Home > News and media > News > News archive > 2002 > Human Rights Symposium: The Law of War in the Age of Terror


Human Rights Symposium: The Law of War in the Age of Terror

Thursday 16 May, 2- 5pm
Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE

 A 'war on terrorism' was launched in the aftermath of 11 September. On Thursday 16 May a major symposium at LSE debates two areas of crucial concern in this kind of war, what new rules of warfare apply, and what can impact most, quiet diplomacy or front page news?

The symposium has been organised by the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at LSE, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and BBC World Service radio. The debate, to be broadcast on BBC World Service radio in early June, will be divided into two panel sessions.

Professor Fred Halliday, LSE, will chair the event and Robin Lustig, BBC Radio, will act as moderator.

  • Panel one: In a world of rules and terror
    Panellists: Dr Katerina Dalacoura (Department of International Relations, LSE); Louise Doswald-Beck, International Committee of Jurists (ICJ); Col. Terence Taylor, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)

What purpose do the four Geneva Conventions, presently endorsed by 189 states, now serve? Each of the four Conventions - dealing with wounded on the battlefield, war at sea, prisoners of war and civilians - originated from Holocaust and World War II experiences. In 1977, two additional protocols were added - one dealing with forms and limits in the context of international conflict, the other with internal conflicts. Are these rules still respected and effective?

  • Panel two: Quiet diplomacy or front page news?
    Panellists: Marion Haroff-Tavel, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch USA (HRW); Kenneth Clements, International Alert

Denouncing a person, or group, can sometimes aid justice for the victims of human rights or humanitarian violations by raising public awareness. But does 'naming and shaming' have limits? Can friendly persuasion and confidential activity, as exemplified by ICRC policy, do more for vulnerable people than banner headlines? Is it right, sometimes, not to inform?


The symposium is free and open to all but a place needs to be reserved in advance.
Contact Sharon Shalev, Centre for the Study of Human Rights, LSE, on 020 7955 6532 or email human.rights@lse.ac.uk|


Speakers - short biographies:

Katerina Dalacoura is lecturer in International Relations at LSE. She is an expert in human rights and international relations theory, focusing particularly on the Middle East. Last year she took part in major panel debates at LSE with, among others, James Rubin, Ben Bradshaw MP, Anton le Guardia of The Daily Telegraph, and The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland.

Louise Doswald-Beck is secretary-general of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), since March 2001. She is responsible for recommending policies and planning the programmes of the ICJ, and ensuring their implementation. 

Previously a lecturer in Law at University College, London and an author of numerous works, she joined the ICRC, Geneva, in 1987 as head of the Legal Division, with lead responsibility for the development of ICRC's policy directions regarding international humanitarian law, human rights law, disarmament and arms control law.

During her time there, she was instrumental in lobbying for the creation of the International Criminal Court, through the negotiation of the Rome Statute and in particular, the drafting of the Elements of Crimes and the Rules of Procedure. She has worked hard for the adoption of various instruments of international humanitarian law, including the Ottawa treaty banning anti-personnel landmines and a pre-emptive treaty banning blinding laser weapons.

Fred Halliday is professor of International Relations at LSE. An expert in great power relations, international relations theory and founding director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at LSE, his most recent book, Two Hours That Shook the World (Saqi, 2001), describes the many socio-cultural, religious and political problems that have plagued the Middle East and Central Asia in the last half-century. He is a frequent broadcaster and commentator for national media such as The Observer.

Marion Harroff-Tavel is deputy director of International Law and Communication, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) since 2000. Previously, she was political adviser to the ICRC directorate, and head of the Division for Promotion of International Humanitarian Law, after joining the ICRC as a jurist in 1977.

She studied political science at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva and has a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Medford, USA. She is also author of several articles in the International Review of the Red Cross, l'Annuaire Suisse-Tiers Monde, Relations internationales, and International Affairs, Moscow.

Kenneth Roth is executive director of Human Rights Watch since 1993, previously deputy director from 1987-93. HRW is the largest US-based international human rights organisation. It investigates, reports on, and seeks to curb human rights abuses in some 70 countries. 

Under his directorship, it has nearly tripled in size, while greatly expanding its geographic reach and adding special projects devoted to refugees, children's rights, academic freedom, international justice, AIDS, gay and lesbian rights, and the human rights responsibilities of multinational corporations.

Previously, he was a federal prosecutor for the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington. He has written extensively in publications such as the New York Times and appeared often in the major media, as well as testifying repeatedly before the US Congress. A graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, he was drawn to the human rights cause in part by his father's experience fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938.

Terence Taylor is president and executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies - US (IISS-US), and also assistant director of the IISS in London. He is one of the Institute's leading experts on issues associated with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and their means of delivery.

Previously he was one of the commissioners to the UN Special Commission on Iraq, for which he also conducted missions as a chief inspector, and also a research fellow on the Science Program at the Centre for International Security and Co-operation at Stanford University. He has also carried out consultancy work for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Prior to joining IISS, he worked at UN Headquarters in the Department for Disarmament Affairs and earlier for the UK Ministry of Defence, as a member of the UK negotiating team for Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conferences, the Chemical Weapons Convention and also a member of joint US/UK inspection teams in Russia. Among other publications, he has edited, and substantially written, five editions of the IISS's The Military Balance from 1995 to 2000 (Oxford University Press)

Kenneth Clemments is secretary general of International Alert. Prior to this he was the Vernon and Minnie Lynch Chair of Conflict Resolution at the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, USA, and director of the Institute from 1994-99. His career has been a combination of academic analysis and practice in the areas of peace-building and conflict transformation, including working as head of the Peace Research Centre, Australian National University, and as an advisor to the New Zealand, Australian and British governments on conflict resolution, nuclear disarmament and regional defence and security issues. 

Updated 25 April 2002