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Fighting at the Legal BoundariesControlling the Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict$
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Kenneth Watkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190457976

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190457976.001.0001

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A Holistic Solution

A Holistic Solution

(p.569) 14 A Holistic Solution
Fighting at the Legal Boundaries

Kenneth Watkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter outlines the holistic, operational law approach in four parts. The chapter begins by establishing that this approach must address conventional conflict, irregular warfare, and criminal activity regardless of how an armed conflict is categorized legally. The second part considers how the recourse to warfare and humanitarian and human rights bodies of law interact in responding to transnational attacks and threats to nationals, including an assessment of boundaries, when armed conflict commences, and criteria for separating an armed conflict from situations requiring law enforcement. The analysis considers the application of a human rights–based response as a matter of law, as State policy, or as a discretionary decision by the chain of command. The third part outlines the decision-making process summarized in a “decision tree” analysis in Appendix I. Finally, the analysis highlights the link between policing and “normalcy” in providing an important indicator of success during contemporary conflict.

Keywords:   conduct of hostilities, international law, armed conflict, human rights, use of force, terrorism, State self-defense, insurgents and insurrection, humanitarian law

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