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lawfare, law of amed conflict, international humanitarian law, drones, remotely-piloted aircraft, RPAs, Goldstone Report


Few concepts in international law are more controversial than lawfare. This essay contends that lawfare is best appreciated in the context of its original meaning as ideologically neutral description of how law might be used in armed conflict. It emphasizes that although law may be manipulated by some belligerents for nefarious purposes, it can still serve to limit human suffering in war. In discussing the current state of the concept of lawfare, the essay reviews several contentious areas, and recognizes the concerns of critics. The paper concludes that lawfare is still a useful term, and is optimized when it is employed consistent with its original purpose of communicating to non-specialists how law might be used as a positive good in modern war as a substitute for traditional arms.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

War (International law), National security--Law and legislation, Human rights in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, Humanitarian law, Asymmetric warfare, Drone aircraft