Causation in international protection from armed conflict
Refuge from inhumanity ? : war refugees and international humanitarian law
Leiden ; Boston : Brill Nijhoff, 2014
This chapter takes an empirical point of departure, arguing that armed conflict has changed to increasingly expose civilians to the effects of war. Even if the literature on civil war shows strong correlations between conflict, social disorder and economic collapse, courts are still wrestling with the challenge of conceptualising these links in legal terms. Lambert’s contribution addresses the issue of causation as central to a proper understanding of how IRL can protect people fleeing the indiscriminate effects of generalised violence. In these cases, she argues, conventional causal analysis (or ‘effective causation’) does not adequately capture the complexity of contemporary refugee flows. Lambert advocates a ‘constitutive causation’ approach that opens up enquiry into the underlying material conditions that produce the threats that compel civilians to flee, and places weight on the experience and perceptions of the displaced. She asks whether IHL is currently equipped to play a significant role in our understanding of constitutive causation in the refugee context.