Melbourne Journal of International Law, Vol. 13-1: Opinio Juris Online Symposium

Melbourne Journal of International Law, Vol. 13-1: Opinio Juris Online Symposium

The Melbourne Journal of International Law is delighted to continue our partnership with Opinio Juris. This week will feature three articles from Issue 13(1) of the Journal. The full issue is available for download here.

Today, our discussion commences with Spencer Zifcak’s article ‘The Responsibility to Protect after Libya and Syria’. Professor Zifcak draws on the disparate responses to the humanitarian disasters of Libya and Syria to examine the current status of the Responsibility to Protect. The respondents to this piece will be Ramesh Thakur and Thomas Weiss.

On Thursday, we continue with Darryl Robinson’s article ‘How Command Responsibility Got So Complicated’. Professor Robinson identifies an initial error in the development of command responsibility jurisprudence — namely, the contradiction generated between the ‘failure to punish’ strand of command responsibility, and its requirement that a defendant causally contribute to a crime — that has lead to confusion about the scope of the doctrine. Ilias Bantekas, Jens David Ohlin and James Stewart will respond to these remarks.

On Friday, our symposium will conclude with Michelle Foster’s contribution, which builds on her article ‘The Implications of the Failed “Malaysia Solution”: The Australian High Court and Refugee Responsibility Sharing at International Law’. The decision of the High Court in M70/2011 v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship invalidated the Australian Government’s attempts to implement a regional agreement with Malaysia for the processing of refugees on the grounds that such arrangements violated legislative requirements that reflected protections under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (‘Refugee Convention’). In light of this, Professor Foster’s contribution analyses recent Australian Government amendments to such legislative protections and addresses whether these amendments are consistent with the Refugee Convention. Mary Crock and Susan Kneebone will respond.

We hope that you enjoy participating in the upcoming discussion. We once again thank Kevin Jon Heller and the team at Opinio Juris for the opportunity to host this symposium. For further information about the Journal, the editors may be contacted at law-mjil [at]

Martin Clark, Nuwan Dias and Eamonn Kelly

2012 Editors

Sanishya Fernando

2012 Commentaries Editor

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looking forward to the discussion re: command responsibility or the criminal responsibility known as dereliction of duty, especially because it is an independent form of responsibility that can involve a criminal negligence form of mens rea with respect to the “should have known” element AND there is no requirement of “causation” under customary law.  For example, a commander can be independently derelict in duty after the fact, i.e., after those under her command have committed war crimes, she knows of such or a reasonable commander under the circumstances should have known of such, she has had an opportunity to act [it is not a strict liability form of criminal responsibility], and she fails to take reasonable corrective action.