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Book description

Written as the decade-long Syria conflict nears an end, this is the first book-length treatment of how the Syrian war has changed international law. In The Syrian Conflict's Impact on International Law, the authors explain the history of the current conflict in Syria and discuss the principles and process of customary international law formation and the phenomenon of accelerated formation of customary international law known as Grotian Moments. They then explore specific examples, including how use of force against ISIS in Syria has changed the law of self-defense against non-state actors, how the allied airstrikes in response to Syria's use of chemical weapons have changed the law of humanitarian intervention, and others. This book seeks to contribute both to understanding the concept of accelerated formation of customary international law and the specific ways the Syria conflict has led to development of new norms and principles in several areas of international law.


‘This book, written by three leading experts, explores the most fundamental legal issues regarding the Syrian crisis and offers interesting insight into whether international law has developed and adapted in response to such conflicts and crises.'

Navi Pillay - former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and judge of the International Criminal Court

‘Like World War II and the Vietnam War, the Syrian conflict is changing international law in fundamental ways. This is the first book to explore those changes comprehensively, while providing broader insights on what they mean to the international legal system.'

David Wippman - President of Hamilton College and former Director of the National Security Council's Office of Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs

‘Loaded with eye-opening insights, from the legality of use of force to accountability for horrific war crimes, award-winning authors Michael Scharf, Milena Sterio, and Paul Williams provide a compelling account of how the Syria conflict has changed international law.'

Richard J. Goldstone - former Justice of the South Africa Constitutional Court and founding Chief Prosecutor of the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals

‘Syria's national uprising in 2011 turned into the greatest humanitarian crisis on the planet, with a half-million dead and more than 11 million driven from their homes as the world watched in silence. In this fascinating book, the authors explain the precedents set by the US in bombing ISIS and Syria's chemical warfare facilities, and describe how the UN General Assembly managed to circumvent a Russian veto in establishing an accountability mechanism for Syrian atrocities.'

Roy Gutman - Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

‘The armed conflict in Syria over this past decade raised numerous difficult questions for international lawyers. Was the allied war against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria consistent with international law? Was the bombing of Syrian chemical weapons facilities? Did countries, notably in Europe, have an obligation to accept Syrian refugees? Can there be accountability for the atrocities that were committed, such as trials in national courts outside Syria? Written by three leading experts who have both academic and practical experience with the Syria crisis, this book seeks to answer those pressing questions, while offering fascinating insights into how international law develops in response to crises in modern times.'

Sean Murphy - Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law at George Washington University Law School, member of the UN International Law Commission, and President of the American Society of International Law

‘Using the Syrian crisis as the focus, this is one of the best books on how international law evolves in response to conflict in recent years. Whether you are a government official or a casual reader with an appetite for understanding current events, this is a book you should read.'

John B. Bellinger, III - former Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State and National Security Council

‘… the book is thought-provoking.’

Robert Volterra Source: Grotiana

'… represents the first notable attempt to fill this gap by considering the impact of the Syrian conflict on International Law in a number of respects … This book is worthy of its place in any contemporary international law library, particularly where a core focus is the use of force.'

Gary Wilson Source: Liverpool Law Review

‘This book is worthy of its place in any contemporary international law library, particularly where a core focus is the use of force.’

Gary Wilson Source: Liverpool Law Review

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