Diffusion of Conventional Arms Norms: NGOs, Landmines, Small Arms, and Cluster Munitions

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm
Center for Legislative Studies (CLS), Auditorium

In the last 20 years a silent revolution has taken place in the area of arms control.  International campaigns established regimes outlawing the use of landmines, curtailing the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, and limiting the utilization of cluster munitions.  The negotiations establishing these international regimes have all been concluded in a relatively short time span, all included non-state actors, and all were based on principles of international humanitarian law.  In this paper I describe the process by which the principles of humanitarian laws were accepted as applicable to landmines, cluster munitions, and small arms and light weapons.  I contend that the acceptance of the principles of humanitarian law is determined by the proportionality of the military advantage gained and the humanitarian cost of employing the weapon in question.  In this equation the security calculation carries more weight than the humanitarian cost calculation.

Dr. Aart Holtslag, Department of Political Science

Aart Holtslag is Assistant Professor of Political Science.   A native of the Netherlands, he earned a “Doctoraal” degree (similar to Masters) in Political Science from the Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen (now Radbout Universiteit) and a Diplôme in International Human Rights Law from the International Institute of Human Rights of the University of Strasbourg, France.  Aart used his degree to work with several non-governmental and international organizations researching human rights situations throughout the world.  While working with Haitian refugees in Miami, he started his PhD in International relations at Florida International University working with Susan Waltz (former chair of AI’s International Executive Board) and Nicholas Onuf.  His dissertation, “Against Small Arms: An International Network Analysis”, explored the role of non-state actors in the quest to create a treaty to limit the trade in small arms and light weapons.  Aart’s academic experience prior to arriving at Shepherd University includes teaching at Florida International University, the New Bulgarian University, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.  His research interest can be described as “the role of the individual in global politics” and includes work on human rights, international law, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations.