The dynamics of multilateral treaty negotiation: learning from the production of the international civil war regime 1949-1998

Thursday, April 4, 2019 13:00to14:30
Chancellor Day Hall NCDH 316, 3644 rue Peel, Montreal, QC, H3A 1W9, CA

The Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and Professor Frédéric Mégret welcome Henry Lovat, University of Glasgow School of Law.


The evolution of international humanitarian law during the latter half of the 20th century to encompass the conduct of non-international armed conflict presents a political puzzle: governments have traditionally sought to retain broad discretion in responding to rebellion, yet the 1949 Geneva Conventions, 1977 Additional Protocols and 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court each make increasingly demands of governments engaged in civil wars (the “civil war regime”).

“Negotiating Civil War” applies an IR-derived, theoretically pluralist lens to explain the evolution of this regime via multiple rounds of multilateral treaty negotiation. The project highlights the extent to which drafting outcomes have reflected the ability of treaty negotiators to frame arguments in terms of shared principles and values. In contrast, technical expertise and great power preferences have had only limited impact on drafting outcomes. What lessons can be learned from these processes for the law of non-international armed conflict, and for the conduct of multilateral treaty negotiations more generally?

About the speaker

Henry Lovat (PhD Hebrew University), LLM (Toronto), MA (McGill), BA Hons (Manchester) is Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow School of Law. His research focuses on the production and operation of international legal regimes and institutions, particularly international courts. He is currently completing a book project on the evolution of the international “civil war regime” regulating internal armed conflict. Henry was formerly a legal adviser with the UK Government.

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