30 U. Pa. J. Int'l L. 1345 (2008-2009)
Back to the Future: De Facto Hostilities, Transnational Terrorism, and the Purpose of the Law of Armed Conflict

handle is hein.journals/upjiel30 and id is 1369 raw text is: BACK TO THE FUTURE: DE FACTO HOSTILITIES,
TRANSNATIONAL TERRORISM, AND THE PURPOSE OF
THE LAW OF ARMED CONFLICT
GEOFFREY S. CORN*
In the aftermath of World War II, the international community
set about to revise the Geneva Conventions. Three of the four
treaties that emerged from this effort, all of which had been
adopted to mitigate the suffering of victims of war, were in force
during the War. However, it was the failure of the law to fully
accomplish their humanitarian purpose that animated the revision
efforts.  These efforts culminated in 1949 with four treaties
addressing the plight of four particular groups of war victims,
treaties which have since earned the distinction of being the only
international agreements to be universally ratified.
The substantive advances in the Law of Armed Conflict
(LOAC) contained in these treaties reflect these. Of the many
lessons learned in the battle laboratory of World War II, perhaps
most profound was that even the most comprehensive treaty
regime is meaningless unless it is applied and respected by the
parties to a conflict. Prior to World War II, it was simply assumed
that the law established to regulate war would apply to war.
However, the limits of this assumption were exposed during both
World War II and the civil wars that occurred the inter-war years.
* Associate Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law. Prior to joining
the faculty at South Texas, Mr. Corn served as the Special Assistant to the US
Army Judge Advocate General for Law of War Matters, and Chief of the Law of
War Branch, US Army Office of the Judge Advocate General International and
Operational Law Division. Mr. Corn also served as a member of the US Army
Judge Advocate General' Corps from 1992 - 2004. Previously, he was a
supervisory defense counsel for the Western United States; Chief of International
Law for US Army Europe; and a Professor of International and National Security
Law at the US Army Judge Advocate General's School. Mr. Corn has served as an
expert consultant to the Military Commission Defense team, and has published
numerous articles in the field of national security law. He is a graduate of
Hartwick College and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and
earned his J.D., highest honors at George Washington University and his LL.M.,
distinguished graduate, at the Judge Advocate General's School. He frequently
lectures on law of war and national security law topics.

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