This panel will explore the deep and persistent challenges facing NATO and American forces operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, generating insights into the capacity of international humanitarian law to limit suffering in counterinsurgency warfare and the extent to which forces are, in fact, meeting their obligations under the law.
Moderator: Mary Ellen O'Connell, University of Notre Dame Law School
Paul Pillar, Center for Peace and Security Studies, Georgetown University John Radsan, William Mitchell College of Law Hina Shamsi, New York University School of Law Ganesh Sitaraman, Harvard Law School
Mary Ellen O'Connell
Mary Ellen O'Connell joined the faculty as the Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law in 2005. Prior to joining the Notre Dame faculty, Professor O'Connell was the William B. Saxbe Designated Professor of Law at the Moritz College of Law of Ohio State University. She earned her B.A. in History, with highest honors, from Northwestern University in 1980. She was awarded a Marshall Scholarship for study in Britain. She received an MSc. in International Relations from the London School of Economics in 1981, and an LL.B., with first class honors, from Cambridge University in 1982.
She earned her J.D. from Columbia University in 1985, where she was a Stone Scholar and book review editor for the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. After graduation, she practiced with Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. She then taught at Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington; at The Bologna Center of The Johns Hopkins University, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Bologna, Italy; and the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany; and the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Paul R. Pillar is a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for Security Studies of Georgetown University and a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community. His senior positions included national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, deputy chief of the DCI Counterterrorist Center, and executive assistant to the director of Central Intelligence. He is a Vietnam War veteran and a retired officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. Pillar received an A.B. summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, a B.Phil. from Oxford University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University. His books include Negotiating Peace: War Termination as a Bargaining Process (1983), Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy (2001), and Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform (2011). He blogs at nationalinterest.org.
John Radsan has served as a federal prosecutor and as assistant general counsel at the CIA, in addition to his work as a corporate lawyer and consultant. Professor Radsan has also advised officials from other countries, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Ukraine.
He founded the National Security Forum with several goals in mind: to host events on the theme of safeguarding this country and its liberties; to bring an ongoing discussion of this subject to the Midwest; and to increase public awareness, influence policy, and facilitate scholarship.
Hina Shamsi is director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Security Project, which is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. counterterrorism policies and practices do not violate the Constitution or the United States’ obligations under international law. She is litigating the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the U.S. government’s killing of three U.S. citizens in Yemen in 2011. She has litigated numerous cases relating to post-9/11 torture, unlawful detention, discrimination against racial and religious minorities, and the freedoms of speech and association. Shamsi teaches a Columbia Law School course on international human rights, and has monitored and reported on the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay. She previously directed Human Rights First's Law & Security Program, and also served as senior advisor to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions.
Ganesh Sitaraman is the Public Law Fellow at Harvard Law School, where his research focuses on law and national security, counterinsurgency,
constitutional interpretation, and the relationship between law and politics.
He also leads the Democratic Renaissance Project, a
network of young progressives working to develop and cultivate promising new ideas and candidates and to educate progressives on public philosophy and history. In addition, he has worked on over a
dozen political campaigns, investigated terrorism with ABC News' Investigative Unit, and consulted at the World Bank's Inspection Panel.
Hina Shamsi, a senior UN advisor on extrajudicial executions, discusses the escalation of U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan from 2008 to present day. She also expands on the disputed number of civilian casualties.
"It's indisputable that these causalities have deeply negative consequences for U.S. policy in Pakistan," she says.