Department of War Studies
The Department of War Studies, King's College London, focuses on promoting understanding of war, conflict and international security. The podcasts highlight the department's research and teaching activities. They also cover events the department organises
Event: Developing an Academic Discipline of Wargaming
Date of Recording: 16/01/2019 Description: While a renaissance in wargaming is currently underway across the political, military, educational, and commercial sectors, there is no academic discipline dedicated to the study and practice of wargaming. While wargame design, research and execution is advancing, a lack of integration limits the impact of these innovative activities. And although the body of scholarly work on wargaming is growing, it has yet to be drawn together to develop best-practice guidance for research and teaching. In this public lecture, Dr Yuna Wong (RAND) discusses how we can build an integrated, globally-recognised academic field in which knowledge about wargaming may be produced, preserved, and transmitted. She addresses the questions: Why do we need an academic discipline of wargaming? What concrete steps can we take in the short and medium terms to establish such a discipline? What obstacles might we face in this endeavour? _______________________________ For more news and information on upcoming events, please visit our website at kcl.ac.uk/warstudies or follow us on Twitter @warstudies.
Podcast: From the Trial of the Kaiser to the ICC
Date of Publication: 19/01/2019 Description: We are going to kick off 2019 by exploring the development of international criminal law and justice, starting from the year 1919. Following the end of the First World War, the Allied nations of Britain, France and Italy agreed to try the former German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II before an international criminal tribunal, while the US stood largely opposed to such an unprecedented trial. During the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, International lawyers converged to debate on the development and application of international criminal justice for the first time and recommended that the Kaiser should be tried for war crimes. In order to break an impasse in negotiations between the US and the other Allied nations on the trial of the Kaiser, US President Woodrow Wilson would relent, agreeing to try the Kaiser for what he termed as a 'supreme offence against international morality'. This would become a part of the official wording Article 227 of the Treaty of Versailles, which called for the Kaiser’s trial. However, with the Kaiser successfully obtaining asylum in the Netherlands and the subsequent refusal of the Dutch to hand him over, the trial would never take place. Despite the Allied powers’ failed attempt to prosecute the Kaiser, this moment in history bears a special significance for the development of international criminal law and justice and marks the beginning of many salient legal debates present today, particularly those around the prosecution of a head of state. To help us further explore the importance of this moment to the development of international criminal law and Justice, Kirk Allen had the opportunity to speak with renowned international legal expert Prof William Schabas about his recent book, ‘The Trial of the Kaiser’. Also, following our interview with Prof Schabas, we will hear from one of the DWS’ own international legal experts, Dr Rachel Kerr, who focuses on international law, war crimes, and transitional justice. In our interview, we will discuss the development of international criminal law and justice since the Treaty of Versailles and discuss some of the successes and shortcomings of today's international legal institutions such the International Criminal Court (ICC). Bios: - Prof William A. Schabas, has been called 'the world expert on the law of genocide and international law.' He is Professor of international law at Middlesex University in London, Professor of International Law and Human Rights at Leiden University, distinguished visiting faculty at Sciences Po in Paris, and honorary chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. He is the author of more than twenty books in the fields of human rights and international criminal law. He drafted the 2010 and 2015 United Nations quinquennial reports on the death penalty and was a member of the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Professor Schabas is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Royal Irish Academy since 2007. Publications: https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=kiCThLQAAAAJ&hl=en 'The Trial of the Kaiser' - https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-trial-of-the-kaiser-9780198833857?cc=gb&lang=en& - Dr Rachel Kerr is a Reader in International Relations and Contemporary War in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. She joined the Department as a Lecturer in 2003, teaching on War Studies Online programmes, having previously worked in academic publishing for Polity Press. Dr. Kerr holds a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds and an MA and PhD in War Studies from King’s College London. Dr. Kerr co-directs the War Crimes Research Group. She also co-chair the BISA International Law and Politics Working Group and the London Transitional Justice Network. Publications: https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=8CXWqx0AAAAJ&hl=en
Event: The Military and Nigerian Politics
Date of Recording: 19/10/18 Description: Why and how do military governments surrender power to elected civilian governments? The nineteen years since Nigeria emerged from military rule and transitioned to democracy in May 1999 is the longest era of civilian rule in its history. After the military governed Nigeria for 29 of the previous 33 years, 1999 ended a long-standing pattern of failed attempts by military governments to cede power to civilians. However, the transition to civilian rule was not unconditional. Military governments often extract a “price” or concessions in exchange for departing from government. They may acquire economic, political, and other interests that they are reluctant to relinquish when military rule ends. The military ostensibly withdrew from government but maintained influence over its successors by confining them within militarily imposed boundaries. Former military rulers have governed Nigeria for 11 of the 19 years since 1999 (including the current president). Many prior studies in this area focused on external macro factors that cause military withdrawal from governance (such as pressure from external actors like the EU, USA, and UN, and the ‘snowballing’ effects of democratisation in other countries). A distinguishing feature of Nigeria’s transition from military to civilian rule was that the military itself initiated the transition and prepared the way for its own replacement. Why did it do so? Prolonged military rule corroded military professionalism and created intra-military cleavages, injected ethno-regional and political controversies into the military, increased the risk of military coups, and caused premature attrition from the officer corps. Thus pressure for an end to military rule ironically emerged from within the military. Extrication from governance was a decision of military self-interest to give the military space to restore professional norms, while simultaneously preserving influence over its successors, and insulating the military from transformational reforms. Bio: John Ubani Jr is a PhD student in the War Studies department. He is a "lawyer by day and a PhD student at night"! He is researching Nigeria’s 1999 transition from military rule to democracy, and the factors that influence military governments to surrender power to elected civilian governments. John is a corporate lawyer. He has an LLB law degree from University College London, a postgraduate degree in law from the College of Law, London, and a Masters degree in African Studies (with distinction) from SOAS.
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