Faculty Profiles

Laurie R. Blank

Laurie R. Blank

Clinical Professor of Law

Areas of Expertise

International Humanitarian Law, Law of Armed Conflict, International Criminal Law, National Security Law

Curriculum Vitae

Assistant: Eadie Bridges


Laurie R. Blank is clinical professor of law and the director of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic at Emory University School of Law, where she teaches the law of armed conflict and works directly with students to provide assistance to international tribunals, non-governmental organizations and militaries around the world on cutting edge issues in humanitarian law and human rights. Blank is the co-author of International Law and Armed Conflict: Fundamental Principles and Contemporary Challenges in the Law of War, a casebook on the law of war (with G. Noone, Aspen Publishing 2013; Concise Edition 2016).  She is also the co-director of a multi-year project on military training programs in the law of war and the co-author of Law of War Training: Resources for Military and Civilian Leaders. Blank is a core expert on the Woomera Manual on International Law Applicable to Conflict in Outer Space and a member of the Air and Missile Project on Legal Education. In addition, she is the chair of the American Society of International Law Lieber Prize Committee and the series editor of the ICRC’s teaching supplements on IHL, and was a term member of the American Bar Association’s Advisory Committee to the Standing Committee on Law and National Security (2011-2014), a member of the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council Subcommittee on Countering Violent Extremism, and a member of the Public Interest Law and Policy Group’s High Level Working Group on Piracy.

She is the author of numerous articles and opinion pieces on topics in the law of armed conflict, including targeted killing and drone strikes, the classification of armed conflict, implementation of the law of armed conflict during military operations, cyber war, and law and legitimacy in armed conflict.  Before coming to Emory, Blank was a program officer in the Rule of Law Program at the United States Institute of Peace. At USIP, she directed the Experts’ Working Group on International Humanitarian Law, in particular a multi-year project focusing on New Actors in the Implementation and Enforcement of International Humanitarian Law.

Education: JD, New York University School of Law (Henry L. Boudin Fellow for Human Rights, 1996–1998) (cum laude); MA, International Relations, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University (with distinction); AB, Political Science, Princeton University (cum laude)


Incitement to Terrorism, Brill/Nijhoff 2018 (with A. Bayefsky)

International Law And Armed Conflict: Fundamental Principles And Contemporary Challengesin The Law Of War, Concise Edition, Aspen, 2016 (with G. Noone)

International Law And Armed Conflict: Fundamental Principles And Contemporary Challenges In The Law Of War, Aspen, 2013 (with G. Noone)

Law Of War Training: Resources For Military And Civilian Leaders; U.S. Institute of Peace, 2008; 2nd enlarged and revised edition, 2013 (with G. Noone)

Journal Articles

"Examining the Role of Law of War Training in International Criminal Accountability,” 2017 Utah Law Review 747 (2017)

“The Extent of Self-Defense Against Terrorist Groups: For How Long and How Far?,” 47 Israel Yearbook on Human Rights265 (2017)

“The Limits of Inviolability: The Parameters for Protection of United Nations Facilities During Armed Conflict,” 93 International Law Studies 45 (2017)

“In Response to Professor Oren Gross’ ‘The New Way of War: Is There a Duty to Use Drones?’,” 67 Florida Law Review Forum 38 (2015)

"Identifying the Start of Conflict: Recognition, Operational Realities, and Accountability in the Post-9/11 World," 36 Michigan Journal of Internaitonal Law (forthcoming 2014).

"Direct Participation: Law School Clinics and International Humanitarian Law," 95 International Review of the Red Cross (forthcoming 2014).

"Investigations into Military Operations: What Impact on Transitional Justice?" 47 Israel Law Review (forthcoming 2014).

"Rules of Engagement And Legal Frameworks for Multinational Counter-Piracy Operations," 46 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 397 (2013)

"Debates and Dichotomies: Exploring the Presumptions Underlying Contentions About the Geography of Armed Conflict," 16 Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law (2013).

