JBI is pleased to announce the publication of the inaugural Jacob Blaustein Institute Human Rights Lecture, delivered by Professor Moshe Halbertal at a December 9, 2014 event in New York City attended by legal scholars, diplomats, human rights advocates, and friends of JBI.
The lecture, which can be downloaded here, outlines a moral argument demonstrating why governments and societies must demand that their military forces adhere to the requirements of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, even when they find themselves battling non-state adversaries that gain tactical advantages when they deliberately violate the law by hiding among civilians and putting their lives at risk. Halbertal defines this duty as one of “responsibility,” which requires soldiers to take steps to minimize the collateral harm they cause to civilians as much as possible, even when this means assuming risks to their own lives to protect civilians. Halbertal emphasizes the need for militaries to train their soldiers so that they are prepared to do "what decency demands" even in asymmetric conflict.
The JBI Human Rights Lecture series was established by Robert S. Rifkind, a distinguished attorney and civic leader, who served as Chair of the Institute’s Administrative Council from 2000 to 2007. Other lectures in this series will examine key human rights issues from other perspectives, such as through the lens of human rights law and practice, as well as in a historical or policy context.