Prof. O’Connell to discuss Iran and counter-proliferation at conference

Author: Susan Good

Mary Ellen Oconnell

Mary Ellen O’Connell, the Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law and Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution—Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame, will speak at Friday’s (Oct. 2) annual conference of the Security and Defence Forum centres. The conference, titled “International Security Challenges and the Law: Constraining or Enabling Effective Policy?” takes place in Ottawa, Canada.

O’Connell leads the Law and Counter-proliferation panel, for whom she will present remarks on “Legal Limits on the Use of Force in Counter-proliferation—the Case of Iran.”

According to O’Connell, “A preemptive strike on Iranian Nuclear Facilities, even if authorized by the Security Council, is not supported by either the international law of self-defense under Articles 2(4) and 51 of the UN Charter or the principles of necessity and proportionality. Under the current facts, a preemptive strike would not have the proper defensive purpose and, without overt Iranian action, the calculus of necessity and proportionality would be reckless, undermining the restraint on defensive force under current international principles.”

The Security and Defence Forum (SDF) centres are twelve independent Centres of Expertise in Canadian and international security and defense issues, supported through grants from the Security and Defence Forum program at the Department of National Defence. The centres include more than 700 faculty, researchers, students and staff from fourteen universities across Canada.

O’Connell is an expert on the international law governing the use of force. She chairs the International Law Association’s Committee on the Use of Force and is the author of the leading American law school casebook on the subject: International Law and the Use of Force, Cases and Materials (Foundation 2d ed. 2009). She is the lead author of the next edition of The International Legal System (Foundation 6th ed. 2010) as well as the author of The Power and Purpose of International Law (OUP 2008) and International Law and the “Global War on Terrorism” (Editions-Pedone 2007) among many other books and articles.

She teaches a number of courses in the international law area including international law, international law and the use of force, international art law, international dispute resolution, and international environmental law, as well as the law of contracts.

O’Connell is a member of the American Society of International Law, the International Law Association, the Germany Society of International Law, and the International Institute for Humanitarian Law.

For more on Professor O’Connell, visit her faculty profile web page.