Integrating Lawfare and Warfare

17 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2017

See all articles by Joel P. Trachtman

Joel P. Trachtman

Tufts University - The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Date Written: August 11, 2016


Current military campaigns are not waged solely on the physical battlefield, but in multiple other arenas. One such arena is lawfare: legal activity that supports, undermines, or substitutes for other types of warfare. In today’s law-rich environment, with an abundance of legal rules and legal fora, strategists must evaluate the full scope of possible legal argumentation. Lawfare can substitute for warfare where it provides a means to compel specified behavior with fewer costs than kinetic warfare, or even in cases where kinetic warfare would be ineffective. As a result, lawfare can be strategically integrated into military command structures to bring about desired outcomes.

Keywords: Lawfare, Laws of Armed Conflict, Strategy, Propaganda

JEL Classification: F50, F51, K33

Suggested Citation

Trachtman, Joel P., Integrating Lawfare and Warfare (August 11, 2016). Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 2, 2016. Available at SSRN:

Joel P. Trachtman (Contact Author)

Tufts University - The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy ( email )

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