research99 DGSi Working Papers





Emily Chrystie

The Suspension of Legal and Moral Norms at the EU’s Mediterranean Sea Borders

No. 2, 2018

In recent years, the EU has seen an increase in security measures at its Mediterranean borders. A corresponding increase in migrant fatalities at sea and rhetoric concerning the threat of unsecured movements of people into the EU has contributed to the political construction of maritime migration as both an existential threat and a moral crisis. In developing an understanding of how these two concepts shape the treatment of migrants at sea, this paper addresses the question of how legal and moral norms come to be suspended in cases of maritime migration.

By identifying cases at the EU’s Mediterranean borders in which legal and moral norms are suspended and analysing subsequent institutional discourse and public reaction, this paper engages with contemporary debates to situate the biopolitical control exerted over human life at the EU’s maritime borders within broader processes of securitisation. This analysis identifies an incoherence in the relationship between institutional discourse and practice, which results in the perception and treatment of migrants as bare life, existing in a state of exception in which the sovereign state exerts its power to suspend the rule of law. It is argued that maritime border control, as a manifestation of biopower, directly contributes to both the insecurity of the border, and deaths at the border, that it discursively opposes.

Read the entire paper here:  EmilyChrystie2018ThesuspensionofLegalandMoralNormsfinal


Ben McGuckin

The Conflict Between Armed Conflicts: Dispensing with the Distinction Between International and Non-International Armed Conflicts

No. 1, 2018

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 created a legal distinction between international and non-international armed conflicts. This strict divide was upheld by the Additional Protocols of 1977. The principal reasons for this divide was that states did not want international law dictating what could be done by the state to quash an internal rebellion. International armed conflicts had a robust set of laws regulating them, while non-international armed conflict regulation was under-developed and insufficient. However, international law has come a long way since the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols. In recent years, there has been a convergence between the law of international and non-international armed conflicts, with the majority of the laws of the former being applicable to the latter. However, some discrepancies remain, the most significant of which is the concept of combatant status. The principal concerns of sovereignty which originally drove the distinction, while still being important at the political level, are becoming overstated today and have become diluted with the concerns of humanitarian protection for those in non-international armed conflicts. With these concerns of humanitarian protection in mind, this paper argues for a unification of the laws of armed conflict under a single framework.

Read the entire paper here: McGuckin2017TheConflictBetweenArmedConflicts-FinalforDGSI1