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UK defense minister calls for changes to laws of war, review of Geneva Conventions

[JURIST] British Defense Minister John Reid [official profile; BBC profile] on Tuesday called for changes to the international rules of war, including the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials], in order to allow countries to better confront terrorism and other threats. In a speech [full text] before the Royal United Services Institute [official website], Reid said that traditional legal frameworks like the Geneva Conventions should be evaluated for their ability to deal with terrorism, preemptive conflicts and internal conflicts in foreign countries. According to Reid:

Until recently it was assumed that only states could cause mass casualties – and our rules, conventions & laws are largely predicated on that basis. That is quite plainly no longer the case. I believe we need now to consider whether we – the international community in its widest sense - need to re-examine these conventions. If we do not, we risk continuing to fight a 21st Century conflict with 20th Century rules.
Reid went on to defend controversial new anti-terrorism legislation [JURIST report], which allows the detention of terror suspects without charge and criminalizes a new offense for glorifying terrorism.

Reid said further debate and revisions to international agreements were necessary to ensure the continued relevance of international law and the UN. BBC News has more.

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