- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces bombarded rebel-held suburbs of Damascus today, keeping up pressure on the besieged region a day after the opposition accused the army of gassing hundreds in a chemical weapons attack.
- In response, the U.N. Security Council said it was necessary to clarify the alleged chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus, but stopped short of explicitly demanding a probe by U.N. investigators in Syria.
- Two of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s most senior aides pressed the Guardian newspaper to hand over or destroy intelligence secrets leaked by Edward Snowden, according to political sources.
- Professor Schabas has a new post on his blog, PhD Studies in Human Rights, entitled: Attendance at Trial and the Kenya Cases Before the International Criminal Court.
- The Economist has a story covering the increasing flow of drugs and arms into North Africa since the Arab Spring.
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- Japan will dramatically raise its warning about the severity of a toxic water leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant today, upgrading the threat from a level 1 “anomaly” to a level three “serious incident” on an international scale for radiological releases.
- The British government, accused of abusing media freedom, has said police were right to detain a journalist’s partner if they thought lives might be at risk from data he was carrying from fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. Reuters reports that Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the detention of David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald’s partner.
- Israelis and Palestinians held a third round of negotiations yesterday, and Israel’s chief representative at the talks predicted the U.S.-brokered peace process would lead to dramatic Israeli decisions.
- The US government is pushing for an acceleration of preliminary hearings in the case of five alleged September 11 plotters as proceedings resumed in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
- Europe’s foreign ministers are set to decide how to use their economic muscle to force the Egyptian government to end a crackdown on deposed President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
- U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday he was “deeply disturbed” by the deaths in custody of 37 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and condemned an ambush by Islamist militants that killed 25 Egyptian policemen.
- A leading diplomat from the U.S. State Department and the U.S. ambassador to Syria will meet with a Russian delegation in The Hague next week to discuss plans for a peace conference to end the civil war in Syria.
- The European Commission has warned Spain against imposing an entry tax into Gibraltar, saying it would be illegal under EU law.
- According to the Nigerian military, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the armed group Boko Haram, may have died of gunshot wounds some weeks after a clash with soldiers.
- Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald has said he will not be deterred from further reporting after the British government detained his partner and confiscated electronic data, a detention Human Rights Watch has said appears to be aimed at intimidating journalists.
- In related news, The Guardian says the British government threatened legal action against the newspaper unless it either destroyed the classified documents or handed them back to British authorities.
- Pakistani ex-President Pervez Musharraf has been indicted on three charges over the 2007 assassination of opposition leader and former PM Benazir Bhutto.
- A U.N. panel will start hearing harrowing testimony from North Korean defectors today in a move that will likely mobilize public opinion on abuses in the one-party state that comes at or near the bottom of most measures of freedom.
- British authorities used anti-terrorism powers yesterday to detain Glenn Grenwald’s partner (Greenwald is the journalist with close links to Edward Snowden, the former U.S. spy agency contractor who has been granted asylum by Russia), as he passed through London’s Heathrow airport. Greenwald’s reaction is here, calling the incident “a failed attempt at intimidation.’
- A defense lawyer who gained rare access to an ultra-secret section of the Guantanamo Bay prison has said that the camp does not meet international standards under the Geneva Conventions, an allegation denied by the chief prosecutor for the US military’s war crimes tribunal.
- The CIA has finally acknowledged it was behind the 1953 Iranian coup d’état, 60 years after the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh.
- A team of U.N. chemical weapons experts have arrived in Damascus and will start to investigate the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria’s civil war.
- The Faroe Islands has initiated arbitration against the EU pursuant to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in connection with a dispute over fishing rights.
- A prize has been established by the Society of International Economic Law and Cambridge University Press for the best essay submitted on any topic in any field of international economic law. The competition is open to all current undergraduate and graduate students of any university or other tertiary education institution, and those who have graduated from a university or other tertiary education institution no earlier than five years before the submission deadline (i.e., those who graduated prior to 30 September 2008 are not eligible for the 2013 Prize). The prize consists of £200, as well as £300 of Cambridge University Press book vouchers and a three year subscription to the World Trade Review. The winning essay will be submitted to the World Trade Review for publication, and the prize winner will be invited to present the winning entry at the 2014 SIEL Conference at the World Trade Institute, Bern.The deadline for submission is 30 September 2013. For more information, click here.
- The American Bar Association Section of International Law will host a one-day International Legal Education Summit in London, England on Saturday, October 29, 2013. Registration will be FREE but space is limited. (Please register ONLY if you are sure you can go.) The International Legal Education Summit is designed to foster innovative exchanges and networking. There will be special programming for students and new lawyers, small group information and innovation exchanges for educators and lawyers, and plenary session roundtables on the changing aspects of international legal practice and the future of international legal education. Programs will be held at the University of Law in Moorgate (City of London). Download information about the London Education Summit 2013. The registration link is included in the flier.
Call for Papers
- A call for papers has been issued for a conference on Constitutionalisation and Fragmentation of International Law Revisited November 18-19, 2013, at the Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, in Warsaw. The call can be found here.
Last week’s events and announcements can be found here. If you would like to post an announcement on Opinio Juris, please contact us.
This week on Opinio Juris, Kevin welcomed the new international criminal law blog Beyond The Hague to the blogosphere and sparked much debate with his post based on Judge Harhoff’s recent comments about the ICTY Appeals Chamber’s Perisic adoption of the specific-direction requirement and followed-up with a second post on the topic clarifying what the specific-direction requirement entails. Kevin also questioned the latest in the Libya and Saif Gaddafi situation, with Libya’s statement that they aren’t able to surrender him, but they could, in fact, prosecute him.
