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Lawfare (law + warfare) is a term used to describe legal actions that are meant to disrupt or harass an opponent, a means to score propaganda points, or to dissuade critics from publishing or voicing their opinions. The lawfare term has been utilized by states (or associated groups) to refer to civil society actions meant to use international law or international measures (e.g, universal jurisdiction, UN General Assembly motions, or civil society tribunals) to challenge the behavior/positions of states. Alternatively, lawfare also refers to disruptive and expensive legal actions by political legal groupings or states against civil society groupings or legal organizations (e.g., Israeli government or political grouping suing human rights organizations).

There are currently several conferences held at US, UK and Israeli universities focusing on lawfare. A section at the Herzeliya Conference in Israel is devoted to lawfare. And a variety of groups have arisen to combat lawfare or use it to their own advantage, e.g., The Lawfare project[1].

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External Resources


  1. The Lawfare Project (Accessed: 15 February 2010)