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War/law/space notes toward a legal geography of war.

Abstract. To some degree war has always entailed its rhetorics of justification and regimes of authorization. Today, however, war and law have become inseparable; now more than ever, war requires a legal armature to secure its legitimacy and organize its conduct. Our introduction (and the special issue more broadly) investigates this lethal conjunction of law and war across space and time. To capture the interplay of war, law and space-time, we conceive them as forming a kind of nexus or set of entanglements. Adapting legal geographer Nick Blomley's (1989) concept of the "law-space nexus", we call this the war/ law/space nexus. Our discussion highlights some of its main features and introduces the subsequent papers that make up this special issue.

Keywords: war, law, geography, human rights, authorization to use military force The law on terror


It has been over twelve years since the invasion of Iraq, and the Afghanistan intervention will soon enter its fifteenth year, with no clear end in sight. These era-defining invasions may be reaching their inauspicious endgames but as they do, they have taken on alarming afterlives, as we have witnessed with the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)(1) in Iraq and now Afghanistan (Goldstein, 2015). Under President Obama, George W Bush's "Global War on Terror" has been rebranded, recalibrated and expanded. The Guantanamo Bay prison remains open and indefinite detention threatens to become a permanent feature of the legal landscapes of the US and other liberal democracies. The National Security Agency and its affiliates continue with sweeping programs of covert electronic surveillance and data harvesting whose vast scale has only recently been exposed (see Greenwald, 2014). The Obama administration has adapted Bush's kill-or-capture program, displaying a preference to kill-not-capture (Scahill, 2013; Woods, 2015a) while also extending lethal drone strikes from Afghanistan and Iraq into Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. In other respects, Obama has adroitly fulfilled the duty of any US president to manage the unruly precincts of the US imperiuni (see Morrissey, this issue): orchestrating if not spearheading, for example, NATO'S Libyan intervention in 2011; the French-led expedition in Mali in 2013; the international efforts to neutralize the threats posed by a nuclear Iran and North Korea; the coalition strikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria and, more recently and reluctantly, the Saudi-led war against the Houthis in Yemen.

Questions of law and legality have been central to the American-cum-global 'war on terror'since it began. Bush laid the juridical cornerstone of the 'war on terror'on 18 September 2001 when he signed into law a joint resolution of the US Congress, the 'Authorization for Use of Military Force' (AUMF). The AUMF, as it became known, authorized the President:

"to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons" (US Congress, 2001).

For nearly a decade and a half the AUMF has served as the primary (domestic) legal basis for the US 'war on terror.' Congress rushed to pass the AUMF in the terror-stricken and vengeful days following the 9/11 attacks, and since then it has licensed a whole suite of military operations whose spatial and temporal horizons far exceed anything the AUMF's originators ever imagined. As one senior Senate Democrat put it, "none of us, not one who voted for it, could have envisioned we were voting for the longest war in American history, or that we were about to give future presidents the authority to fight terrorism as far flung as Yemen and Somalia." (2) The problems with the 9/11 AUMF have been well documented (e.g. Koh, 2014). In short, critics have argued that it has been used to justify too much, for too long, in places too far afield. The ostensibly boundless nature of the war that the AUMF helped unleash has prompted critics to write of the Forever War (Filkins, 2008) and the Everywhere War (Gregory, 2011b).

The dawn of the Obama era raised hopes of a return to a less martial posture and an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those hopes had somewhat faded by his second term and the rise of ISIL in mid-2014 all but extinguished them. In the space of a week in early August 2014, what began as a 'humanitarian' mission to provide aid to Yazidi civilians stranded in the Sinjar Mountiains morphed into a military operation and the US began airstrikes on ISIL in Iraq. On 22 September 2014 the still nameless campaign (Sisk, 2014) expanded to include airstrikes in Syria. Since 7 August 2014, under the auspices of what is now called 'Operation Inherent Resolve' the US has carried out thousands of airstrikes, causing hundreds of civilian casualties, with no end in sight as the US and its allies struggle to contain the blowback of imperial misadventure (Cockbum, 2015a, 2015b; Woods, 2015b). (3)

