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Centre for Law and Conflict

When the Enemy Is Us: Protection of Persons in Militias in Time of Civil War

Diane Marie Amann

Date: 23 May 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 23 May 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College BuildingsRoom: KLT

Type of Event: Talk


"We have met the enemy, and he is us." That old saw carries new meaning in the context of today's wars, conflicts in which one or more rebel groups do battle among themselves as well as against the army of the state. They also may do violence closer to home: members of armed groups may impress captives into active duty, exact punishments beyond the bounds of permissible discipline, and commit sexual abuse within their own ranks. Accounts of such violence surface not only in mainstream media and popular culture, but also in the courtroom. The first war crimes prosecution before the International Criminal Court thus endeavored to hold a rebel leader responsible for whippings, canings, rapes, and other violence within his own militia. This talk explores the extent to which international norms apply to violence committed within nonstate armed groups during civil wars. It concludes that even when the enemy is us, he may be held accountable under entrenched norms of international humanitarian law.

Diane Marie Amann holds the Emily and Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law at the University of Georgia School of Law and is the Special Adviser on Children in Armed Conflict to the Office of the ICC Prosecutor.

Organiser: Catherine Jenkins and Kevin Jon Heller