Past eventInvitation OnlyResearch Event

Aiding and Assisting: Challenges in Armed Conflict and Counterterrorism

28 April 2016 - 10:30 to 16:45

Chatham House, London


Elizabeth Wilmshurst, Distinguished Fellow, International Law Programme, Chatham House



Under what circumstances will a state be responsible in international law for aiding or assisting another state in an internationally wrongful act? In situations of armed conflict and in carrying out counterterrorism operations, states are sometimes accused of complicity in allegedly unlawful acts, for example in the context of carrying out targeted killing by drone strike or the provision of intelligence.

This meeting will bring together a small group of academics and practitioners to explore the issue of aiding and assisting in the context of armed conflict and counterterrorism. What are the relevant thresholds under Article 16 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on state responsibility, particularly the subjective element of ‘intent’, and how do we apply that in practice? What is the relationship between Article 16 and other rules on aiding and assisting that derive from primary norms, particularly international human rights law? And to what extent is there a duty on assisting states to conduct due diligence before they provide assistance in armed conflict and counterterrorism operations? The meeting will also consider strategies for states to minimize the risks of complicity in other states’ unlawful acts.

The purpose of the meeting will be to inform a report by Chatham House.

The Chatham House Rule

To enable as open a debate as possible, this event will be held under the Chatham House Rule.