Law School News

STCL Houston Professor Moderates International Security Law Conference

South Texas College of Law Houston Professor Geoffrey S. Corn – a retired lieutenant colonel and senior law of war expert for the U.S. Army – this week moderated a key international security law conference hosted by the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.

The conference, entitled, “A Region in Turmoil: Conflicts in the Middle East – Law and Policy,” drew some of the nation’s preeminent military and security law officers, and addressed legal, political, and religious issues currently impacting Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.

The day-long event assessed ongoing conflicts in the region, including persistent hostilities involving ISIS, from both a policy and legal perspective.

Keynote speakers included:

• Jessica McFate, director of tradecraft and innovation at the Institute for the Study of War, and former active duty intelligence officer for the U.S. Army;
• Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait, and Lebanon, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom; and
• Colonel Pat Huston, staff judge advocate (chief counsel) of the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, responsible for U.S. military operations in the Middle East.

Corn – whose 22-year military career included roles as supervisory defense counsel for the Western United States; chief of international law for U.S. Army Europe; chief of the Law of War Branch, Office of the Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army; and chief prosecutor for the 101st Airborne Division – moderated a panel entitled, “The Middle East Conflicts and the Law of Armed Conflict.”

Panelists included:

• Retired Brigadier General Ken Watkin, former judge advocate general of the Canadian Armed Forces;
• Retired Brigadier General Rich Gross, former legal counsel to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and
• Michael Meier, senior civilian adviser to the Army Judge Advocate General on matters related to the law of war.

Corn noted that, throughout the conference, “We addressed challenges related to identifying who qualifies as an enemy combatant when fighting non-state groups, applying civilian protection rules to conflicts with enemies such as ISIS who deliberately expose civilians to risk, how advances in technology are impacting the ability to expand the reach of hostilities against terrorist threats, and how international law might impact the treatment of captives under our new administration.”