Centre for International and Operational Law

The Centre for International and Operational Law of the Swedish Defence University is conducting research into the international legal aspects of military operations and is responsible for the education in this area within the various programmes of the SEDU.

Research

The Centre for International and Operational Law of the Swedish Defence University conducts research in the international law of military operations. As such, the research programme focuses on the legal basis for military operations and the areas of international law pertaining to their deployment and conduct. Another area of research relates to the legal consequences of breaches of international law committed by (members of) armed forces. The following fields of international law fall within the research programme:

1. The law regulating the use of force

In addressing the law regulating the use of force (jus ad bellum), the research programme of the Centre for International and Operational Law covers current developments in relation to the general prohibition of the use of armed force embodied in the UN Charter and its exceptions. Novel aspects of the right to use force in self-defence and the right to do so with the authorization of the UN Security Council are addressed, as much as the controversial areas of humanitarian intervention and the use of force in the context of an emerging 'Responsibility to Protect'. Furthermore, the legal parameters for the use of force in a non-international armed conflict upon invitation of a government are part of the research programme.

2. The law of peace operations

The research in the law of peace operations comprises the areas of international law applicable to the spectrum of military operations deployed to prevent, manage, and/or resolve violent conflicts or reduce the risk of their recurrence. While partially overlapping with other areas within the research programme, the law of peace operations is emerging as a distinct field to cover the increasingly complex legal aspects of conflict prevention, peace making, classical and robust peacekeeping, peace enforcement and peacebuilding.

3. The law of armed conflict

The Centre for International and Operational Law conducts research into contemporary developments in the law of armed conflict. The increasing involvement of non-state actors (organized non-state armed groups, private military companies, international organizations and transnational corporations etc.) and other structural developments in the nature of organized armed violence, such as asymmetry, are posing challenges to the law of armed conflict. The research of the Centre for International and Operational Law addresses these challenges.

4. Human Rights Law

Human rights law has evolved as one of the central legal frameworks within which contemporary military operations are being conducted. However, several areas remain controversial. These include the extra-territorial applicability of human rights law, its applicability to non-state actors, and the relationship between human rights obligations of troop contributing states and of receiving states.

5. The law of international responsibility

The Centre for International and Operational Law´s research programme extends to the rules and principles governing the consequences of breaches of international law that occur in the course of military operations. This part of the research programme chiefly addresses the international law of state responsibility and of responsibility of international organizations, international criminal law and the interplay between those fields. The research also covers more novel forms of legal responsibility, such as the collective responsibility of organized armed groups and the responsibility of transnational corporations.