been perpetually debating numerous war-related classifications. Transnational conflicts are considered a primary cause for the present classification crisis: wars of a new kind that is eroding the longstanding distinctions of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

The talk questions the historical accuracy of the accepted assumption that the attributes of transnational conflicts are novel and of the related premise that IHL regulation of transnational conflicts is novel. The talk suggests an alternative explanation for the current strong sense of a classification crisis.


Dr. Ziv Bohrer is an assistant professor at Bar-Ilan University, Faculty of Law. His main areas of interest are International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law. He is currently researching the long (forgotten) pre-WWII history of International Criminal Law.

Prior to that he was a Fulbright fellow and a Visiting Research Scholar at the University of Michigan (2011-12), and a Research Fellow at the Sacher Institute Sacher Institute for Legislative Research and Comparative Law (2012-13).

Ziv received his Ph.D. (2011) and LL.M. (2007) from Tel-Aviv University-Faculty of Law, magna cum laude and his LL.B and B.A. (in psychology) from Haifa University. Ziv teaches: Public International Law, International Criminal Law, International Humanitarian law (Law of Armed Conflict), Justification for Punishment in International Criminal Law (seminar).

The PIL Discussion Group hosts a weekly speaker event and light lunch and is a key focal point for PIL@Oxford. Topics involve contemporary and challenging issues in international law. Speakers include distinguished international law practitioners, academics, and legal advisers from around the world.
The group typically meets each Thursday during Oxford terms in The Old Library, All Souls College, with lunch commencing at 12:30. The speaker will commence at 12:45 and speak for about forty minutes, allowing about twenty five minutes for questions and discussion. The meeting should conclude before 2:00. Practitioners, academics and students from within and outside the University of Oxford are all welcome. No RSVP is necessary. Join the PIL Email List to receive information about the PIL Discussion Group meetings, as well as other PIL@Oxford news.
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Convenors of the Oxford Public International Law Discussion Group are Talita de Souza Dias and Daniel Kaasik.
The discussion group's meetings are part of the programme of the British Branch of the International Law Association and are supported by the Law Faculty and Oxford University Press. 
*Co-organised with the Oxford Institute for Ethics Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC)