Humanitarian and Criminal Law in Contemporary Conflicts

Humanitarian and Criminal Law in Contemporary Conflicts
May 25, 2021

On Thursday, May 20, Perry Center Professor Pat Paterson hosted the second of two webinars on his new book, The Blurred Battlefield: The Perplexing Conflation of Humanitarian and Criminal Law in Contemporary Conflicts (JSOU Press, 2021).

In a presentation before more than 200 online participants, Professor Paterson examined the nature of contemporary warfare and the differences of the rules on the use of force for military and police units. He provided brief summaries of the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), criminal law, and human rights (HR) law and highlighted the differences between the fields of law. Professor Paterson also spoke about how some Latin American countries are developing hybrid doctrines. The book includes lengthy analysis of four Latin American countries: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. In Professor Paterson’s opinion, Colombia has the best example of a hybrid doctrine on the use of force in which the military learn police tactics and, vice versa, the police learn military tactics.

The hour-long webinar concluded with more than 30 minutes of questions and answers. Many of the 200 participants from 21 countries are also struggling with a complex security environment in their own countries in which armed gangs are beyond the capacity of the police and require military intervention in domestic law enforcement operations.