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Boundaries of the Battlefield

In early 2013, ICCT commenced an initiative entitled “Boundaries of the Battlefield”, which seeks to critically explore the legal paradigms and rules in countering terrorism. The initiative is conducted in conjunction with the T.M.C. Asser Institute and conducted primarily by ICCT.



First Symposium: "Boundaries of the Battlefield"

January 10, 2013

On 10 and 11 January 2013, ICCT and Asser 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 organised a high-level symposium entitled “The Boundaries of the Battlefield: A Critical Look at the Legal Paradigms and Rules in Countering Terrorism”. The event featured over 25 leading legal experts from academia, civil society, governments, the military, and multilateral organisations as panellists. The conference covered a range of issues that are relevant in debates about using force in counter-terrorism operations against non-state actors, and produced critical as well as constructive discussions that were regarded as an important step forward in the thinking on the legal aspects of counter-terrorism operations. As a result, ICCT published a Research Paper entitled “The Boundaries of the Battlefield: A Critical Look at the Legal Paradigms and Rules in Countering Terrorism“, which elaborates on a number of key questions raised during the January 2013 symposium. These relate to the:

  • geographical limitations of armed conflict;
  • interplay between international humanitarian law and international human rights law;
  • use of drones;
  • law enforcement approach to counter-terrorism; and
  • possible need for a new framework for countering terrorism

Second Symposium: "The European Position on Armed Drones"

April 21, 2020

Following the first symposium and publication, ICCT zoomed in on one topic frequently brought up during the first symposium, namely the issue of armed drones, in a Research Paper entitled “Towards a European Position on Armed Drones and Targeted Killing: Surveying EU Counter-Terrorism Perspectives”. On 21 April 2016, ICCT and Asser, together with  International Humanitarian and Criminal Law Platform and the Open Society Foundations organised a second high level meeting entitled “Towards a European Position on the Use of Armed Drones? A Human Rights Approach“. This closed roundtable event welcomed over 25 leading legal experts from academia, governments, international organisations and civil society.

The conference was organised around three key themes:

  • Under which circumstances can one target under human rights law;
  • What do we mean exactly by transparency, oversight and accountability; and
  • How should we consider ‘indirect targeting’, that is: how can human rights obligations be breached by European countries that assist other countries in executing drone strikes (for example, through the sharing of intelligence or by letting these countries use their air force bases)?

The Experts

Meet the ICCT team members and our partners who contributed to this project.