SOAS University of London

School of Law

Elizabeth Stubbins Bates

BA (OXFORD) LL.M. (HARVARD) FHEA
  • Overview
  • Research

Overview

Elizabeth Stubbins Bates
Name:
Ms Elizabeth Stubbins Bates
Email address:
Thesis title:
Solving the Conundrum between Military Training, Prevention and Compliance in International Humanitarian Law
Year of Study:
4
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

International humanitarian law (IHL) must be disseminated as widely as possible, and integrated into programmes of military instruction or training. The obligation to train the military in IHL is a laconic norm of prevention: it offers scant guidance, in a branch of international law which lacks transparent oversight and monitoring. Once assumed, a causal relationship between IHL training, prevention and compliance is now in doubt. Deficient military training in IHL has been implicated in the wilful killing of civilians and the torture of detainees; but scholarship has gradually acknowledged the insufficiency of IHL training to prevent violations, while interdisciplinary research suggests that military culture, moral disengagement and discourse about law and enemy forces may be more powerful causal factors for IHL violations than ignorance of the law. There is a conundrum between IHL training, prevention and compliance, which this thesis seeks to solve.

There are four contributions. First, via a genealogy of the IHL training obligation and a synthesis of legal and interdisciplinary literature, the thesis builds standards for military training in IHL based on group and individual factors, soldiers’ understanding and their willingness to comply. Second, by integrating the training obligation with IHL’s other preventive norms, including command responsibility and the duty to disobey unlawful orders, the thesis crafts a theory of prevention in IHL. Third, it offers an adapted compliance theory, drawing on constructivist communities of practice, which acknowledges seven distinctive challenges for compliance in IHL. Fourth, a case study of the British Army’s IHL training finds recurrent assertions that the training was taking place or reforms implemented; recurrent patterns of violations and limited transparency; plus a ‘legal siege’ discourse which resists accountability and risks alienating soldiers from IHL. The most recent, belated reforms provide for comprehensive instruction in IHL, just beginning to connect training, prevention and compliance.

Publications

Journal Article

‘Towards Effective Military Training in International Humanitarian Law’ (2014) 96 International Review of the Red Cross 795

Review Essay

‘Sophisticated Constructivism in Human Rights Compliance Theory. Review of Ryan Goodman and Derek Jinks, Socializing States: Promoting Human Rights Through International Law; Courtney Hillebrecht, Domestic Politics and International Human Rights Tribunals: The Problem of Compliance; Thomas Risse, Stephen C. Ropp and Kathryn Sikkink, The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance.’ Eur J Int Law (2014) 25 (4): 1169-1182.doi: 10.1093/ejil/chu084

Impact

(co-authored with Lutz Oette) ‘The Government’s Proposed Derogation from the ECHR: Written Evidence Submitted to the Joint Committee on Human Rights’’ (Centre for Human Rights Law, SOAS, University of London 2017)

Previous Publications
Book
Terrorism and International Law: Accountability, Remedies and Reform – A Report of the International Bar Association Task Force on Terrorism, edited by an IBA Task Force of Justice Richard Goldstone, HHJ Eugene Cotran, Gijs de Vries, Julia A. Hall, Juan Mendez, Javaid Rehman (Oxford University Press, 2011); DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199589180.001.0001

Conference Proceedings

‘Interpretive Complexity and the International Humanitarian Law Principle of Proportionality’, 108 (2014) Proceedings of the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting 2014  (fact patterns for panel discussion)

‘Law of Warcraft: New Approaches to Generating Respect for the Law: Introductory Remarks by Elizabeth Stubbins Bates’ ) 108 (2014) Proceedings of the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting 275. doi: 10.5305/procannmeetasil.108.2015.0275

 ‘From Assertion to Solid Methodology in Customary International Human Rights Law’, 103 Proceedings of the American Society of International Law Annual Meeting 2009

Case Reports and Short Notes

‘Introductory Note to Hassan v. United Kingdom (European Court of Human Rights) 54 (1) (2015) International Legal Materials 83;

‘Introductory Note to Margus v. Croatia (European Court of Human Rights)’ International Legal Materials 53(5) (2014) 751;

‘Introductory Note to the International Criminal Court Appeals Chamber, Prosecutor v. Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali, 51(1) (2012)  International Legal Materials 17.