"Rules of Engagement and Legal Frameworks for Multinational Counter-piracy Operations," 46 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law (2013)

"Belligerent Targeting and the Invalidity of a Least Harmful Means Rule," 89 Naval War College International Law Studies 536-626 (2013) (with G. Corn, C. Jenks and E. Jensen).

Learning to Live with (a Little) Uncertainty: The Operational Aspects and Consequences of the Geography of Conflict Debate, 161 University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online 347-361 (2013)

"Extending Positive Identification from People to Places: Terrorism, Armed Conflict and the Identification of Military Objectives," Utah Law Review (2013).

"Losing the Forest for the Trees: Syria, Law and the Pragmatics of Conflict Recognition," 46 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 693-746 (2013) (with G. Corn).

"International Law and Cyber Threats from Non-State Actors," 89 Naval War College International Law Studies 406-437 (2013).  Also published in 43 Israel Yearbook on Human Rights (2013).

"Presidential Foreign Policy: An Opportunity for International Law Education," 45 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 1-7 (2012).

"Targeted Strikes: The Consequences of Blurring the Armed Conflict and Self-Defense Justifications," 38 William Mitchell Law Review 1655-1700 (2012).

"After 'Top Gun': How Drone Strikes Impact the Law of War," 33 University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law 675-718 (2012).

"Taking Distinction to the Next Level: Accountability for Fighters’ Failure to Distinguish Themselves from Civilians," 46 Valparaiso University Law Review 765-802 (2012).

"Complex Legal Frameworks and Complex Operational Challenges: Navigating the Applicable Law Across the Continuum of Conflict, 26 Emory International Law Review (2012). 

"Understanding When and How Domestic Courts Apply International Humanitarian Law," 44 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 1-20 (2011)

"The Consequences of a "War" Paradigm for Counterterrorism: What Impact on Basic Rights and Values?," 46 Georgia Law Review 719-741 (2012)

"A Square Peg in a Round Hole: Stretching Law of War Detention Too Far," 64 Rutgers Law Review 1169-1193 (2011)

"A New Twist on an Old Story: Lawfare and the Mixing of Proportionalities," 43 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 707-738 (2011)

"Defining the Battlefield in Counterterrorism and Contemporary Armed Conflicts: Understanding the Parameters of the Zone of Combat," 39 Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law 1-38 (2010)

“Characterizing United States Operations in Pakistan: Is the U.S. Engaged in an Armed Conflict?,” 34 Fordham International Law Journal 151-189 (2011) (with B. Farley)

“Finding Facts but Missing the Law: The Goldstone Report and Lawfare,” 43 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 279-305 (2010)

“In Counterterrorism, The Law of War is a Key Source of Law for the Courts,” 32 ABA National Security Law Report 1, 7-11 (Winter 2010); part of a dialogue with G. Corn, “The Problem With Law Avoidance,” 32 ABA National Security Law Report 1, 4-7 (Winter 2010)

“Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: Operationalizing the Law of Armed Conflict in New Warfare,” 1 Harvard National Security Journal 45-85 (2010) (with A. Guiora)

“The Application of IHL in the Goldstone Report: A Critical Commentary,” 12 Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law 347-402 (2009)

  • Reprinted in THE GOLDSTONE REPORT “RECONSIDERED”: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS (Gerald Steinberg & Anne Herzberg, eds 2011)

“Updating the Commander’s Toolbox: New Tools for Operationalizing the Law of Armed Conflict,” PRISM: A Journal of the Center for Complex Operations Vol 1:3, 59-78 (June 2010) (with A. Guiora)

“The Laws of War in Shakespeare: International vs. Internal Armed Conflict,” 30 New York University Journal of International Law and Politics 251 (Fall 1997/Winter 1998)

“United Nations Sanctions: Creating a More Effective Tool for the Enforcement of International Law,” 48 Austrian Journal of Public and International Law 161-195 (1995)

