Dehumanising international law or responding to a new reality?: A critical analysis of post -9/11 suggested changes to the Laws of War

Igwe, Chikeziri Sam.   York University (Canada) ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  2009. NR54030.

Abstract (summary)

After the September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda attacks against the United States (9/11), the Bush Administration sought to legitimize its call for changes to the nature of certain legal norms/rules relating to the Laws of War by arguing that the unprecedented nature of the 9/11 attacks necessitate the adoption of extreme and exceptional measures that may not be justifiable under the present norms/rules. It relied on this argument to justify policies like the use of force beyond the acceptable threshold set by international law, the inhumane treatment of detainees, and the targeted killing of suspected terrorists.

The dissertation examines some of the far-reaching revisions of cardinal aspects of the Laws of War: the law of self-defence; the humanitarian law provisions of the Geneva Conventions; as well as some fundamental aspects of international human rights law applicable both during times of "peace" and times of "war." In doing so, the dissertation focuses on some of the specific arguments advanced by prominent advocates of the newness claim to justify the suggested changes to the Laws of War.

The dissertation argues that the suggested changes to the Laws of War are premised on a questionable understanding of the "post-9/11" world as fundamentally new; second, that the suggested changes are based on the framing of a particular understanding of the problem of terrorism as representing international consensus, without duly considering other perspectives; third, that these changes trivialize the security of, and discount the experiences of, many innocent Third World peoples, who are the chief recipients of political violence; and finally, that these suggested changes seek to revise some of the fundamental principles of international law without suggesting credible and coherent alternatives. The dissertation draws attention to the significant dangers inherent in uncritically allowing the kinds of revisions to the Laws of War proposed by President Bush and his allies as effective counter-terrorism measures.

Indexing (details)

International law
0398: Law
0616: International law
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; International law; Laws of War; Post-9/11
Dehumanising international law or responding to a new reality?: A critical analysis of post -9/11 suggested changes to the Laws of War
Igwe, Chikeziri Sam
Number of pages
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 70/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
York University (Canada)
University location
Canada -- Ontario, CA
Source type
Dissertation or Thesis
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL