Programme Paper

Dr Louise ArimatsuFormer Associate Fellow, International Security
Mohbuba ChoudhurySenior Protection Associate, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, London

This paper, based on discussions at a workshop held in March 2013, considers what law applied to the situations of violence in respect of Syria, Yemen and Libya during 2010–2013.

Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan addresses the assembly on the opening day of the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on 25 February 2013, Geneva, Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan addresses the assembly on the opening day of the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on 25 February 2013, Geneva, Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.

On 13–14 March 2013 a two-day workshop was held at Chatham House to consider what law applied to the situations of violence in respect of Syria, Yemen and Libya during the period 2010–2013. These three case studies were chosen because each appeared to raise specific legal questions meriting examination. This paper is based on the discussions at the workshop, and consequently the commentary reflects events at that time.

Three country experts were invited to participate in the workshop to:
  • Help the lawyers attending the workshop reach a better understanding of the history of the violence in each of the countries;
  • Provide an insight into the prevailing situation on the ground; and
  • Identify and correct any misconceptions and/or misinformation.
This paper first outlines the legal framework that informed the trajectory and content of questions put by the lawyers to the country experts. This is followed by summaries of the respective sessions based on the experts’ presentations, the exchanges that followed and the content of the briefing packs provided by the organizers. The final section sets out the main legal questions that emerged during the workshop which merit further work.

Project: Classification of Conflicts