Book Chapters

“Assessing LOAC Compliance and Discourse as New Technologies Emerge: A New “Effects Problem”?, in The Impact of Emerging Technologies on the Law of Armed Conflict (forthcoming 2018)

“Muddying the Waters: Precision-Guided Terminology in the DoD Law of War Manual,” in The United States Department of Defense Law of War Manual: Commentary & Critique (forthcoming 2018)

“New Technologies and the Interplay between Certainty and Reasonableness: What Impact for the Law of Armed Conflict,” in Complex Battlespaces: The Law of Armend Conflict and the Dynamics of Modern Warfare (forthcoming 2017)

“Media Warfare, Propaganda and the Law of War,” in The Ethics of Soft War (forthcoming 2016)

“The Proportionality Principle in War,” in The Use of Force: Military Power and International Politics, Rowman & Littlefield (8th Edition, 2015)

“What’s in a Word: War, Law and Counterterrorism,” in Routledge Handbook of Law and Terrorism, Routledge (2014)

“Military Operations and Media Coverage: The Interplay of Law and Legitimacy,” in Routledge Handbook on Military Ethics, Routledge (2015)

“The Use of Force Against Pirates,” in Prosecuting Maritime Piracy: Domestic Solutions to International Crime, Cambridge University Press (2014)

“Targeted Killing,” in Ashgate Research Companion to Military Ethics, Ashgate (2014)

“Cyber War/Cyber Attack: The Role of Rhetoric in the Application of Law to Activities in Cyberspace,” in Cyberwar: Law & Ethics for Virtual Conflicts, Oxford University Press (2014)

“Les Véhicules Aériens Inhabités et le Droit des Conflits Armés,” in Les Drones Aériens: Passé, Présent et Avenir. Approche Globale, La Documentation française (2013)

“Due Process and Terrorism,” in National Security Law: Fifty Years of Transformation From the Past to the Furture, an Anthology, American Bar Association (2012) (with A. Guiora)

“The Laws of War: Regulating the Use of Force,” in The Journalists' Guide to National Security Law, American Bar Association (2012) (with G. Corn)

“Rules of Engagement: Law, Strategy and Leadership,” in Aspects of Leadership: Ethics, Law and Spirituality, Marine Corps University Press (2012)

Opinions and Essays

“Syria Strikes: Legitimacy and Lawfulness,” Lawfare (April 16 2018).

“Shovels: Lawful Weapon or War Crime?”, Lawfare (January 16, 2018).

“Self-Defense Against Terrorists: How Long and How Far?”, JURIST(March 14, 2017).

“Return of ‘Black Site’ Prisons Would be a Return to Darkness,” The Hill (January 30, 2017).

“Cicero, International Law and the Oil in Iraq,” Jurist (September 24, 2016).

“Karadzic Conviction a Reminder of Genocide’s Horror,” CNN.com (March 24, 2016) (with G. Corn).

“ISIS Committed Genocide: Are the Gloves Off?”, CNN.com (March 18, 2016) (with G. Corn).

“Determining When the Armed Conflict with Al-Qaeda Started,” Just Security (March 11, 2016) (with B. Farley).

“Tough Talk on Torture is Unethical – and Dangerous,” The Hill (February 19, 2016).

“Obama’s Speech and the Rhetoric of War,” The Hill (December 9, 2015).

“Was the U.S. Attack on the Kunduz Hospital a War Crime?,” WashingtonPost.com (October 8, 2015).

  • Also published in Newsweek: “Was the Kunduz Bombing a War Crime? Not So Fast,” Newsweek.com (October 8, 2015).

“What the UN Report on Gaza Left Out,” The Hill (July 7, 2015).

“The UN Gaza Report: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose,” Lawfare (June 29, 2015).

“Israel’s Report on the 2014 Gaza Conflict,” JustSecurity.org (June 18, 2015).

