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Weekend Roundup: February 21- March 6, 2015

by An Hertogen

This fortnight on Opinio Juris, Kristen discussed the Elders Proposal for Strengthening the UN and its proposals to change the selection process for the position of the Secretary-General

Jens pointed out how the end of an armed conflict can be as legally complex as its start, and wrote about the proposed CIA reorganisation.

Patryk Labuda contributed a guest post on hybrid justice in Africa

Julian asked whether Japan will embrace the ‘illegal but legitimate view of the UN Charter’s limits on the use of force. He also wondered whether the proposed Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act amounts to a violation of the principle of non-intervention. Julian then argued that the proposed Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act would only impose modest oversight on the administration, and should therefore not be vetoed by the President, although he pointed out that it is close to having enough votes to override a veto. Julian also updated us on the latest steps in the Ghana-Côte d’Ivoire ITLOS arbitration.

Kevin traced the march of the “unwilling and unable” doctrine through academia and spread the news about job vacancies at SOAS

Jessica wrapped up the international news headlines (1, 2) and we listed events and announcements (1, 2).

Have a nice weekend!

http://opiniojuris.org/2015/03/07/weekend-roundup-february-21-march-6-2015/
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Weekly News Wrap: Monday, March 2, 2015

by Jessica Dorsey

Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:

Africa

Middle East and Northern Africa

Asia

Europe

Americas

Oceania

UN/World

http://opiniojuris.org/2015/03/02/weekly-news-wrap-monday-march-2-2015/
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Weekly News Wrap: Monday, February 23, 2015

by Jessica Dorsey

Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:

Africa

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • US-led air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Syria have killed more than 1,600 people since they began five months ago, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
  • The UN special envoy to Syria is travelling to Damascus to try to reduce the fighting which has intensified in Aleppo, where rebels claim to have killed 300 government soldiers in the past week.
  • A Moroccan court sentenced a former Spanish soldier to eight years in jail on Friday on charges of leading an Islamist network in the kingdom that was plotting terror attacks, the state news agency MAP said.

Asia

  • North Korea has banned foreign runners from participating in an international marathon scheduled to be held in the capital in April, citing fears about the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, a Beijing-based travel agency said.
  • Nearly three months after police cleared away the last of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy street protests, lingering anger is stoking a new front of radical activism that has turned shopping malls and university campuses into a fresh battleground.

Europe

Americas

  • High-level nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran resumed in Geneva on Monday as both sides work through technical and political differences to come up with an initial deal by a March 31 deadline.
  • Indonesia has recalled its new ambassador to Brazil after the South American country stopped him taking part in a credentials ceremony following the execution of a Brazilian national for drugs trafficking.

Oceania

UN/World

http://opiniojuris.org/2015/02/23/weekly-news-wrap-monday-february-23-2015/
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Weekend Roundup: February 7-20, 2015

by An Hertogen

This fortnight on Opinio Juris, Kevin recommended an article on China’s proposed broad definition of terrorism, argued that there is no practice supporting the “unwilling or unable” test, and was surprised by the news that David Hicks’ conviction for material support for terrorism has been voided.

Julian questioned whether the Outer Space Treaty allows for private exploitation of the Moon’s resources.

Kristen advanced four reasons why the Security Council’s new Terrorist Financing Resolution is significant, and Jens explained why he remains troubled by the draft proposal to authorise the President to wage war against ISIS.

Other proposals that caught our attention were a proposal to make it easier for some US citizens overseas to renounce their citizenship without facing a hefty tax penalty and Duncan’s proposal (with Tim Mauer)  for a Red Cross-like movement in Cyberspace.

In guests posts this fortnight, Jonathan Horowitz looked into the drafting history of APII to argue that IHL does not regulate NIAC internment and Charlotte Peevers discussed the Chilcot Inquiry (1, 2)

Finally, Jessica listed events and announcements (1, 2) and wrapped up the international news (1, 2).

Many thanks to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!

http://opiniojuris.org/2015/02/21/weekend-roundup-february-7-20-2015/
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Weekly News Wrap: Monday, February 16, 2015

by Jessica Dorsey

Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:

Africa

Middle East and Northern Africa

Asia

Europe

  • A suspected gunman in two shootings on Saturday and Sunday in Copenhagen, in which two were killed and several injured, has been killed by police; the first shooting occurred at a freedom of speech event with Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, and second happened outside a synagogue in the city.
  • After the deadly shooting at a Denmark synagogue, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday such attacks will likely continue and Israel would welcome European Jews who choose to move there.
  • The Italian coast guard has rescued more than 2,100 migrants in a major rescue operation in the sea between Europe and North Africa.
  • Italy closed its embassy in Libya on Sunday and stepped up its call for a U.N. mission to calm the worsening conflict there as thousands of migrants approached Italy by boat from North Africa.
  • Ukraine’s rebels disavowed a new truce on Sunday hours after it took effect, saying it did not apply to the town where most fighting has taken place in recent weeks.
  • Greece and its international creditors started talks on Friday on reforms needed to keep the country financed, increasing the possibility of a interim compromise deal between the euro zone and Athens at a ministerial meeting on Monday.

