Human Rights and Humanitarian Intervention: Law and Practice in the Field, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Human Rights and Humanitarian Intervention

Law and Practice in the Field, 1st Edition

By Elizabeth M. Bruch


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Human rights, peacekeeping, and humanitarian intervention have emerged in the past decades as important components of international law and practice. Adopting a methodology of Institutional Ethnography informed by Actor-Network Theory, this book traces the practices of law and expertise from global IGO headquarters to the ‘field’ and back again, and through various contemporary field missions from Bosnia to Afghanistan and East Timor to Sierra Leone.

It answers several fundamental questions:

  • How is human rights law engaged in ‘establishing the peace,’ ‘rebuilding the nation,’ and ‘restoring the rule of law’ in post-conflict situations?
  • How do human rights experts use law in their everyday work in the context of humanitarian intervention?
  • How are law and expertise established, sustained and transformed in the field? 

Offering a complex and nuanced explanation of humanitarian intervention based upon a multi-dimensional understanding of law and power, this book will be of interest and use to scholars, students and practitioners in international law and policy, human rights, and humanitarian intervention.  Its cross-disciplinary approach should also appeal to the professional communities engaged directly and indirectly with projects of humanitarian intervention – including staff at inter-governmental organizations, international lawyers and practitioners, and activists.

Table of Contents


1 Multi-dimensional law in humanitarian intervention: violence, bureaucracy, and governance

2 Power in writing: formal law, mandates, and reports in humanitarian intervention

3 Law in translation: human rights field officers as international experts

4 The rule of law in the field: standards, politics, and pragmatism


Appendix: Research and expertise in the field of humanitarian intervention

About the Author

Elizabeth M. Bruch is an Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Tacoma. She previously taught at the University of British Columbia, and on the law faculty at American University’s Washington College of Law, Arizona State University College of Law, and Valparaiso University School of Law. She also worked as a human rights lawyer and served for two years as the Executive Officer of the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

About the Series

Global Institutions

The "Global Institutions Series" is edited by Thomas G. Weiss (The CUNY Graduate Center, New York, USA) and Rorden Wilkinson (University of Sussex, UK).

The Series has two "streams" identified by their covers:

  • Blue covers offer comprehensive, accessible, and informative guides to the history, structure, and activities of key international organizations, and introductions to topics of key importance in contemporary global governance. Recognized experts use a similar structure to address the general purpose and rationale for specific organizations along with historical developments, membership, structure, decision-making procedures, key functions, and an annotated bibliography and guide to electronic sources.
  • Red covers consist of research monographs and edited collections that advance knowledge about one aspect of global governance; they reflect a wide variety of intellectual orientations, theoretical persuasions, and methodological approaches.

Together these streams provide a coherent and complementary portrait of the problems, prospects, and possibilities confronting global institutions today.

Learn more…

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