Reports and Policy Briefings
(co-authored with Sarah Williams and Matthew Cross) ‘Implementation of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law in the United Kingdom: Study Commissioned by the European Commission as part of the ATLAS Project’, (ATLAS Project, 2009);

‘Occupation, armed conflict and the legal aspects of the relationship between Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip: A resource for practitioners’ (HPCR Policy Brief, 2008);

‘From Legal Theory to Policy Tools: International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory’ (HPCR Policy Brief, 2008);

(co-authored with Ari Bassin) ‘Civilian Participation in Hostilities’, (HPCR Policy Brief, 2008);

(co-authored with Chia Lehnhardt) ‘Private Military and Security Companies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: The International Law Framework’ (HPCR Policy Brief, 2008).

Conferences

‘Laconic Norms of Prevention in International Humanitarian Law’ University of Nottingham Security Group (invited talk), 9 November 2015.

‘Solving the Conundrum between Training and Compliance in International Humanitarian Law’, Sociological Inquiries into International Law II, University of Toronto, 9-10 October 2015. 

‘The Neglected Architecture of Justice in International Humanitarian Law’, International Law Association British Branch conference, 29-30 May 2015.

‘Epistemic Injustice in the Al-Sweady Public Inquiry’ SOAS School of Law PhD Colloquium, 21 May 2015.

‘Is Dissemination Enough? The Evolution of the Obligation to Train the Armed Forces in International Humanitarian Law’, International Society of Military Law and the Laws of War British Branch, invited talk, 15 May 2015.

‘Hegemonic Masculinities and UK State Practice in Interrogation in Iraq, University of Ulster Symposium on Occupation, Transitional Justice and Gender, 8 May 2015. 

‘Silence and Meta-Narrative in the Baha Mousa and Al-Sweady Public Inquiries’, UCL Postgraduate and Early Careers Conference, 3 November 2014.

‘Towards Effective Military Training in International Humanitarian Law’ University of Manchester School of Law Postgraduate Research Masterclass, 15 October 2014.

‘Law of Warcraft: New Approaches to Generating Respect for the Law’ (moderator), American Society of International Law Annual Meeting and International Law Association Biennial Meeting, 11 April 2014. 

‘Interpretive Complexity and the International Humanitarian Law Principle of Proportionality’, (co-organised panel and wrote fact patterns for discussion) American Society of International Law Annual Meeting and International Law Association Biennial Meeting, 10 April 2014.

‘Training Military Personnel in International Humanitarian Law: What Works to Prevent Atrocities in Armed Conflict?’, SOAS School of Law PhD Colloquium, 22 January 2014.

‘Training Troops in International Humanitarian Law: New Thoughts on Compliance Theory’, Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) Annual Meeting, University of Edinburgh, UK, 5 September 2013.

‘Is Dissemination Sufficient to Promote Compliance with International Humanitarian Law?’, Opinio Juris Emerging Voices Symposium, 13 August 2013.

‘Testing the Effectiveness of the British Army’s Training in International Humanitarian Law’, American Society of International Law (ASIL) 2nd Research Forum, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 20-21 October 2012.

‘From Assertion to Solid Methodology in Customary International Human Rights Law’ American Society of International Law Annual Meeting, Research Showcase (Poster Session), 27 March 2009.

Affiliations

American Society of International Law,
British Institute of International and Comparative Law,
European Society of International Law,
International Law Association (Associate Member),
Higher Education Academy (Fellow),
International Society of Military Law and the Laws of War,
Society of Legal Scholars.

Research

  • International Humanitarian Law
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Jurisprudence/International Legal Theory
  • Compliance Theory
  • Empirical Approaches to International Law