The 21st Congress of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War was dedicated to the new Leuven Manual on the International Law Applicable to Peace Operations.
The new Leuven Manual on the International Law Applicable to Peace Operations (CUP, 2017) is the most recent and authoritative guidance on international law related to peace operations. It combines legal rules with commentaries and offers policy recommendations where the law is silent or unclear. The International Society for Military Law and the Law of War (ISMLLW) devoted its 21st Congress from 15 to 18 May 2018 in Lisbon to the content of the Manual.
Tobias Vestner, Cluster Leader of the Security and Law Programme, presented his thoughts on the history and future of peace operations on a panel with Dr Dieter Fleck, Prof Stefan Oeter and Mr Johann Busch. Tobias Vestner analyzed the historical and continuing tension between politics and law regarding peace operations. He emphasized that the law related to peace operations closely follows policy decisions and developments. Thereby, the law loses its ability to serve as stabilizing factor for the interactions between the various actors involved in and concerned by peace operations. Yet this also allows the flexible and pragmatic evolvement of peace operations and the peacekeeping architecture.
Other panels covered the applicability of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, responsibility and accountability as well as detention in the context of peace operations, among other themes. The Congress united an impressive number of military and civilian lawyers from around the globe.