Terrorism, Armed Conflict, and the Dilemmas of Enforcing International Law

5 April 2016 (Tue), 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
At Saga Private Dining Hall

Professor Sinja Graf from the Global Studies Programme in the Department of Political Science at the National University of Singapore will give a talk on her research on terrorism and political violence. Transnational armed terrorist activities are at odds with several international legal norms. There are thus good grounds to argue that military force against terrorist networks is justified in international relations. However, such arguments for the legitimacy of military force against groups engaged in a non‐ international armed conflict do not solve the dilemmas that necessarily attend the military enforcement of international legal norms. Such dilemmas include a range of unintended consequences of air warfare, such as ‘collateral damage’, intensifying mass atrocities on the ground due to the ‘fog of war’, and long‐term destabilization of regions. Given that the enforcement of international legal norms remains intimately connected to violent political practices, the question arises on what terms we can assess the legitimacy of political violence in international relations.