On 11 February 2015--six months after the US began bombing ISIL targets--the White House wrote to Congress requesting its permission to use military force against ISIL (Obama, 2015). The resolution for a new AUMF does not replace or repeal the old AUMF. Rather, it grants additional powers for the use of force and extends the 2001 AUMF from al Qaeda and the Taliban to ISIL, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Shabbab and, most nebulously, to forces that are "associated" with any of these groups. The new AUMF "wisely does not include any geographical restriction", the new defense secretary, Ashton Carter, argued recently, trading in all too familiar metaphors of malignancy, "because [ISIL] already shows signs of metastasizing outside of Syria and Iraq" (Carter, quoted in Klimas, 2015). In short, the (in)famous 2001 AUMF continues to animate, legitimate and extend Obama's shadow wars just as it did Bush's more conventional invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The AUMF's checkered career is a contemporary example of the evolving relationship between war, law and space that this special issue seeks to explore. Its existence and transformation also underscores one of the most important points emphasized throughout this special issue: that war and law are not separate, opposed or even stable entities, but are intertwined in varied and revealing ways. The AUMF makes this relationship explicit: it is a law that provides legal authorization for war and so we might say that the 'war on terror' has been made possible in part by a law on terror (or rather, laws on terror). Several of the papers in this issue highlight different facets and offer insights on precisely this legal landscape (e.g. Jones; Morrissey; Reid-Henry; Snukal and Gilbert, this issue). Often, however, the connection(s) and ruptures--between war and law are less explicit or more complicated than our remarks on the AUMF imply. These connections must be carefully excavated along both geographical and historical axes. The goal of this special issue is exactly that: to explore some of the geographies and histories of war and law and to chart their relationship through space and time. The Roman philosopher Cicero is said once to have claimed, 'inter arma enim silent leges': in times of war, the law falls silent, but as Craig Jones has argued, this has not been true for some time: "far from 'falling silent', law constantly intervenes in and gives shape to war" (Jones, 2015, page 2). The investigations that follow shed new light on why and how war and law have developed the intimate connections that the AUMF and the 'war on terror' exemplify today.

This special issue has its origins in a session at the 2013 Association of American Geographers (AAG) conference in Los Angeles. At the time, we felt that there was room for a much broader spatial and historical analysis of the intersection between war and law, and the eight papers assembled here have certainly fulfilled our expectations. In the space that remains, we offer some guiding coordinates for what we call the 'war/law/space' nexus and a brief overview of how the contributors approach it. Together, we hope that this introduction and the following papers provide both some important notes toward a legal geography of war and a collective invitation for further research, reflection and critique in an era of creeping militarism and unending war.


To some degree war has always entailed its rhetorics of justification and regimes of authorization, while the foundations of modern law and order commonly lie, as Weber, Benjamin and Foucault have taught us, in organized (state) violence. War and law have become inseparable; now more than ever, war requires a legal armature to secure its legitimacy and organize its conduct, and the core states of the global North repeatedly deploy law-making violence in the name of democracy and the rule of law. This special issue investigates this lethal conjunction of law and war. Here, we wish to introduce an essential third term: space, or more precisely, space-time. If late modern war is marked by its changing legalities (Jones, 2015), it is also distinguishable by its complex and shifting spatiality and temporality. War and law have an intimate connection, but this relationship is historically and spatially variable. To capture the interplay of war, law and space-time, we think it is productive to conceive them as forming a kind of nexus or set of entanglements. Adapting legal geographer Nick Blomley's (1989) concept of the "law-space nexus", we call this the war/law/space nexus, and the aim of this special issue is to examine some of its contemporary and historical manifestations.

