YIHL Vol. 27 (2024) – Call for Papers

Theme: International Humanitarian Law Under Pressure

Ongoing armed conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine have raised unprecedented controversies relating to the application and interpretation of international humanitarian law (IHL). These controversies not only provoke fundamental legal questions, but are central in public discourse surrounding the conflicts. The combination of objective circumstances, the conduct of belligerents, the involvement of third parties and institutions, and intensive public debate all place significant pressure on key notions of IHL. This pressure – sometimes emanating from radical interpretations of the rules of IHL employed by various actors – has exposed fault-lines and boundaries in the understanding of IHL among different interpretive communities.

Controversies have emerged regarding virtually every aspect of IHL. These include questions regarding the notion of military objectives and the nature of “dual-use objects”, proportionality, and precautionary measures; duties to facilitate or provide humanitarian aid, the prohibition on starvation, and the law of siege; the protection of medical facilities and other specially protected objects; evacuations of civilians, the “rule on doubt”, self-distinction, the use of artificial intelligence in the process of targeting, and duties of third parties in relation to alleged violations. These conflicts have also highlighted challenges for the principle of distinction and the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks arising from the use of heavy explosive weaponry in urban warfare. Further challenges concern questions about the effectiveness of IHL rules for groups with specific risks, such as persons with disabilities, or for specially protected objects, such as hospitals or cultural property.

Volume 27 of the Yearbook accordingly seeks to map out and address specific concepts, doctrines, and areas in IHL that are placed under pressure within these ongoing conflicts. By pressure, we mean circumstances, practices, or interpretations that fundamentally challenge the common understanding of a certain rule, concept, or field of IHL, or that cast doubt over its ability to be effective. Such pressure need not have been abusively employed, although it certainly could have been; it could also be a product of the changing landscape of warfare, technology, or the politics of international law. We seek contributions that rigorously analyse – whether from a doctrinal or theoretical standpoint – specific instances of pressure in ongoing armed conflicts, which tell us something about the current state of the field and its challenges ahead.

In sum, Volume 27 offers international humanitarian lawyers the opportunity to address the extraordinary controversies, dilemmas, and challenges that IHL faces in this particular moment, and to do so in a manner that will illuminate and serve the field in the years to come.

Submission Timeline

Interested authors should send an abstract of a maximum of 500 words to the Managing Editor of the Yearbook, James Patrick Sexton (J.Sexton@asser.nl), by 19 June 2024. This abstract should include (i) a working title; (ii) your main research questions and hypotheses; (iii) what gap your analysis/argument would fill in the literature; and, (iv) the provisional structure of your reflections. Authors of selected abstracts will be notified by 3 July 2024, and the deadline for the submission of final papers, which should be no longer than 10,000 words (including footnotes), is 1 November 2024. Submitted articles should conform to the YIHL Author's Guidelines and will be sent for double-blind peer review. The Editorial Board aims to publish Vol. 27 (2024) at the end of 2025. The publisher of the Yearbook is T.M.C. Asser Press, working in partnership with Springer Nature as regards the production and distribution.