Author: Kevin Jon Heller

Via its Minister for the Environment, the Belgian government has announced that it intends to incorporate the crime of ecocide into its Penal Code: A concept now recognized in the national penal codes of 10 countries (Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Vietnam and France), the crime of ecocide refers to all illegal actions that lead to the...

On Tuesday, the Office of the President of Ukraine issued a press release concerning plans for creating a Special Tribunal for Russian Aggression. Most of the information in the press release was boilerplate, reaffirming the need for such a tribunal and expressing hope that the international community will get behind one. One comment, however, set off my lawdar: As noted at...

As part of my position at the University of Copenhagen's Centre for Military Studies, I have started a podcast entitled "Lex Ferenda: Conversations about Law and War." Here is the general description: This podcast involves monthly hour-long video interviews with experts whose work and practice focuses on how international law affects the conduct of military operations. Guests will normally be drawn...

John Heieck has been putting together our weekly Events & Announcements post since we relaunched Opinio Juris -- more than 160 posts. But all good things must come to an end, so it's time to say goodbye to John. All of us at OJ want to express our profound gratitude for his efforts, and we wish him nothing but the...

I don't often write about animal-rights issues here at Opinio Juris, because I'm sure many readers view the systematic murder of tens of billions of animals each year for food as less important than the many atrocities involving humans that take place all over the world. I don't agree with that perspective, but I certainly understand it. So I save...

Please think about submitting an abstract for a conference on the legacy of the much loved, much missed, and much lamented Robert Cryer. The conference announcement is below: Robert Cryer: A Life in Law and a Law unto Himself We greatly miss Professor Rob Cryer, who passed away in 2021 at the age of forty-six. We aim to channel this loss, those...

A little-known aspect of the war in Ukraine is that both Russia and Ukraine have deployed weapons that are capable of being used fully autonomously: for Russia, Lancet drones; for Ukraine, Punisher drones. Both weapons are capable of being operated semi-autonomously, and it is not clear whether Russia or Ukraine has used them in their fully autonomous mode. But the...

In an excellent recent blog post at Just Security, Tom Dannenbaum identified four options for prosecuting Russia's unprovoked aggression against Ukraine: [T]he International Criminal Court, an ad hoc international tribunal (whether along the lines proposed at Chatham House or pursuant to a General Assembly resolution), a domestic court exercising territorial jurisdiction (in Russia, Belarus, or Ukraine), or a domestic court exercising...

Every scholar, from the most junior to the most senior, has a horror story about the languorous pace of academic publishing. The journal that took six months to reject their article. The journal that took six months to ask them to revise and resubmit their article and then took another six months to reject the revisions. The journal that accepted...

When Telford Taylor was planning the trial programme for the Nuremberg Military Tribunals (NMTs), he was faced with a dilemma concerning the Nazis' pre-war mistreatment -- legal and physical -- of Jews and members of other despised groups. Unlike the London Charter, Control Council Law No. 10, the NMTs' enabling statute, did not require crimes against humanity to be committed...