What is the war/law/space nexus, and what analytical and empirical insights might it yield? Here we offer four observations. First, though we take the 'war on terror' as our point of departure, we do not wish to conflate it with the question of war tout court- clearly, it is but one particular instantiation of war. Beyond the terror war, and the formal inter-state conflicts that long served as the template for Western concepts of war and its associated legalities, there are many different kinds of war, including civil wars, cold wars, undeclared wars, metaphorical wars, even "military operations other than war" (MOOTW). Mark Neocleous and others have urged us to see the 'war on terror' as the current incarnation of a broader, and longstanding, project of liberal order-building that unites the international and domestic spheres and fuses war with police powers (Bachmann et al., 2014; Neocleous, 2014). Even in the post-9/11 period, there are numerous conflicts that are not readily reducible to the terror war, as in Darfur and the Congo; Russia's incursions into Georgia and now in Ukraine; the Cold War hangover on the Korean peninsula; or the low-intensity wars of Colombia and Mexico against FARC and los narcos, respectively. Many states have adopted the rhetoric of counter-terrorism in fighting nationalist and secessionist movements (Elden, 2009), including Israel (Palestine), Russia (Chechnya), Sri Lanka (Tamil Eelam), and China (Xinjiang), and the expansive terror war has a tendency to subsume conflicts which long predate it. With the 'war on terror' now into its second decade, it is an important touchstone for this special issue as critics pose fundamental questions about its spatial, temporal and legal limits. Aside from its continuing salience and seeming durability, it serves as a useful starting point to think about more general questions concerning the entwined histories of war and law, their changing character and their complex geographies. Indeed, these post-9/11 years have witnessed an intensification of the relationship between war and law.

A second observation concerns the changing spatiality of war, as identified by Gregory (2011b) in his analysis of what he calls the 'everywhere war'. The everywhere war is a ramified space with many complex features, but it is marked, in the first instance, by a series of collapsing, tenuous and blurred distinctions between war and peace, police and military operations (see Reid-Henry; Morrissey and Gluck, this issue), counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism, civilians and combatants, the warzone and the homeland, and between the real and the virtual (see Der Derian, 2009). These blurry distinctions have geographical consequences, but they have also unfolded through geography, and space has become ever more vital to the activation and actualization of war. For example, Gregory (2010) has argued that the conduct of war requires the production--including the legal assembly--of at least three conceptually distinct but overlapping spaces: the space of the target (see also Chow, 2006); the space of the enemy (see Bhungalia, 2009) and the space of exception (cf. Agamben, 2005), all of which map in complex ways onto the political and legal geographies of nation states and the state system (see Elden, 2009).

Thirdly, we highlight the tendency discernible especially in liberal war-making (see Morrissey and Reid-FIenry, this issue), towards the 'legalisation of the battlespace' or what one of us has elsewhere called 'the juridification of late modern war' (Jones, 2015). By this we do not mean that wars have become more legal in the sense of conforming to law, but rather that the legal institutions, agents and discourses involved in war have both proliferated and, increasingly, predominated. The legality of war has also become a matter of public policy and public debate, as has its operational conduct (see Jones, this issue), both of which can be gauged by the rise of human-rights critiques of war (see Reid-Henry, this issue) and the growing concern over civilian casualties and "collateral damage," as we saw following the 2014 Israeli invasion of Gaza. Legal scholar David Kennedy captures this intersection between war and law thus:

"Warfare has become a modern legal institution. At the same time, as law has increasingly become the vocabulary for international politics and diplomacy, it has become the rhetoric through which we debate--and assert--the boundaries of warfare, and insist upon the distinction between war and peace or civilian and combatant. Law has built practical as well as the rhetorical bridges between war and peace, and is the stuff of their connection and differentiation. (Kennedy, 2006 page 5, quoted in Jones, 2015 page 13)

