Drawing on its world-class faculty and its extraordinary students, the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (HLS PILAC) provides a space for research on critical challenges facing the various fields of public international law related to armed conflict — including the jus ad bellum, the jus in bello (international humanitarian law/the law of armed conflict), international human rights law, international criminal law, the law of state responsibility, and other relevant fields. In collaboration with student researchers, scholars, and practitioners, we engage with states, intergovernmental organizations, U.N. system actors, and NGOs through an array of activities.

Objective and Approaches

HLS PILAC’s objective is to explore and understand contemporary challenges concerning armed conflict through the lens of international law. Its mode is critical, independent, and rigorous. Its methodology fuses traditional public international law research, creative engagement with the ever-growing range of actors influencing contemporary battlefields, and targeted analysis on changing security environments.

The Program does not engage in advocacy. While its contributors may express a range of views on contentious legal and policy debates, HLS PILAC does not take institutional positions on these matters. With a focus on depth over breadth, the Program reaffirms the centrality of international law in regulating war-fighting, in diminishing the harmful effects of armed conflict, and in protecting civilians.

Founding Core Donor

The establishment of PILAC is made possible through the generous support of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.