Saira Mohamed is a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, where she specializes in criminal law and human rights. In her Academy project, Mohamed examines how international and...
Anna-Maria Kellen Lecture
Cannon Fodder: The Human Rights of Soldiers
International humanitarian and criminal law have established the obligations of states and non-state actors toward civilians and enemy combatants. But they have long treated soldiers as expendable resources to be exploited by their governments. In this talk, Saira Mohamed looks more closely at this dominant view, in particular the durability of the grim, underlying idea of military service members as “cannon fodder.” She explores how the notion of expendability further influences legal rules, including those regarding conscription and the duty of subordinates to disobey illegal orders. She also assesses the broader failure of international human-rights law to adequately address the treatment of service members by the states they serve.