Finally, we note that even as questions of law and (il)legality have taken centre-stage, they too have undergone a certain blurring: the forms, sources, authorities and jurisdictional arrangements of law have been recast and re-distributed, the formal instruments of state legality (treaties, legislation, regulations) supplemented and even superseded by a plethora of "soft laws", policy directives, and other quasi-legal measures emanating inside and outside the state apparatus. Amid this proliferation, law performs not only a proscriptive or limiting function, but frequently serves as a strategic resource for belligerents that can be legitimating and enabling. Hence the emergence, noted by many (e.g. Dunlap, 2001; Gordon, 2014; Jones, 2015; Weizman, 2010), of the discourse and practice of "lawfare," the use of law as a weapon of war, a topic we return to below.

Geographers are no strangers to the study (and in some cases the conduct) of war, or to the legal production of space, and the launch of the 'war on terror' in the aftermath of 9/11 certainly generated some important work on the shifting geographies of war and law. We believe there is room for a much deeper and sustained engagement. For all its insights into the changing nature of state sovereignty, boundaries and territory under globalization, and the torsions of national, regional and global security wrought by the 'war on terror,' political geography has, with some notable exceptions, given insufficient emphasis to the legal dimensions of state power, spatialization and war-making. For its part, legal geography has tended to focus on political spaces internal to (mostly advanced, liberal Western) states and largely neglected the specifically international and transnational dimensions of law, as well as the legal geographies of war (see Braverman et al., 2014). Significantly, neither field has engaged adequately with international law as a distinct body of law with its own historical geography and contemporary spatio-temporal dimensions (Anghie, 2007; Benton, 2010; Pearson, 2008; Rajagopal, 2003).

The war/law/space nexus directs us to attend not only to international law, but also its interplay with the moving mosaic of national and sub-national legal regimes. This complex interaction of diverse legal forms and orders invites analysis in terms of what Santos (1987) usefully termed interlegality, and legal anthropologists study under the rubric of legal pluralism (Benda-Beckmann et al., 2005). To deepen our understanding of the war/law/space nexus, we suggest, we need a critical approach that attends to both the geopolitics of law and the "geolegalities" of politics (Smith, 2014) at multiple scales. To do so, we must draw from the analytical vocabularies of political and legal geography--but also critical scholarship in cognate (sub)fields within and beyond geography. The papers collected here rise precisely to this challenge and signal something of a more explicit and novel engagement with the concept of war/law/space and its attendant ideas and empirical realities.

Overview of papers

The contributions assembled in this special issue adopt a variety of approaches and cover a wide range of topics, but several common themes emerge. The papers all acknowledge, in one way or another, the instability of both war and law and demonstrate how war and law are often co-constituted. Indeed, it is perhaps above all a shared interest in this co-constitution as an active process of production--a making in the world that is always already shaped by unequal relations of power--that provides the common thread. Most, if not all, of the papers explore how law serves ends and means that are not only lethally violent, but oppressive, exploitative and unjust. They demonstrate that law is important to the exercise of violence --in new and changing ways--precisely because (for better or for worse) it is a powerful legitimizing language. But, as Mark Boyle and Audrey Kobayashi and Rachel Hughes argue, law can also be used to delegitimize war. The contributors also recognize that their accounts of the complex choreography between war and law cannot be totalizing. War is not conducted solely in a legal register, and there remain other critical vocabularies--whether ethical, political, visual, or political-economic--with which we can and must approach questions of war, law and space. Among the many intersecting themes emerging from the papers, we can highlight four: history's legal battlefields, the geoeconomics of war, the weaponization of law and war on trial.

History's legal battlefields

The wedding of war and law has a long and convoluted history. Mark Neocleous (2014 page 46) has argued that law and war 'have been woven together since the birth of early modern political thought, the birth of the laws of nations and, concomitantly, the transition of feudalism to capitalism' (quoted in Jones, 2015 page 14). The stream of scholarship loosely assembled as Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) has leveled a devastating critique of international law:

"classical international law [...] consisted of a set of rules with a geographical bias (it was a European law), a religious-ethical aspiration (it was a Christian law), an economic motivation (it was a mercantilist law), and political aims (it was an imperialist law). (Bedjaoui, 1985: 153, quoted in Jones, 2015: 10)

We could go on, but the point is that war, violence and (international) law have an intimate relation, and this relationship has a history that not only precedes but also, crucially, informs later modern war and the hyper-legalization of warfare we are witnessing today.

