The subject of hybrid warfare – a strategy which blends conventional and irregular means of warfare – has attracted considerable attention in recent years. While the concept and its practical implications remain the subject of debate, it is clear that legal considerations and arguments play an important element of hybrid conflict. However, so far the legal aspects of hybrid warfare have received only limited attention. To address this gap, I had the pleasure of convening an expert workshop at the Strategy and Security Institute of the University of Exetetr in collaboration with the NATO Office of Legal Affairs and the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. The workshop brought together senior legal advisors and experts from across the UK and NATO in an effort to deepen our understanding of the subject and set the direction for future work. I intend to take forward some of this work in the context of a research project on the legal aspects of hybrid warfare.
Led by Professor Noëlle Quénivet (UWE Bristol) and Dr Aurel Sari (University of Exeter), the purpose of the present project aims to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the challenges posed by international human rights law and its real and perceived impact on military operations. The work is funded by the British Academy and will involve a series of workshops and other activities over two years.
In 2011, the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War launched an international research project designed to produce a Manual of the International Law in Peace Operations. The Manual is intended to provide for the first time an authoritative exposé and critical assessment of the law applicable to the planning and conduct of peace operations. It will consist of black letter rules and an accompanying commentary, offering a detailed guide to areas of international law specifically relevant to the conduct of peace operations. The project is inspired by the 1994 San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflict at Sea, the 2006 San Remo Manual on the Law of Non-International Armed Conflict and the 2010 HPCR Manual on the International Law Applicable to Air and Missile Warfare. It will aim at staff personnel, senior level commanders and legal advisors, alongside academics. The Manual will be published by a leading academic press in English to enable it to reach the widest possible readership. Translation of the black letter rules into one or more other UN languages will be envisaged after publication of the original English version. I am contributing to the management of this project as a member of the Project Management Team as well as to the research as a member of the Group of Experts drafting the black letter rules.
I am currently working on the legal nature and limits of the European Union's competence in the field of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. I have written up some of my thoughts in this paper; a more comprehensive article will follow at a later date. One of the aims of the Lisbon Treaty was to spell out the division of competences between the EU and its Member States in more precise terms. The Treaty has implemented this aim by distinguishing the Union's competence in foreign policy matters from its competence in other areas. It is widely accepted in the literature that this distinction is meant to reflect the special character of the CFSP. However, treating the EU's competence in CFSP as sui generis is not without its share of problems. In my paper, I suggest that European foreign policy cooperation has developed along two separate tracks since the early 1970s: institutionalization and legalization. This twin-track approach has enabled the Member States to gradually extend their cooperation in foreign policy and security matters without delimiting the Union’s corresponding competence in this area in precise terms. The paper argues that in fact it is only as a result of the treaty reform process launched in 2001 that the question of Union competence over the CFSP has become a legal and political problem. It suggests that the solution adopted by the Lisbon Treaty fails to clarify what exactly the distinguishing feature of CFSP competence is. This is regrettable, because it could potentially open up a role for the European Courts to accelerate the legalization of the CFSP and lead to the kind of creeping competence that the reform process was meant to avoid. More generally, it also raises the question whether such a development could call into question the independence of the Member States and thus their continued Statehood. The answer lies partly in a more precise delimitation of powers between the Union and the Member States in this area. My paper attempts to provide such a delimitation by relying on concepts developed in international relations and legal scholarship. I'm presenting these ideas at various conferences and workshops during 2011.