10 War Powers and the War on Terrorism
Curtis A. Bradley
- Terrorism — War crimes — Ius ad bellum — UN Charter — Ius in bello — Conduct of hostilities — Armed conflict, international — Detention — Specific courts and tribunals — Specific Courts and Tribunals
This chapter considers the relevance of international law within the U.S. legal system to the United States’ initiation and conduct of war. After briefly reviewing some of the most relevant treaties relating to war and warfare, the chapter considers the Constitution’s distribution of war authority between Congress and the President. It then discusses how international law, including the provisions in the UN Charter relating to the authority of the Security Council, as well as collective self-defense treaties, might affect the President’s war authority. The chapter then shifts to the “war on terrorism” and discusses the relevance of international law, including the Geneva Conventions, to issues concerning the scope of the military’s detention authority in that conflict, with particular reference to the Supreme Court’s 2004 decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. International law and other issues relating to the use of military commissions to try terrorist suspects are also considered. The chapter concludes by discussing legal debates relating to coercive interrogation and targeted killing.