In this regard, Margo Kleinfeld's paper is especially instructive. She presents an historical case on how humanitarians and law-makers tried and failed to secure 'protected spaces' within warzones. The Monaco Draft was a convention that proposed rules to establish specific geographical zones that would be immune from attack during war. These zones undermined previous conceptions of the battlefield, introducing a protected (sub-national) zone within a (national or international) warzone. Partly for this reason, the framers of the Monaco Draft rejected the establishment of these protected zones in deference to 'military necessity.' Kleinfeld's work is especially important not only for its historical insights into the (failed) attempts to establish spaces of protection in warzones, but also because the 'territorial problem' of how to delimit 'protected spaces' from the surrounding warzone continues to haunt the late modern battlefield today (see Megret, 2012). Kleinfeld also shows us that space is not some inert--even less, innocent--backdrop against which war takes place but that its legal production actively shapes the conduct of war and the distribution of violence.

Geoeconomics of war

To fully grasp the war/law/space nexus we must understand it in the context of the geopolitical economy of a crisis-prone global capitalism. In his classic account of European state-formation, Charles Tilly memorably likened both war-making and state-making to organized crime, a protection racket in which monarchs and generals acted as "coercive and self-serving entrepreneurs" (1985). From the age of plunder (Mattei and Nader, 2008), to the birth of the military-industrial complex, to our own permanent war economy, the logics of coercion, regulation and accumulation have long been closely intertwined within the evolving project of constructing and policing a capitalist order that is now global in scale. Law simultaneously enables both the conduct and commerce of war across time and space consider the vast infrastructure of regulation and contractual relations underpinning modern military procurement and logistics--but, in the form of contemporary regimes of "sanctions" applied to unruly states (Saddam Elussein's Iraq, Iran, North Korea and now Russia) it can become the very modality of warfare itself. Three contributors offer perspectives on the geoeconomic imperatives driving contemporary Western war-making.

John Morrissey makes the connection between war/law/space and economy explicit. His paper examines the recent broadening of the US military's overseas mission into what it calls 'full spectrum operations' and critiques how it is being enabled by 'full spectrum law.' Morrissey's target is the US commitment to the 'securitization of instability', a military posture that "has given the US military a broader role in the 'correction' of underdevelopment and the securitization of the legal and economic modalities necessary for a functioning neoliberal global economy". Especially helpful is his identification of a link between 'stability operations' and what the US military calls the 'notional legal spectrum'. According to the US military: "The right end of that spectrum is represented by invasion followed by occupation. The left end of the spectrum is represented by tourism" (United States Judge Advocate General's Legal Center, 2013, quoted in Morrissey, this issue). But Morrissey offers a more critical gloss of the co-mingling between military operations and military law:

"It allows for the contingent, and it can facilitate the securitization (via multiple means) of the most broadly conceived 'instability'. One can imagine how the pendulum above can quickly swing (exceptionally or otherwise) from left to right. Ontologically, this equates to the selective use of the law to both rationalize and mobilize military action"

Military and economic interference (if not outright military intervention) is, again, conducted through a discourse of law.

