Have the Rules of War Changed; Are they Still Relevant?

Mar. 9, 2021
Office of Communications
Col. Randy Bagwell
Randy Bagwell, retired U.S. Army Colonel and expert on international humanitarian law, will share his thoughts on the Geneva Conventions during a virtual lecture hosted by Assumption on March 30.

Retired U.S. Army Colonel and expert on international humanitarian law, Randy Bagwell, will present a lecture titled, “Do the Geneva Conventions Still Matter?” on Tuesday, March 30 at 4 p.m. via Zoom. 

The year 2019 marked the 70th anniversary of the adoption of   the Geneva Conventions, a series of international treaties ensuring the humane treatment of prisoners and non-combat civilians during wartime.   During his lecture, Col. Bagwell will examine several pressing and provocative questions surrounding the Conventions and their relevance in a world where armed conflicts are being waged predominantly by non-State entities, rather than by governments. The lecture will explore questions such as:

  • Do these groups honor the rules of war found in the Geneva Conventions? 
  • Should U.S. military forces comply with the rules of war when the other side doesn’t? 
  • Have limitations, such as the prohibition of torture, run their course? 
  • Who decided that the rules of war found in the Geneva Conventions should apply to the U.S.? 
  • Do these rules really reflect American values or are they European rules designed to make the U.S. weaker?

Col. Bagwell is the senior director of international services for U.S programs at the American Red Cross, in which he is responsible for the dissemination of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) throughout the United States.  Prior to joining the Red Cross in 2018, he served for more than 35 years as an infantry officer and as a legal advisor for the United States Army, during which he was deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq. Col. Bagwell has dedicated his career to teaching IHL to soldiers, commanders, and the public in more than 20 countries.  He has served as the dean of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School in Charlottesville, VA, and has taught IHL at the U.S. Naval War College, the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies, and the NATO School.  

Col. Bagwell has testified twice before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the U.S. House of Representatives on IHL-related issues.  In his nearly four decades of combined active duty, Army Reserve, and National Guard service, he has been awarded the Legion of Merit four times, and has received the Bronze Star for meritorious service three times.

This lecture serves as the annual Grall Neafsey Lecture, a series that promotes conversations about peace and conflict in the modern world. It is co-sponsored by the Ecumenical Institute at Assumption University.  The lecture is free and open to the public.

Register in advance for this webinar here