In this conversation with RevDem editor Ferenc Laczó, Boyd van Dijk – author of the new monograph Preparing for War: The Making of the Geneva Conventions – discusses what makes the Geneva Conventions such defining documents when it comes to formulating rules for armed conflict; how he has managed to trace the making of these documents and come to challenge their previous interpretations; how key parties to the drafting process may be compared; and how ideas of state sovereignty and of humanity came to shape the outcome in 1949. The conversation touches on urgent questions regarding the key achievements, shortcomings, and omissions of “the most important rules ever formulated for armed conflict” – and how current trends in scholarship may help us address them in innovative ways.
Boyd van Dijk is a McKenzie Fellow at the University of Melbourne. He was also a visiting fellow in Wolfson College and the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge. He taught previously at the London School of Economics, King’s College London, Queen Mary, and the University of Amsterdam. He studied Political Science and History in Amsterdam, Istanbul, Florence, and at Columbia University. He has published two monographs, articles, and essays in Humanity, the American Journal of International Law, Law and History Review, Yad Vashem Studies, Past & Present, as well as Dutch magazines and newspapers. Preparing for War: The Making of the Geneva Convention is released by Oxford University Press.