Dustin A. Lewis is a Senior Researcher at the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (HLS PILAC). With a focus on public international law sources and methodologies, Mr. Lewis leads research into several wide-ranging contemporary challenges concerning armed conflict. He examines such topics as silence, use of force, and self-defense; impartial medical care, including medical ethics; civilian protection in partnered conflicts; the points at which armed conflicts legally end; and intersections between counterterrorism frameworks and humanitarian action. Among his current areas of focus, Mr. Lewis heads the research for the project on “International Legal and Policy Dimensions of War Algorithms: Enduring and Emerging Concerns.”
Mr. Lewis oversees HLS PILAC’s publications, research assistants, and online platforms. He contributes to the Program’s events, case studies, and workshops. And he regularly presents research to an array of audiences, such as governments (including military, foreign-policy, human-rights, and humanitarian departments); the United Nations system; members of the media; and non-governmental organizations. Before helping establish HLS PILAC in 2014, Mr. Lewis served in a variety of roles, including as a Senior Researcher at the HLS–Brookings Project on Law and Security; a Project Manager and Technical Lead at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the HLS Library; a Program Associate at the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at the Harvard School of Public Health; and a Visiting Professional in Chambers at the International Criminal Court. He is an honors graduate of Harvard College (A.B.) and Utrecht University School of Law (LL.M.).
Biography last updated: July 2019.
Legal Research Fields
International humanitarian law/law of armed conflict/jus in bello
International criminal law
International law pertaining to (non-)use of force (jus ad bellum, jus contra bellum, etc.)
International human rights law
Responsibility of states and of international organizations
International legal aspects of (counter)terrorism
The U.N. Security Council.
HLS PILAC Reports
“Quantum of Silence: Inaction and Jus ad Bellum,” 2019 (co-author with Naz K. Modirzadeh and Gabriella Blum) (including Annex of apparent “article 51 communications”)
“Armed Non-State Actors and International Human Rights Law: An Analysis of the Practice of the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly,” June 2017 (co-author with Jessica S. Burniske and Naz K. Modirzadeh)
“Indefinite War: Unsettled International Law on the End of Armed Conflict,” Legal Briefing, Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, February 2017 (co-author with Gabriella Blum and Naz K. Modirzadeh). See also a related Lawfare post [link]
“War-Algorithm Accountability,” Research Briefing, Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, August 2016 (co-author with Gabriella Blum and Naz K. Modirzadeh). See also related Lawfare post and PHAP Expert Briefing question-and-answer.
“Suppressing Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Supporting Principled Humanitarian Action: A Provisional Framework for Analyzing State Practice,” Briefing Report, Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, October 2015 (co-author with Jessica Burniske and Naz K. Modirzadeh)
“Medical Care in Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law and State Responses to Terrorism,” Legal Briefing, Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict, September 2015 (co-author with Naz K. Modirzadeh and Gabriella Blum). See also related Lawfare post; Lawfare podcast; Bill of Health Blog post; and PHAP Online Expert IHL Briefing.
Select Blog Posts
“Legal reviews of weapons, means and methods of warfare involving artificial intelligence: 16 elements to consider,” Humanitarian Law and Policy Blog, March 21, 2019
“Expert views on the frontiers of artificial intelligence and conflict,” Humanitarian Law and Policy Blog, March 19, 2019 (co-author)
“The Pentagon’s New Algorithmic-Warfare Team,” Lawfare, June 26, 2017 (co-author)
“Indefinite War,” Lawfare, February 27, 2017 (co-author)
“Accountability for Algorithmic Autonomy in War,” Lawfare, September 12, 2016 (co-author)
“Amid Investigations of Hospital Bombings, Don’t Lose Sight of Key Principles,” Lawfare, October 30, 2015 (co-author)
“PILAC Report on Wartime Medical Care for Terrorists,” Bill of Health Blog, October 5, 2015
“Medical Care in Armed Conflict: IHL and State Responses to Terrorism,” Lawfare, September 8, 2015 (co-author)
HLS PILAC Online Resources
“Annex — HLS PILAC Catalogue of Communications to the Security Council of Measures Taken by United Nations Member States in Purported Exercise of the Right of Self-Defense: October 24, 1945 through December 31, 2018,” editor, 2019
“Database of States’ Statements (August 2011–November 2016) concerning Use of Force in Relation to Syria,” project director, May 2017
“International Counterterrorism Efforts: An Initial Mapping,” editor and project director, February 2015
Harvard Law School Case-Study Simulation Exercises
“Civilian Protection in Partnered Conflicts: Case-Study Simulation Exercise,” Harvard Law School Case Studies Program, October 2018 (co-author)
“Somalia in Crisis: Famine, Counterterrorism, and Humanitarian Aid: Case-Study Simulation Exercises,” Harvard Law School Case Studies Program, February 2015 (co-author):
“Criminalization” of Humanitarian Action under Counterterrorism Frameworks: Key Elements and Concerns, 112 American Society of International Law Proceedings 268 (2018)
Floor, Sword, Compass, Shield: Evaluating the Contribution of the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Respect of Medical Activities in Line with Medical Ethics, in 48 Proceedings of the Bruges Colloquium 37 (2018)
Humanitarian Exemptions from Counter-terrorism Measures: A Brief Introduction, in 47 Proceedings of the Bruges Colloquium 141 (2017)
Chapters in Edited Volumes
“Jurisdictional Arrangements and International Criminal Procedure,” in International Criminal Procedure: Principles and Rules (Göran Sluiter, Håkan Friman, Suzannah Linton, Sergey Vasiliev, and Salvatore Zappalà eds., Oxford, 2013), pp. 116–128, published as part of the International Criminal Procedure Expert Framework (co-author, with Sarah M. H. Nouwen)
Working Group Briefing Memoranda
Katie King with Naz K. Modirzadeh and Dustin A. Lewis, “Understanding Humanitarian Exemptions: U.N. Security Council Practice and Principled Humanitarian Action,” Working Group Briefing Memorandum, Counterterrorism and Humanitarian Engagement Project, April 2016.
Humanitarian Practice Network Paper
“Counter-terrorism laws and regulations: what aid agencies need to know,” Humanitarian Practice Network Paper, Overseas Development Institute, No. 79, November 2014 (co-author)
Select Research and Policy Papers
“An Analysis of Contemporary Counterterrorism-related Clauses in Humanitarian Grant and Partnership Agreement Contracts,” Research and Policy Paper, Counterterrorism and Humanitarian Engagement Project, May 2014 (unattributed)
“An Analysis of Contemporary Anti-Diversion Policies and Practices of Humanitarian Organizations,” Research and Policy Paper, Counterterrorism and Humanitarian Engagement Project, May 2014 (unattributed)
“Humanitarian engagement under counter-terrorism: a conflict of norms and the emerging policy landscape,” International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 93, No. 883, pp. 623–47 (Sept. 2011) (co-author)
“Unrecognized Victims: Sexual Violence against Men in Conflict Settings under International Law,” Wisconsin International Law Journal, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 1–49 (2009)