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  • 11027 Ken Watkin (’76): Fighting at the Legal Boundaries: Controlling the Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict.

11027 Ken Watkin (’76): Fighting at the Legal Boundaries: Controlling the Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict.

11027 Ken Watkin (’76): Fighting at the Legal Boundaries: Controlling the Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict.

I want to announce that Oxford University Press is publishing a book this month that I recently completed entitled: Fighting at the Legal Boundaries: Controlling the Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict.

This book is available through Amazon.ca or at:  https://global.oup.com/academic/product/fighting-at-the-legal-boundaries-9780190457976?q=watkin&lang=en&cc=ca.

As a way of background I am a member of the Class of ’76.

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I trained as an infantry officer (The Royal Canadian Regiment), but subsequently attended Queens law school (LLB ’80, LLM ’90) and became a member of the Office of the Judge Advocate General.

From 2002-2003 I was also a Visiting Fellow at the Havard Law School Human Rights Program. In all I served for 28 years as a military lawyer ending off my career as the Judge Advocate General for the Canadian Forces (2006-2010).

Post military retirement I was a Foreign Observer on The Israeli Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010 that occurred in relation to the Gaza blockade, and was the 2011-2012 Charles H. Stockton Professor of International Law at the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. I then retired to my hometown in Kingston Ontario where I continue to write on contemporary issues regarding the law governing hostilities, including targeting and air warfare.

This most recent publication addresses the violence reported daily in news headlines, such as the November 2015 Paris attacks, bombing in Syria, drone strikes against jihadist groups, hostage rescues, and criminal activity by drug cartels.

It looks at the challenges that arise in attempting to apply traditional interpretations of international law to counter these non-State actor threats. The analysis offers a holistic “operational law” approach focused on reconciling how the various bodies of law governing the use of force interface and overlap.

While recognizing that confronting insurgent/terrorist groups like the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, will still require States to engage in warfare, it is argued that the State response must privilege a human rights based law enforcement response in dealing with attacks at home and abroad. Ultimately, the ability to do so will represent an important indicator of success in dealing with such non-State actor threats.

Ken Watkin

Brigadier-General (Ret’d), OMM, CD, QC

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