Harold Koh on Libya: Is Military Action Justified?

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Harold Koh on Libya: Is Military Action Justified?
American Society of International Law - The Ritz-Carlton
Recent uprisings in Middle Eastern and North African states have raised difficult questions for international law and policy. Whereas President Mubarak in Egypt ceded power relatively peacefully, Colonel Qhadafi has used military force against Libyan civilians. What are the rights and obligations under international law for foreign states and international organizations to intervene diplomatically, economically and even militarily in such uprisings? When deciding whether and how to intervene, how should officials balance potentially competing considerations, including maintaining peace and security, safeguarding economic stability, and promoting democracy? Before, during and after a revolution, what role is there for aid and other civilian assistance, either alongside or in lieu of military intervention?Moderator:MONICA HAKIMIUniversity of Michigan School of LawSpeakers:

HAROLD KOH
Legal Adviser, Department of State

HUSSEIN HASSOUNALeague of Arab StatesMARY ELLEN O'CONNELLNotre Dame University School of LawNANCY LINDBORGU.S. Agency for International DevelopmentInternational law, and the world in which it operates, are increasingly both harmonious and dissonant. The Society’s Annual Meeting in 2011 will focus on the evolution of international law in the context of this paradox.The paradox of simultaneous segmentation and seamlessness raises important questions. Most broadly, when should international law be segmented, and when should it be seamless? What are the mechanisms for deciding this question, and what are the values that inform those decisions? What do these trends say about international law as a coherent system? To what extent are certain groups and their viewpoints excluded or ignored? What does this say about who the influential players within the international legal system are, and how that influence is exercised? What does the existence of competing conceptions of international law itself mean for ASIL's constituents, including judges deciding international issues, practitioners seeking to persuade courts and craft international policy, and scholars seeking to understand and propose solutions to global problems?Society members are uniquely positioned to tackle these questions with their diverse perspectives, experiences, and areas of expertise, and their unifying commitment to investigating the limits and possibilities of international law. We look forward to an exciting and dynamic meeting that will examine such trends, and their implications for international law and legal institutions in the 21st century.

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