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Guest lecture by Prof. Scovazzi: Aerial bombing: a history of neglected international law

  • Prof. T. Scovazzi
Wednesday 18 April 2018
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague

Aerial bombing is a constant item in the news. We hear so much on aerial bombing that some people are growing indifferent to this tragic practice. Aerial bombing however is not just an item to fill newspapers articles and the TV news, it is also a subject of study in many academic disciplines, from history to international law, from economics to psychiatry, and so on. This lecture is the result of a series of studies conducted by Professor Scovazzi on this very topical subject of human history from a legal and historical point of view. Professor Scovazzi argues that it is not possible to analyse aerial bombing, which frequently produces civilian casualties, without looking at this issue from a multidisciplinary perspective, which, in this case are history and law. This is particularly true when one considers that on occasion civilians are indeed the target of military action and not only casualties. This de-humanisation of warfare requires far-reaching research to understand its causes. An interdisciplinary approach is necessary for it seems that international law cannot rationalise and indeed put a halt to this hideous aspect of almost every war since the beginning of the twentieth century. Indeed in many instances international legal provisions have been trampled on or circumvented by States involved in armed conflicts. What is the reason for this neglect of international law and “humanism” which allows for such killing? This is a crucial question which Professor Scovazzi seeks to address in his research.


Tullio Scovazzi is professor of international law at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy. He occasionally takes part, as legal expert, in international negotiations and meetings relating to human rights, cultural properties, protection of the marine environment (UNESCO). He is the author and editor of many publications on international law, including Diritto internazionale e bombardamenti aerei [International Law and Aerial Bombardments] (Giuffre, Milan 2012) which constitutes the basis for this presentation.

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