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Title: Solving the conundrum between military training, prevention and compliance in international humanitarian law
Author: Bates, Elizabeth Torbe Stubbins
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 0231
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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International humanitarian law (IHL) must be disseminated as widely as possible, and integrated into programmes of military instruction or training. The obligation to train the military in IHL is a laconic norm of prevention: it offers scant guidance, in a branch of international law which lacks transparent oversight and monitoring. Once assumed, a causal relationship between IHL training, prevention and compliance is now in doubt. Deficient military training in IHL has been implicated in the wilful killing of civilians and the torture of detainees; but scholarship has gradually acknowledged the insufficiency of IHL training to prevent violations, while interdisciplinary research suggests that military culture, moral disengagement and discourse about law and enemy forces may be more powerful causal factors for IHL violations than ignorance of the law. There is a conundrum between IHL training, prevention and compliance, which this thesis seeks to solve. There are four contributions. First, via a genealogy of the IHL training obligation and a synthesis of legal and interdisciplinary literature, the thesis builds standards for military training in IHL based on group and individual factors, soldiers' understanding and their willingness to comply. Second, by integrating the training obligation with IHL's other preventive norms, including command responsibility and the duty to disobey unlawful orders, the thesis crafts a theory of prevention in IHL. Third, it offers an adapted compliance theory, drawing on constructivist communities of practice, which acknowledges seven distinctive challenges for compliance in IHL. Fourth, a case study of the British Army's IHL training finds recurrent assertions that the training was taking place or reforms implemented; recurrent patterns of violations and limited transparency; plus a 'legal siege' discourse which resists accountability and risks alienating soldiers from IHL. The most recent, belated reforms provide for comprehensive instruction in IHL, just beginning to connect training, prevention and compliance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral