Welcome to the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict

The Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC) is an interdisciplinary research programme that aims to strengthen law, norms and institutions to restrain, regulate and prevent armed conflict. Drawing on the disciplines of philosophy, law and international relations, ELAC seeks to develop a more sophisticated framework of rules and stronger forms of international authority relating to armed conflict. Research activity addresses all aspects of armed conflict, including the recourse to war, the conduct of war, and post-conflict governance, transition and reconstruction.

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Upcoming Events

The Prospects of Forcible Alternatives to War in the Israel-Gaza Conflict
16 October 2014
, 3-5pm
St Peter's College, Dorfman Centre
Dr Eliav Lieblich from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya will talk about the limitations of large-scale use of collective violence (war) as a tool for advancing a long-term calm between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza. His lecture will be followed by a comment of Professor Dire Tladi from the University of Pretoria and a discussion with the audience.

Humanitarian Access in 21st Century Armed Conflict: Legal and Practical Lessons from Syria
17 October 2014, 1-2.30pm
Manor Road Building, Seminar Room G
As the first event this year in the seminar series “Axis of Protection: Human Rights in International Law” Emanuela Gillard will talk about violations of and controversies around the international law on humanitarian access. She will reflect in particular on the lessons and implications of the fact that in the ongoing civil war in Syria non-governmental and governmental organisations have systematically been prevented from delivering aid to the displaced population.

SPECIAL EVENT: Recent developments at the United Nations Human Rights Council on the responsibilities of corporations towards human rights
24 October 2014, University of Oxford, Location TBC
Lawyers and corporate advisors, civil society, international practitioners, treaty
negotiators, business representatives and others will gather at Oxford University to discuss these recent developments.
Please get in touch with Vuyelwa Kuuya to register:

Book Launch: Legitimate Targets? Social Construction, International Law and US Bombing
13 November 2014
, 4.30-6.30pm
Manor Road Building, Seminar Room C
Dr Janina Dill will introduce her book recently published by Cambridge University Press as part of the series Cambridge Studies in International relations. Her talk will be followed by two comments of Dr Adam Bower and Dr Thomas Simpson and a discussion in the audience.
Book summary: Based on an innovative theory of international law, Janina Dill’s book investigates the effectiveness of international humanitarian law (IHL) in regulating the conduct of warfare. Through a comprehensive examination of the IHL defining a legitimate target of attack, Dill reveals a controversy among legal and military professionals about the ‘logic’ according to which belligerents ought to balance humanitarian and military imperatives: the logics of sufficiency or efficiency. Law prescribes the former, but increased recourse to international law in US air warfare has led to targeting in accordance with the logic of efficiency. The logic of sufficiency is morally less problematic, yet neither logic satisfies contemporary expectations of effective IHL or legitimate warfare. Those expectations demand that hostilities follow a logic of liability, which proves impracticable. This book proposes changes to international law, but concludes that according to widely shared normative beliefs, on the twenty-first-century battlefield there are no truly legitimate targets


Hugo Slim gives keynote lecture on humanitarian ethics at Quinnipiac University

Emanuela Gillard on the Law regulating cross-border relief operations, in the International Review of the Red Cross

Series of international law blogs on International Law and Armed Conflict through the month of September

Report on the Second Annual Transtlantic Workshop on International Law and Armed Conflict now available.

Hugo Slim, Lorenzo Trombetta and Anais Resseguier write UN report on the political and humanitarian context of the Syrian Crisis

Project on the Law Relating to Humanitarian Relief Operations in Armed Conflict by ELAC, the Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations (HRFG), and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Janina Dill on "Israel’s Use of Law and Warnings in Gaza" in Opinio Juris

Transatlantic Workshop on International Law and Armed Conflict, co-convened by the ICRC, ELAC and the Human Rights Programme

Hugo Slim on the protection of civilians in Gaza on Radio 4's Moral Maze

Hugo Slim and Alex Bellamy co-edit a special issue of the journal Global Responsibility to Protect on R2P and Humanitarian Action

Hugo Slim and Anais Resseguier contribute to Australian Government evaluation of the 2011 Horn of Africa Crisis.

David Rodin will give a lecture on "Ethics and War" at the Carnegie Council Symposium in Sarajevo on June 27.

Hugo Slim chairs special meeting on business, violence and armed conflict at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London