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

As Director of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic, Laurie Blank teaches international humanitarian law and works directly with students to provide assistance to international tribunals, non-governmental organizations, and law firms around the world on cutting-edge issues in humanitarian law and human rights. Professor 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). 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 (USIP 2008, with G. Noone, second edition 2013). In addition, she is the series editor of the ICRC’s teaching supplements on IHL, a member of the American Bar Association’s Advisory Committee to the Standing Committee on Law and National Security, and a member of the Public Interest Law and Policy Group’s High Level Working Group on Piracy. Before coming to Emory, Professor 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.

She is the author of numerous articles and opinion pieces on topics in international humanitarian law, including, most recently, "Extending Positive Identification from People to Places: Terrorism, Armed Conflict and the Identification of Military Objectives" (Utah Law Review); "Losing the Forest for the Trees: Syria, Law and the Pragmatics of Conflict Recognition" (Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law); "Targeted Strikes: The Consequences of Blurring the Armed Conflict and Self-Defense Justifications" (William Mitchell Law Review); "After Top Gun: How Drone Strikes Impact the Law of War" (University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law); "A Square Peg in a Round Hole: Stretching Law of War Detention Too Far" (Rutgers Law Review); "Defining the Battlefield in Contemporary Conflict and Counterterrorism: Understanding the Parameters of the Zone of Combat" (Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law); and "The Application of IHL in the Goldstone Report: A Critical Commentary" (Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law).

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


Modern War Crimes: Accountability And New Technologies, Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming 2018 (with C. Jenks and R. VanLandingham)

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; 2ndenlarged and revised edition, 2013 (with G. Noone)

Journal Articles

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

“The Limits of Inviolability: The Parameters for Protection of United Nations Facilities During Armed Conflict,” International Law Studies (forthcoming 2016)

“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). 

Book Chapters

“Counterterrorism Laws and War,” in Routledge Handbook of Law and Terrorism, (Routledge, forthcoming 2014).

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

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

“Targeted Killing,” in Ashgate Research Companion to Military Ethics (James Turner Johnson and Eric Patterson, eds., 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, forthcoming 2014).

Opinions and Essays

"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

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).