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Law and War

Friday 11 April, 7pm
Nash Room, Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London

When is a war a war - and when is it just containment or 'policing of no-fly zones'? When are we justified in declaring war, and how are we bound to conduct the fight?

Gerry Simpson, LSE, Dr Gwyn Prins, LSE, James Gow, King's College London and Rabinder Singh QC, Matrix Chambers, will be debating such issues at the Institute of Contemporary Arts on Friday 11 April.

Increasingly, wars are being fought by coalitions of allies, which makes a common interpretation of the law almost impossible. But is the scrabble for a legal definition of a particular action nothing more than a smoke-screen for advancing self-interest? And if our opponents cheat on the international rules, should we still feel compelled to play by them - or will that just put us at an unfair disadvantage? Can there be a justification, in law, for taking pre-emptive action - or for using nuclear weapons? And how can we call nations like the US to account if they use banned weapons? With the US still intransigent over prisoners in Guantanamo, and armies increasingly dressed in 'civvies', has the notion of prisoner-of-war lost its meaning?

Speakers include:

  • Gerry Simpson, LSE, whose publications include The Law of War Crimes and War and Crime
  • Dr Gwyn Prins, Alliance Research Professor at LSE and senior fellow at the Institute of International Affairs, who affirms both a legal and moral duty to rid Iraq of Saddam
  • Professor James Gow, professor of international peace and security at King's College London and advisor to the government as well as to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
  • Rabinder Singh, QC, of Matrix Chambers, who represented CND in the recent case against the Government about resolution 1441. 

Mary Riddell, a journalist at The Observer, will chair.


This event is open to all but a ticket is required. Tickets cost £6-8. To book a ticket or for more information, call the Institute of Contemporary Arts on 020 7930 3647, or visit www.ica.org.uk|

19 March 2003