The thickest grey : assessing the status of the civilian response corps under the law of international armed conflict and the U.S. approach to targeting civilians
Dan E. Stigall
Host item entries:
American university international law review, Vol. 25, no. 5, 2010, p. 885-914
This article explores the phenomenon of U.S. government civilians who engage in stability and reconstruction operations in conflict zones and their legal status under the law of armed conflict, paying specific attention to the corps of federal civilians being developed for this specific purpose: the Civilian Response Corps. The discussion herein reveals that the field of stability operations is a hybrid area that requires both civilian and military resources to attain a common objective - a fact that conflates the purposes and goals of both, and necessarily colors the civilians engaging in such work with a military tint. This hue of belligerence can translate into serious liability when considering the rather elastic approach some elements of the U.S. government have taken when determining which activity deprives civilians of their protections under international law. Ultimately, this article posits that the complex nature of civilian operations is such that neither the military nor civilians can be extricated from it. Accordingly, U.S. interests are best served by articulating a single, formal, and more restrictive interpretation of what it means to "directly participate in hostilities."