"Surveying Proportionality: Whither the Reasonable Commander?" Just Security (March 25, 2015).

Guantánamo, Detainee Reengagement, and Tackling Hard Questions," The Hill (March 13, 2015).

"The Limits of Inviolability: UN Facilities during Armed Conflict," Jurist (January 22, 2015).

"Torture, the Senate Report, and Keeping Our Eye on the Ball," The Hill (December 22, 2014).

“The Law of War’s Essential Role in Containing Brutality: Syria’s Painful Reminder," Global Policy Journal (July 2013) (with G. Corn).

Book Review, "What is War? An Investigation in the Wake of 9/11 and International Law and the Classification of Conflicts," 107 American Journal of International Law (October 2013).

“Protecting Civilians or Using Them as Pawns: The Israel-Hamas Conflict,” Jurist, December 1, 2012.

"Targeted Killing’s Flexibility Doctrine that enables US to Flout the Law of War," The Guardian, August 10, 2012 (with A. Guiora).

"Syria Must Be Held to the Law of War," CNN.com, April 4, 2012 (with G. Corn).

"Blurring the Legal Lines on Targeted Strikes," Jurist, February 2, 2012.

“Operational Law Experts Roundtable on the Gotovina Judgment: Military Operations, Battlefield Reality and the Judgment’s Impact on Effective Implementation and Enforcement of International Humanitarian Law,” Emory International Humanitarian Law Clinic report, January 26, 2012.

“Gaddafi’s Demise and the Law of War: Lessons from Literature,” Jurist, October 22, 2011.

Presentations, Interviews, and Appearances

Legal Issues in the D-Day Normandy Campaign, Marine Corps War College, April 25, 2018

Complexity and the 21st Century Battlespace, Complexity and Security: The Role of the Law?, Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, Duke University School of Law, February 23-24, 2018

Assessing LOAC Compliance and Discourse as New Technologies Emerge: A New “Effects Problem”?, The Impact of Emerging Technologies on the Law of Armed Conflict, Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare, United States Military Academy, October 25, 2017

The Extent of Self—Defense Against Terrorists: How Far and How Long?, SMU Dedman School of Law, April 19, 2017

Bombing Terrorist Revenue: Legitimate Military Strategy or War Crime of Attacking Civilian Objects?, American Society of International Law Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., April 14, 2017

The Laws of War: Do They Matter?, Michigan State University College of Law, November 14, 2016

Remote Control Weapons and International Humanitarian Law, Sixth Advanced International Humanitarian Law Summer Session for Lecturers, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, August 29-31, 2016

A New Twist on an Old Story: Lawfare and the Mixing of Proportionalities, Minerva Center for Human Rights, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, November 15-17, 2015

Legal Issues of Future War, American Bar Association 25th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law, November 5-6, 2015, Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Airstrike that Targeted a Doctors Without Borders Hospital, The Kathleen Dunn Show, Wisconsin Public Radio, wpr.com, October 8, 2015

Interview on international law in urban combat, IDC Radio.

Interview on counterterrorism, international law, and evolving threats, IDC Radio.

“Legitimacy and Law of War Compliance,” at “Challenges of Warfare in Densely Populated Areas,” sponsored by the Institute for National Security Studies and the International Committee of the Red Cross, in Tel Aviv, Israel (December 2, 2014).

“Israel-Hamas 2014: War, Law and Legitimacy," Carol Becker Middle East Security Speaker Series, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, Syracuse University.

Lecture, "End of War," Kennedy School of International Affairs, Brigham Young University (November 13, 2014).

Roundtable discussion participant on international law in urban war zones at the International Institute for Counterterrorism’s 14th World Summit in Herzliya, Israel and speaker at the summit’s “New Battlefields/Old Laws: The Next Steps in Counterterrorism: Adapting to an Evolving Threat and an Expanding Battlefield,” (September 11, 2014).