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Exploring the legalities of contemporary and future use of force at the GCSP

The GCSP Security and Law Programme organised from 5 to 7 November 2018 the 2nd edition of the ‘Legal Dimensions of Contemporary and Future Use of Force’ course. Led by Tobias Vestner, Head of Security and Law Programme, the course offers a comprehensive overview of the legal rules applicable to the use of force, ranging from jus ad bellum to International Humanitarian Law (IHL), International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Criminal Law (ICL). Classes are combined with exercise sessions oriented to case-solving, thereby equipping participants with both the theoretical grounds and the practical skills to navigate effectively complex legal concepts and documents.

Professor Stuart Casey-Maslen brilliantly covered the core classes devoted to the rules IHL and IHRL applicable to the use of force. Maj Gen (Retd) Blaise Cathcart, former Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces, led the exercise sessions from the perspective of a practitioner required to provide legal advice to a country or organisation. Dr Christina Schori Liang, Terrorism and Organized Crime Cluster Leader at the GCSP, contributed to the sessions on Counterterrorism and Dr Marta Bo, Postdoctoral Researcher at the IHEID and the Asser Institute delivered an introductory class on ICL. Maj Gen (Retd) Adrian Foster, former Military Adviser at the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and Lt Col Jerry Lane, Legal Advisor of the Irish Defence Forces, discussed the use of force in Peace Operations from both the military and legal point of view.

The course was attended by 31 participants from 21 different countries. Coming from Armed Forces, Ministries of Defence, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Permanent Missions and International Organisations all over the word, the participants formed an impressive group for both professionality and diversity, with many of them holding top positions in their respective organisations. The combination of professionals with different expertise and backgrounds together with world-class speakers created a unique learning experience according to the ‘GCSP way’.

The GCSP welcomes 31 new alumni to its community and wishes them much success in their careers. The Security and Law Programme is eager to continue strengthening the implementation and understanding of international law in the security realm through its upcoming executive courses.


Watch here an interview by Tobias Vestner to Maj Gen (Retd) Blaise Cathcart on ‘The role of the Legal Advisor’.