Kristen pointed to the recently released fifth report from the UN Secretary General on R2P and highlighted several interesting topics that are strangely missing, including discussion about Libya, military intervention or the Security Council, extraterritorial obligations of states, the ICC and new technology. Duncan called our attention to a novel agreement between the US and Germany not to spy on one another and asked wondered how it would work in practice.
In our Emerging Voices series, Žygimantas Juška spoke about the role of standby counsel based on his experience at the ICTY on the Karadzic Defense Team, Elizabeth Stubbins Bates’s post investigated whether the dissemination of IHL was sufficient in promoting the compliance thereof, a spirited exchange of commentary ensued with John Heieck’s piece controversially suggesting that Russia and China breached their duty to prevent war crimes in Syria, Bharat Malkani pondered whether international law may forbid complicity in the death penalty in light of a recent sentencing in Kenya, and Elizabeth Holland rounded out the week talking about the effect of counterterrorism measures balanced against humanitarianism needs, particularly about access to areas controlled by armed groups.
Thank you to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!
- Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called for the U.N. Security Council to convene quickly and act after what he described as a massacre in Egypt.
- The UN has said the departure of a team of chemical weapons inspectors to Syria was “imminent.”
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has insisted that US drone strikes must operate within international law.
- International medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres has announced it will pull out of Somalia saying the threat of deadly violence had become intolerable.
- Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have reconvened US-brokered peace talks.
- North and South Korea have agreed to resume operations at Kaesong, their troubled joint industrial park, after a series of talks.
- North and South Korea are holding fresh talks on reopening the Kaesong joint industrial park, ahead of South Korea-US military exercises next week.
- United Nations inspectors are investigating a North Korean ship caught carrying arms from Cuba amid suspicion that the vessel is in breach of a wide-ranging arms embargo on North Korea.
- British energy giant BP is suing the US government for banning it from federal contracts after the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
- The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has opened its latest round of work in Geneva with a focus on stopping the spread of racist hate speech on the Internet and social media networks, as well as the need to use education to prevent racism and xenophobia.
- Human Rights Watch alleges that militants who carried out a series of bomb attacks in Iraq at the end of July, deliberately killing more than 60 people, committed crimes against humanity.
- UK authorities announced that they are considering legal action against Spain to force the country to loosen border controls in Gibraltar.
- In response, a Spanish foreign minister said that Spain will not back down on implementing tighter controls at its border with the disputed British territory of Gibraltar, escalating the row between the two countries.
- U.S. hopes of landing a coveted deal worth more than $4 billion to sell 36 fighter jets to Brazil have suffered a setback with recent revelations that the United States collected data on Brazilian Internet communications.
- Reuters has an insight into the geopolitical landscape after the drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan and what that may mean for India-Pakistan relations.
- According to an Israeli military official, Israel shot down a rocket aimed at its southern resort city of Eilat, blowing it up in mid air near the border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula,
- India and Pakistan have exchanged more gunfire across the disputed border in Kashmir, as a 10-year ceasefire frays over accusations of killings of soldiers deployed on the frontline.
- Israel published a list of 26 Palestinian prisoners set to go free within days, some after spending more than two decades behind bars, in the first stage of a deal that led to a resumption of U.S.-backed peace talks last month.
- Israel also gave preliminary approval for 800 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, put on the market plots for 1,200 more and were set to lay the cornerstone for a new settlement neighborhood consisting of scores of homes in occupied East Jerusalem, a move Palestinians see as undermining the peace process.
- More than 100 people have been killed since Friday in Sudan’s strife-torn Darfur region in clashes between two tribes over land.
- An al-Qaeda affiliate said it carried out Saturday’s bombings in Iraq, which killed dozens of people, in response to a government campaign to arrest suspected militants.
- Tensions are escalating at the India-Pakistan border region of Kashmir, with India for the first time directly accusing Pakistan’s army of involvement in an ambush that killed five Indian soldiers, and Pakistan’s military accusing Indian forces of wounding a Pakistani civilian after opening fire.
- In other escalating-tensions news, four Chinese ships spent more than 24 hours in what Japan sees as its territorial waters, prompting a Japanese protest to China at a time when Japan has been signaling its desire for a summit.
- Russia has voiced disappointment with US President Barack Obama’s decision to cancel his Moscow summit with President Vladimir Putin, but said it remains ready to co-operate on bilateral and international issues.
- CNN reports that it has uncovered exclusive information relating to the attack on 11 September 2012 in Benghazi stating that there were dozens of CIA operatives on the ground active in the city during the attack, though it is unclear what they were doing at the time.
- Two Pakistani soldiers were wounded in an exchange of fire with Indian troops along the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir in the latest flare-up of tensions.
- The Leiden Law Blog has published an analysis on the Guatemalan genocide case against former president José Efraín Ríos Montt.
- The recent closures of US and UK embassies around the Middle East and Africa were allegedly prompted by intercepted messages from al-Qaeda leaders. Some national security and counterterrorism analysts are left shaking their heads in response as to why such a broad geographic range of embassies were closed.
- Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist who published documents leaked by fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, plans to make new revelations “within the next 10 days or so” on secret U.S. surveillance of the Internet.