Weekend Roundup: September 15-21, 2012

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we posted Harold Koh’s speech on international law in cyberspace, delivered earlier this week, as part of our efforts to make important international law speeches more readily available.

The decision by the Obama administration to requalify the tragic events in Libya on September 11 as a terrorist attack rather than a spontaneous reaction provides a further basis, according to Julian Ku, for the legality of any US retaliation using armed force, including on the basis of the UAMF.

Julian also followed up on last week’s post on articles 22 and 29 of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations, which confirms the inviolability of embassy premisses and of the person of the diplomatic agent. This time the issue arose in China where protesters attacked the car of US ambassador Gary Locke and “egged” the Japanese embassy. In further posts, Julian addressed the controversy over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands that triggered the egging incident. He speculated that Japan is probably not interested in bringing the sovereignty dispute before the ICJ because it already possesses the disputed islands. He pointed out how the US, despite its official stance of neutrality, may still be dragged into the dispute based on article V of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security which applies to any territory under the administration of Japan.

Kevin Jon Heller reported on the trial of Buzeid Dorda, a senior intelligence officer in the Gaddhafi regime, which has been suspended multiple times now after constitutionality challenges by the defence based on due process violations by the prosecution. Kevin argued that this could give support for the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber to reject Libya’s admissibility challenge against Saif, because his domestic case has seen more systematic due process violations.

Kevin was critical of the Obama administration’s decision to no longer list the MEK, aka the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran, as a terrorist organisation, noting that the group was found to be involved in plots to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists only recently.

Peter Spiro pointed to the ground-breaking creation of three privatized cities in Honduras, and Robyn Curnow contributed a guest post on the Pussy Riot sentencing, in which she shone a light on how the charge of hooliganism may have increased the appeal of the case in the West due to the different connotations of this term in different jurisdictions.

Finally, as every week, we posted a listing of upcoming events and our weekday news wrap.

Have a nice weekend!


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