Legal Resilience in an Era of Grey Zone Conflicts and Hybrid Threats
Exeter Centre for International Law Working Paper 2019/1
31 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2019 Last revised: 10 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 14, 2019
The international system has entered a period of increased competition, accompanied by a steady retreat from multilateralism and international institutions. The purpose of this article is to place these developments within the context of three concepts that have risen to prominence in recent years: lawfare, hybrid warfare and grey zone conflicts. In doing so, the article makes three arguments. The instrumental use of international law for strategic purposes forms an integral feature of the international system. Although the notions of lawfare, hybrid warfare and grey zone conflict all contribute towards a better understanding of the instrumentalization of international law, neither offers a complete framework for analysis and policy action. The challenges posed by the use of international law for strategic ends are therefore best countered by adopting a legal resilience perspective and fostering an operational mindset.
Keywords: legal resilience, hybrid warfare, gray zone conflict, lawfare, international law
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