Professor Peter Rowe
Impact and Visibility
Professor of Law
Peter’s research interests mainly focus on the relationship among three strands of law. These are the international law of armed conflict, international human rights law and military law.
The international law of armed conflict, international human rights law and military law
Peter has written The Impact of Human Rights Law on Armed Forces which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2006. ‘This book considers those aspects of human rights law which may become relevant to the activities of armed forces whether they remain in barracks, undertake training or are deployed in military operations within their own state or outside it. The unique nature of military service and of military courts gives rise to human rights issues in respect both of civilians and soldiers, whether volunteers or conscripts, who find themselves before these courts. Rowe examines these issues as well as the application of international humanitarian law alongside the human rights obligations of the state when forces are training for and involved in armed conflict; where armed forces are deployed in situations of civil disorder; and where states contribute armed forces to multinational forces.’ (cambridge.org)
The book has been very well received:
'The publication of this book could not be timelier. … Rowe provides an excellent overview … This book is more than just an accessible introduction to the impact of human rights law on armed forces. Its importance lies in the foundation it lays for the future development of human rights law to meet these new legal challenges and perhaps setting a code of conduct for the military to adhere to. The appeal of this book is therefore not limited to military law academics and practitioners, but to anyone who has an interest in the evolution of human rights law.'
'This book will be of considerable use to scholars of international law and human rights, and also to military lawyers and legal advisers to governments and their armed forces.'
Criminal Law Forum
Peter has also published a number of journal articles on this area of his research as well as contributing chapters to a number of books. The complete list can be found on Peter's research profile.
Importance of research outside academia
Impact on public policy, law and services:
The European Commission requested that Peter prepare a paper and deliver it at a public hearing of the European Parliament: Subcommittee on Security and Defence, ‘Conscientious Objection’ on 22nd January 2009. His paper was entitled ‘Illegal Orders and the Rights of Soldiers’.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Office for the Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) asked Peter to present a paper on introducing the Handbook on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Armed Forces Personnel (OSCE/ODIHR, 2008, on which Peter was a member of the expert review panel to evaluate an earlier draft) at the Parliament of Serbia in Belgrade, 2010.
Peter was asked by OSCR/ODIHR to peer review an ‘Opinion on the Draft Law of the Republic of (a particular State) on the Disciplinary Rule Book of the Armed Forces’.
Peter was asked to conduct a comparative study (the UK) for investigating alleged breaches of the international law of armed conflict by the Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31st May 2010 (the Turkel Commission, an Israeli judicial commission).
Peter was an invited speaker at UNESCO International Expert Seminar, Protecting Education from Attack in Paris 2009. He spoke on ‘The application of international humanitarian law to attacks on education in armed conflict’. Published by UNESCO.
Peter is an invited member of the Legal Advisory Group of Education Above All, ‘a Qatar based NGO dedicated to protecting education from attack to supporting and promoting the right to education during conflict.’
Peter’s article ‘Military Misconduct during International Armed Operations: ‘Bad Apples’ or Systemic Failure?’ (2008) 13 Jo Conflict & Security Law pp. 165-189, was referred to during argument in the Baha Mousa Public inquiry.
Peter’s memorandum to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution (before which Peter was also invited to give oral evidence), 15th Report of the Session 2005-06, Waging War: Parliament’s Role and Responsibility (2006), HL Paper 236-11, pp. 18-21 is cited in evidence given to the Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill, May 2008. Reference is at www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200708/jtselect/jtconren/166/166ii.pdf
Improved public understanding:
Peter was asked by the Imperial War Museum North to participate in a public debate on 'How useful is the current definition of Prisoner of War in terms of 21st century conflict?' in October 2009
Peter was a panellist on BBC Radio 4 'Misleading Evidence' with Clive Anderson in 2008 on the topic of alleged abuses by British soldiers during the armed conflict in Iraq.
Impacts on professional services:
Peter was invited to speak at ‘The Law of Armed Conflict in Afghanistan’, a transatlantic discussion by videoconference, connecting the Lauterpacht Centre, Cambridge University with the Pentagon, the State Department, US Naval War College and Fort Lewis in Washington State on 6th May 2010.
Peter contributed to Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol 3 (2011); 'Armed Conflict and Emergency' and 'Armed Forces', which is primarily a definitive practitioners’ work.
Peter has also given lectures to military legal advisors on international human rights law and the armed forces and on the international law of armed conflict in Belgrade, Vienna, Arnhem, the National Defence College and the Brigade Legal Officers Course (British Army).
View Peter's full profile