10 - 11 January 2013
  • Starts at: 09:30h
  • Fee: See below
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Organiser: The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague and the T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
  • Email:

The Boundaries of the Battlefield:
A Critical Look at the Legal Paradigms and Rules in Countering Terrorism

10-11 January 2013
T.M.C. Asser Instituut, The Hague
The T.M.C. Asser Instituut and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague, in cooperation with the International Humanitarian and Criminal Law Platform, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the Municipality of The Hague and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will host a symposium with the aim of discussing the contours of various approaches states take against non-state actors with the goal of countering terrorism. Specifically, the conference will address issues related to uses of force and how these may affect and define the geographic and temporal scope and limitations of the laws of armed conflict in relation to counterterrorism. Besides this main theme, which operates within the armed conflict paradigm, this conference will also discuss and assess the law-enforcement paradigm.
The two-day event will take place a little more than ten years after the first CIA drone strike in Yemen was carried out against an alleged Al-Qaeda operative suspected of being the mastermind behind the 2000 U.S.S. Cole Bombing. In the so-called “global war on terror,” this was the first of many drone strikes by the United States, one of the various counterterrorism strategies employed by the US in its fight against Al-Qaeda and associated forces. Ten years later, these strikes are still occurring as part of the US’ strategy in Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan and beyond. Law enforcement mechanisms, such as intelligence gathering, arrest, detention and judicial proceedings have been employed by various states in order to combat terrorism as well.
With these facts in mind, questions about the scope of the pertinent legal framework arise.
Questions also arise about the sufficiency of the current international legal system for addressing counterterrorism strategies, both within and outside of armed conflict. International humanitarian law plays a large part of this regulatory framework and the law enforcement paradigm, encapsulating many principles of international human rights law, also occupies a substantial place in this regulation. However, the precise roles of these areas of law are becoming more and more fragmented as the international community searches for a comprehensive way to deal with cross-border terrorist threats. With the US response to the attacks of 9/11 and the employment of an armed conflict paradigm against Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces as the starting point, it is imperative to first clarify the boundaries of the battlefield and also to identify the way forward with constructing counterterrorism strategies that are compliant with international law and able to effectively address new threats. This symposium will be a large step forward in addressing this need.
Symposium Goals, Structure and Format
Up until now, there has not been a symposium designed to comprehensively address and analyze all these important issues in one setting. As these issues are based in international law, it is vital to discuss them with the benefit of international perspectives from prominent academics, policy makers and practitioners from all over the world together in one venue.
As stated in the introduction, in this area of legal discourse, two main divergent perspectives have emerged that feed into the fragmentation of legal issues. Many refer to these perspectives colloquially as the “red team,” or those who approach counterterrorism strategy in response to armed attacks with a framework of armed conflict and the “blue team,” or those who approach counterterrorism strategy with the law-enforcement, or human rights, paradigm. We have selected a diverse collection of experts from across the spectrum on these issues to participate. We are aware of the fact that some topics that will be discussed are more in the terrain of either the “red” or “blue” team, but we nevertheless believe that an exchange of ideas from both camps, under the moderation of a more generalist scholar, will lead to refreshing ideas and solutions that were not earlier contemplated.
Rather than asking the specialists on the panels to present speeches or papers, the format for each panel will be a discussion moderated by an esteemed and more generalist scholar, practitioner or policy maker, based on sets of pre-determined topics, themes and questions to encourage debate and discourse for each of the important issues. The proposed format will allow for the maximal contribution from panelists to further the debate and will also leave time for audience questions and interaction to initiate and stimulate even further perspective and idea exchange.
The strong international reputation of the expert panelists as well as the timeliness and importance of the topics addressed will yield a must-attend event for anyone interested in these multifaceted issues.
Coordination and Preparatory Committee

The conference will be hosted by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut with generous assistance provided from the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague, the International Humanitarian and Criminal Law Platform (a research platform established by the T.M.C. Asser Instituut, the University of Amsterdam, the VU University Amsterdam and Leiden University), the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the Municipality of The Hague and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The conference is being prepared by Dr. Christophe Paulussen and Ms. Jessica Dorsey of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut.

For further information and questions on the content of the conference, contact Ms. Jessica Dorsey at  For information on all other aspects of the conference, contact the Conference Manager,
Confirmed Panelists :

William Banks, Distinguished Professor, Director Institute of National Security and Counter Terrorism, Syracuse University
Laurie Blank, Professor Emory Law School; Director IHL Center at Emory
Theo van Boven, Professor Emeritus International Law, University of Maastricht
Anthony Dworkin, Senior Policy Fellow at European Council on Foreign Relations
Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism
Dieter Fleck, Editor Handbook of IHL, co-editor of The Handbook of the International Law of Military Operations; formerly with the German Defense Ministry.
Terry Gill, Professor University of Amsterdam and the Netherlands Defense Academy; Associate Professor Utrecht University; co-editor of The Handbook of the International Law of Military Operations
Robert Heinsch, Assistant Professor, Leiden University, Director Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law
Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg, Stockton Chair, US Naval War College; Professor Public International Law, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt
Christiane Höhn, Advisor to the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
Gilles de Kerchove, EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator
Jann Kleffner, Head of International Law Centre and Associate Professor of International Law, Swedish National Defence College; Assistant Professor of Law, University of Amsterdam
Michael W. Lewis, Professor of Law, Ohio Northern University Claude Pettit College of Law
Liesbeth Lijnzaad, Extraordinary Professor Maastricht University, Legal Advisor Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Noam Lubell, Reader in the School of Law, University of Essex
Peter Margulies, Professor of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law
Joanne Mariner, Human Rights Program Director, Hunter College CUNY
Marko Milanovic, Lecturer University of Nottingham
Andre Nollkaemper, Professor of Public International Law and Vice-Dean for Research at the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam
Jelena Pejic, Legal Advisor at the Legal Division of ICRC
Tom Ruys, Lecturer at the Catholic University of Leuven; Author, 'Armed Attack' and Article 51 UN Charter
Marco Sassòli, Professor, International Law at Geneva Academy for International Humanitarian Law
William A. Schabas, Professor of International Law, Middlesex University (London), Leiden University, Irish Centre for Human Rights
Nico Schrijver, Chair of Public International Law at Leiden University, and Academic Director at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University/Campus The Hague
Hina Shamsi, Director ACLU National Security Project
Wouter Werner, Professor of Transnational Legal Studies, VU University, Amsterdam



* Conference fees

Full fee:                       € 225

Early Bird fee:            € 175
Registrations before the 1st of December

(PhD) Student fee:   €   75
We have a maximum of 25 places available for (PhD) students
* Please download and review the Registration Information & Conditions below before registration.