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Dickinson article featured in international law journal

March 29, 2010

An article by Laura A. Dickinson, Faculty Director, Center for Law and Global Affairs, "Military Lawyers on the Battlefield: An Empirical Account of International Law Compliance," is the featured article in the new volume of the peer-reviewed American Journal of International Law.

This empirical study, based on interviews with members of the Judge Advocate General Corps who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, draws on insights from organizational theory to consider how military lawyers embedded with troops can help produce battlefield decisions that comply with international legal norms. Read the article here.

These lawyers appear to be most likely to function effectively and encourage legal compliance if certain organizational features are present. Accordingly, Dickinson argues that focusing on the links between organizational structure, institutional culture, and legal compliance through more nuanced qualitative analysis should contribute to a better understanding of how international law compliance actually operates on the ground.

Dickinson's work focuses on human rights, national security, foreign affairs privatization, and qualitative empirical approaches to international law. Dickinson's current work-in-progress is a monograph entitled, Outsourcing War and Peace, to be published by Yale University Press. The book examines the increasing privatization of military, security, and foreign aid functions of government, considers the impact of this trend on core public values, and outlines mechanisms for protecting these values in an era of privatization.

Dickinson served as a senior policy adviser to Harold Hongju Koh, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the U.S. Department of State, and is a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justices Harry A. Blackmun and Stephen G. Breyer, and to Judge Dorothy Nelson of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth District.

She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law, and co-organizer of a Collaborative Research Network on Empirical Approaches to International Human Rights Law, convened under the auspices of the Law & Society Association.

Judy Nichols,
(480) 727-7895
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law