2013 Lieber Conference

The Lieber Conference was held at Columbia Law School on November 21, 2013.  Various excerpts from the conference will be appearing in Vol. 53 of the Journal, as well as the Bulletin.  For more information on the conference, see below.

Lieber Conference

About the Conference Confirmed Speakers Conference Schedule | Contact Information

About the Conference


The Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute, the Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security, and the Lieber Society of the American Society of International Law invite you to:

From Gettysburg to Guantánamo:

150 Years of the Lieber Code and the Law of Armed Conflict

A Conference on November 21st, 2013
Columbia Law School’s Jerome Greene Hall
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

This conference is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Drafted by Columbia Professor Francis Lieber and signed by President Lincoln in 1863 as General Order No. 100, the Lieber Code regulated the conduct of U.S. soldiers during wartime. While the Code was limited to Union forces, the rules were based on customary law of the time and strongly influenced subsequent international codification of the law of armed conflict. The Code grappled with issues involving the regulation of armed conflicts between states and non-state groups that remain pressing today. This conference celebrating its 150th anniversary will explore the origins and import of the Lieber Code in its Civil War context, its impact on the development of international humanitarian law, and its continued significance to modern challenges in armed conflict.

Learn more about the link between Columbia Law School and the Lieber Code here.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Dapo Akande, University Lecturer in Public International Law and Co-Director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC)
  • Sir Daniel Bethlehem, Visiting Professor, Columbia Law School and former Legal Adviser to the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • Philip Bobbitt, Herbert Wechsler Professor of Federal Jurisprudence; Director, Center for National Security Law, Columbia Law School
  • Major-General Blaise Cathcart, Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces
  • Robert Chesney, Charles I. Francis Professor in Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
  • Sarah Cleveland, Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights; Faculty Co-Director, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School
  • Brigadier General Rich Gross, U.S. Army, Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Naz Modirzadeh, Senior Fellow, HLS-Brookings Project on Law and Security, Harvard Law School
  • Dr. Bruce Oswald, Associate Professor, Melbourne Law School
  • Jelena Pejic, Senior Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Sir Adam Roberts, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford; Emeritus Fellow, Balliol College, University of Oxford
  • Matthew Waxman, Professor of Law; Faculty Chair, Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security, Columbia Law School
  • John Fabian Witt, Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law, Yale Law School
  • Marten Zwanenburg, Senior Legal Advisor, Netherlands Ministry of Defense


Conference Schedule 


9:00 – 9:15      Introductions

      • Philip Bobbitt, Herbert Wechsler Professor of Federal Jurisprudence; Director, Center for National Security Law, Columbia Law School

9:15 – 10:30    Panel 1: The Lieber Code & the American Civil War

      • John Fabian Witt, Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law, Yale Law School
      • Robert Chesney, Charles I. Francis Professor in Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
      • Moderator: Sarah Cleveland, Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights; Faculty Co-Director, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

10:30 – 10:45  Break

10:45 – 12:00  Panel 2: Global Influence of the Lieber Code

      • Dapo Akande, University Lecturer in Public International Law and Co-Director of the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC)
      • Sir Adam Roberts, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford; Emeritus Fellow, Balliol College, University of Oxford
      • Moderator:  Philip Bobbitt, Herbert Wechsler Professor of Federal Jurisprudence; Director, Center for National Security Law, Columbia Law School

12:00 – 12:10  Break

12:10 – 1:20    Lunch Keynote Remarks

      • Brigadier General Rich Gross, U.S. Army, Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
      • Introduction: Sir Daniel Bethlehem, Visiting Professor, Columbia Law School and former Legal Adviser to the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office

1:20 – 1:30      Break

1:30 – 3:00     Panel 3: Contemporary Challenges in the Law of Armed Conflict:

                        Enforcement & Compliance

      • Major-General Blaise Cathcart, Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces
      • Jelena Pejic, Senior Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross
      • Marten Zwanenburg, Senior Legal Advisor, Netherlands Ministry of Defense
      • Moderator:  Matthew Waxman, Professor of Law; Faculty Chair, Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security, Columbia Law School

3:00 – 3:15      Break

3:15 – 4:45      Panel 4: A Lieber Code for the 21st Century? Harmonizing Standards in Armed Conflict

      • Sir Daniel Bethlehem, Visiting Professor, Columbia Law School and former Legal Adviser to the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office
      • Dr. Bruce Oswald, Associate Professor, Melbourne Law School
      • Naz Modirzadeh, Senior Fellow, HLS-Brookings Project on Law and Security, Harvard Law School
      • Moderator:  Brigadier General Rich Gross, U.S. Army, Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

4:45 – 5:00      Closing Remarks

      • Matthew Waxman, Professor of Law; Faculty Chair, Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security, Columbia Law School
      • Sarah Cleveland, Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights; Faculty Co-Director, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

5:00                Reception

Contact Information


Prof. Sarah Cleveland, scleve@law.columbia.edu
Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights; Faculty Co-Director, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

Prof. Matthew Waxman, mwaxma@law.columbia.edu
Professor of Law; Faculty Chair, Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security, Columbia Law School