Simon Reid-Henry's paper alerts our attention to a different international legal regime: international human rights law (or IHRL). In a sweeping analysis that offers intriguing parallels with Morrissey's argument, he documents the discursive and material work that human rights does in the world and he is interested specifically in the role than human rights and humanitarian logics play in (liberal) military interventions. In Reid-Henry's reading of the so-called 'Responsibility to Protect' ('R2P') doctrine, human rights do not place a limit upon state power but become a modality of power itself such that military intervention and humanitarian intervention become one and the same thing. Yet, as Reid-Henry is careful to point out, this power is conditional for 'R2P' can be effected only by 'legitimate' (liberal-Western) states, which have consequently become the de facto constabularly policing an increasingly global beat. But this isn't simply about asserting Western power over others, "so much as it is about extending some forms of (minimalist protection) rights in lieu of others (more substantive ones) after having first indexed the nature of those rights to a predetermined moral and political geography." Human rights and the logic of 'intervention for protection' underpin the US/NATO role of global gendarme, policing the legal, biopolitical and geographical borders between productive, 'secured' and non-threatening life and that which will be made productive, secure and non-threatening.

Zoltan Gluck's contribution deepens the links between war/law/space and economy. His focus is piracy and counter-piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the West Indian Ocean. The Gulf of Aden has been a vital shipping route since the construction of the Suez Canal in 1869 and Gluck suggests we read the emergence of recent Somali piracy (and its counterpart, the global assemblage of 'counter-piracy') through colonial and capitalist lenses (cf. Cowen, 2014). Gluck's contribution is important for several reasons but two in particular stand out. First, following Foucault (2007), he shows how the legal and disciplinary modalities of power governing ocean space have, in the late 20th and early twenty first century, given way to more dispersed forms of power that are best captured by the concept of security. Second, Gluck pushes the war/law/space nexus from land out to sea. This is more than a playful metaphor, for as Gluck points out: the "production of maritime space should be seen as formative to both the European colonial expansion and the emergence of capitalism." War and law are not, of course, confined to land; by charting their maritime dimensions, Gluck offers a novel perspective on the geoeconomic imperatives underpinning the war/law/space nexus.

Weaponizing law

In 2001, a prominent US military lawyer coined the neologism 'lawfare' to describe "the use of law as a weapon of war" in the twenty first century (Dunlap, 2001: 5). Dunlap's initial definition deployed a familiar cartography, pitting non-state actors and enemy lawbreakers against law-abiding 'democratic states'. In his view, it was the enemy Other who employed lawfare to get a strategic 'PR' advantage over their more powerful adversaries. By 2009, however, Dunlap had belatedly acknowledged the obvious--'democratic militaries' mobilize law as a weapon and, he counseled, should continue to do so (Dunlap, 2009: 35).

Two papers in this issue focus on lawfare but, unlike Dunlap, they adopt a critical perspective. The first is Kat Snukal and Emily Gilbert's paper, which focuses on the Nisour Square massacre in 2007 when the infamous private military security company Blackwater opened fire on civilians in downtown Baghdad, killing seventeen and injuring twenty more. Snukal and Gilbert focus on the Blackwater killings to examine the legality and ethics of the privatization of military force. In so doing they wrestle with the concept of lawfare from its militaristic origins and redeploy it as a critique of the way in which the US government and military use law to further violence and secure impunity for its perpetrators. Following Jamieson and McEvoy (2005), they use the concept of 'juridical othering' to show how the state has been able to distance itself from legal responsibility by constructing military contractors as outside both military and civilian law, while also 'othering' the victims of violence by placing them beyond the law's protections.

Like Snukal and Gilbert, Craig Jones shows that powerful states and militaries are best equipped to deploy lethal law. Focusing on the Israeli military, Jones draws on interviews conducted with military lawyers about their role in 'targeted killing' operations and analyses the emergence and development of a body of law known as 'operational law' (see also Smith, 2014). In terms of Morrissey's discussion of the US military's 'notional legal spectrum' (with tourism on the left and military invasion on the right), the phenomenon Jones analyses --targeting law--occupies the far right, for operational law is law 'at the tip of the spear.' Building on the work of Eyal Weizman (2010, 2011) and Derek Gregory (2011a), Jones argues that when it comes to the 'kill chain' it is operational law (rather than international humanitarian law) that provides the legal tools for making life and death decisions in the warzone. The last decade and a half has witnessed the broadening of the scope and definition of what constitutes a 'legal target', leading Jones to conclude that the 'frames of law' that have come to dominate our apprehensions of war carry deadly material consequences.

