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  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: August 2012

12 - War Not Crime

Summary

TO BEGIN WITH, I WOULD LIKE TO THANK AMERICAN UNIVERSITY'S WASHINGton College of Law and the International Law Review for putting on this conference. The subject – the Geneva Convention and the Rules of War in the post–9/11 world and in Iraq – could not be more timely and potentially useful. We are at a point now where we have enough experience in the war the terrorists are fighting against us to know how it is being fought by them and needs to be defended against by us. Specifically, we now have a fair idea of how this conflict varies from both traditional wars and normal law enforcement operations – the two familiar structures through which uses of force against civil societies have been customarily dealt with. We need to take the knowledge our experience has given us to establish a new system whose rules are well understood and take account of both the need to protect our citizens and assure that we accurately identify, effectively deter, and appropriately punish those who pose threats to our society or have committed criminal acts.

During the course of the day, I have no doubt the various panels will be exploring the issues implicit in the assignment I have described in detail. In this short keynote address, I will try just to make a few general points that I hope will assist in that work.