Weekend Roundup: November 25-30, 2012

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Kevin Jon Heller wrote about Niger’s offer to extradite Saadi Gaddafi to the ICC, should this be requested. Kevin also discussed the conditions attached by the UK for a vote in favour of Palestine’s “non-member state” bid in the UN General Assembly. The requirement that the Palestinian authority does not apply for ICC or ICJ membership most likely proved to be a dealbreaker, as the UK ultimately abstained. Following the vote, Kevin argued that Palestine can accept the ICC’s jurisdiction retroactively by making a simple declaration, which triggered a long discussion in the comments.

Membership of international courts was also discussed by Julian Ku, who pointed to Colombia’s decision to withdraw from the 1948 Bogota Treaty’s provision granting jurisdiction to the ICJ over disputes between the parties. Further on Latin American states and international courts, Julian posted a link to his Forbes.com op-ed on Argentina’s arguments against Ghana concerning the seizure of the ARA Libertad, and a link to the webcast of the oral hearings on the case at the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea.

Two of our bloggers were critical of reporting by the Associated Press. First, Julian argued that the AP’s conclusion that Columbia’s withdrawal from the ICJ does not reduce the ICJ’s authority was incorrect. Kevin also put AP to shame over a fraudulent graph used to report Iran’s alleged efforts to build a nuclear weapon.

Ken Anderson drew our attention to a report by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School Human Rights Clinic calling for a ban on autonomous weapons systems, and contrasted this with the conclusion he and Matthew Waxman have reached in a recent policy essay. In a related post he discussed the incremental approach advanced by a DOD Directive on the topic, released almost simultaneously as the HRW Report.

Efforts to create a legal framework for targeted killings prompted Deborah Pearlstein to ask what the end game is and what strategy determines the choice of targets. Ken chimed in with excerpts from a speech delivered on Friday by DOD General Counsel Jeh Johnson. Deborah followed up by welcoming Johnson’s reflections about the need to challenge the assumption of war as the new normal.

In a guest post, Chris Jenks argued that the negotiations of a status of forces agreement between the US and Afghanistan are likely to stumble over the question of foreign criminal jurisdiction over US service members, as they did in Iraq.

In other posts, Peter Spiro questioned the motives behind Spain’s decision to extend citizenship to Sephardic Jews whose ancestors were expelled 500 years ago, and contrasted this with the stringent naturalization requirements for Moroccan migrants, and Kevin linked to a summary of the Lago Agrio case.

As always, we also provided you with daily news wraps.

Have a nice weekend!

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