USC Gould Professor Marcela Prieto wins new authors book honor

Heidi Ried-Gonzaga • October 30, 2023
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“The Morality of the Laws of War” wins 2023 American Branch International Law Association New Authors Book Award

Professor Marcela Prieto’s first book, “The Morality of the Laws of War: War, Law, and Murder” (Oxford University Press), has been named the 2023 American Branch International Law Association (ABILA) New Authors Book Award. Just completed this year, Prieto’s book explores her scholarly interests in international law, international armed conflict and moral philosophy.

Each year, the ABILA gives the New Authors Book Award to the best first book published on international law by an author who has not previously published a book on international law or any other subject.

“It is an honor and very exciting [to receive this award],” says Prieto. “I’ve been working on this project for several years and to see it recognized by ABILA is just wonderful.”

Prieto’s book is an expansion of ideas developed in her JSD dissertation at New York University, “The Laws of War: The Fragility in Regulating Killing,” which won the 2021 NYU University-Wide Outstanding Dissertation Award in Social Sciences.

“I started studying the detail of the laws of armed conflict and realized I was curious about the underlying normative questions, such as, why have a legal regime that permits combatants to kill each other irrespective of the kinds of war they fight, why tolerate collateral damage to civilians, why aim at reducing suffering through law, and so on,” says Prieto. “This naturally led me to delve into moral philosophy and the discussions concerning just war theory. I thus wanted to write something that could speak to both international lawyers and those more interested in moral and political philosophy.”

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