War on trial

The final two papers in this issue examine the legal geographies of war tribunals. Mark Boyle and Audrey Kobayashi focus on the Russell Tribunal on Vietnam (1966-1967), a people-led war crimes tribunal (PWCT), which published a report in 1971 that found the US (and several other complicit states) guilty of war crimes and genocide against the people of Vietnam. Rachel Hughes analyses the Khmer Rouge Tribunal (KRT), formally known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), which has been tasked with bringing to trial those who committed crimes under the rule of Khmer Rouge in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. The papers complement each other in several ways and both are concerned not so much with the legal formalities of the trial as they are with its' 'more-than-legal' performances.

The Russell Tribunal, named after the Philosopher Bertrand Russell and hosted by Jean-Paul Sartre, is important because it represents an informal, quasi-legal venue for exposing injustices. The Russell Tribunal is not merely of historical interest, as it set the precedent for several subsequent tribunals adjudicating the crimes perpetrated, for example, during Chile's military coup, the Iraq war and, most recently, the Israel occupation of Palestine. Boyle and Kobayashi examine the Russell Tribunal through the TWAIL literature and Sartre's witting on dialectical ethics. Drawing on TWAIL, Boyle and Kobayashi conceive of international law as conceptually Western and argue that it is therefore unable to deliver justice for 'distant others.' PWCT's, they argue, open up the possibility of accessing and articulating non-Western traditions of ethics, law and justice. They show that the Russell Tribunal presented itself as both "a paragon of established legal canons" while also being unabashedly one-sided, drawing heavily from Russell and Sartre's thinking on political violence. The schizophrenic result is an anti-foundational ethics that both encompasses and exceeds Western legal paradigms. Their argument takes us closer toward a radical geography of justice for "to care that justice is served to others at a distance it is necessary to question whether 'our' justice is seen by 'others' as a just justice and to entertain the idea that there exist radically other traditions of ethics, justice, and law."

Hughes paper also builds on the geographies of justice literature, but its main aim is to examine the theatricality and performativity of law and the legal trial. Hughes analyses two tribunals, the Peoples Revolutionary Tribunal (PRT), established in 1979, and the KRT, established in 2006. The international community dismissed both trials, characterizing them as 'show trials. ' Hughes argues that an unhelpful dualism--'real ' law versus public performance animates these critiques, presenting these knee-jerk binaries as being "endemic to Cambodia, rather than infinitely more complex impasses of law, conflict and social memory that occur (differently) everywhere." Yet Hughes does not allow this critical reading of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to overshadow what she calls their potential 'productive theatricality,' and argues that the pursuit of justice should not be denigrated for its performative qualities, which are central parts of domestic and international legal legitimacy. Hughes then, like Boyle and Kobayashi, help to reframe the war/law/space nexus by forcing us to consider the role of law in addressing and healing the wounds of war that remain long after the fighting is over.

doi: 10.1177/0263775815600599

Declaration of conflicting interest. The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Funding. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


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(2) Dick Durban, number two Senate Democrat and chairman of the powerful Defense Appropriations subcommittee (quoted in Bresnahan, 2013).

(3) Journalist Chris Woods' data on airstrikes is compiled from statistics released by each of the coalition members involved in the campaign against ISIL. The members making up the coalition in Syria and Iraq are different in each of those places (see Woods (2015b) for a breakdown). Woods' data on civilian casualties are compiled from various sources, including the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Iraq Body Count.

Craig A. Jones


Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2, Canada;

Michael D. Smith


Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2, Canada
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Author:Jones, Craig A.; Smith, Michael D.
Publication:Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
Article Type:Report
Date:Aug 1, 2015
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