Beyond Lawfare: Juridical Oversight of Western Militaries
AbstractWhile civilian supremacy over the armed forces is accepted as a matter of faith in Western countries, this supremacy often means little more than supremacy of the executive branch of government over top generals. Indeed, efforts to regulate armed forces through broader domestic or international legal frameworks, including international criminal law, have been resisted in some military quarters (particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States) with the military and its backers raising concerns of “legal encirclement” or “lawfare.” The author argues for broad civilian and democratic oversight of armed forces, including through increased judicial and quasi-judicial scrutiny of overseas military actions at the domestic and international levels. The author concludes that broad democratic oversight not only promotes compliance with international legal norms but supports operational effectiveness as well.
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