Americas

Oceania

UN/World

http://opiniojuris.org/2015/02/16/weekly-news-wrap-monday-february-16-2015/
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Weekly News Wrap: Monday, February 9, 2015

by Jessica Dorsey

Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:

Africa

Middle East and Northern Africa

Asia

Europe

Americas

  • CACI International, a US defence contractor which supplied interrogators accused of involvement in the abuse and torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, has sought to have a lawsuit against it dismissed, stating its employees were working under military control during a time of war.
  • Somalia’s prime minister on Sunday appealed to the US government and US banks to resume allowing money transfers to Somalia, a crucial service for many in the war-torn country.

Oceania

UN/World

http://opiniojuris.org/2015/02/09/weekly-news-wrap-monday-february-9-2015/
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Weekend Roundup: January 31-February 6, 2015

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Kevin argued that the CIA and Mossad violated the Terrorist Bombing Convention in the 2008 bombing of Imad Mughniyah, Hezbollah’s international operations chief. Kevin also responded to Ryan Goodman’s Just Security post on Serdar Mohammed. A second part of that response is still to come, but Kevin already flagged the ICRC’s November 2014 Opinion Paper on detention in NIAC. Kevin also recommended Jens’ new book, and for the month of February OUP is offering a discount to our readers, so be quick to grab your copy by clicking on the ad on the right.

Kristen wrote about the aims of the new ILA Study Group on Sanctions of which she is a part, and Bill Dodge wrote a guest post about the Solicitor General’s views in Samantar.

Finally, Jessica wrapped up the international news headlines and I listed the events and announcements.

Have a nice weekend!

http://opiniojuris.org/2015/02/07/weekend-roundup-january-31-february-6-2015/
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Weekly News Wrap: Monday, February 2, 2015

by Jessica Dorsey

Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:

Africa

  • Malian rebels fought pro-government militia in the northern village of Kano overnight, three security sources said, firing rockets and briefly kidnapping at least 20 people in the latest spike of violence between armed groups.
  • Chadian forces have killed 120 militants from Boko Haram in a battle in the north of neighbouring Cameroon that began when the insurgents attacked its troops, the army said in a statement on Saturday, adding that three of its soldiers were killed.
  • Nigerians who fled from Boko Haram fighters have now become a headache for Chadian authorities after seeking safety across the border.
  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has dismissed concerns that his appointment as new African Union chairman would harm relations between the pan-African bloc and the West.
  • Suspected Boko Haram fighters have launched an offensive against the key Nigerian city of Maiduguri, the largest city in Borno State, witnesses said.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • At least 10 people have been killed in Yemen over the past four days in attacks led by an al Qaeda’s affiliate against Shi’ite Houthi fighters and the Yemeni army, local officials and the group said.
  • Jordan has vowed to do all it can to save the life of a pilot held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after the group released a video purportedly showing the killing of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.
  • A suspected U.S. drone strike on a car in Yemen killed three men believed to be al Qaeda militants on Saturday and possibly another drone crashed in a different part of the country, residents said.
  • The United States and its allies carried out 27 air strikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria since early Friday, the Combined Joint Task Force leading the operation reported on Saturday.

Asia

Europe

  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has struck a conciliatory note hours before Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was due to seek support for a renegotiation of the country’s $270bn bailout in Paris.
  • Artillery attacks on the Ukrainian city of Donetsk killed at least one civilian on Monday while Kiev’s military reported that five more Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in clashes with separatists in the east in the past 24 hours.
  • The Appeals Chamber of the ICTY on Friday upheld genocide convictions [PDF] for Vujadin Popovic and Ljubisa Beara for crimes perpetrated by Bosnian Serb forces during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

Americas

Oceania

  • Two Australian citizens are next in line to be executed for drug offences in Indonesia, the Southeast Asian nation’s attorney general said on Monday, in a move likely to strain ties between the neighbors. .

UN/World

http://opiniojuris.org/2015/02/02/weekly-news-wrap-monday-february-2-2015/
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Weekend Roundup: January 24-31, 2015

by Jessica Dorsey

This week on Opinio Juris saw Deborah note the publication of current Guantanamo detainee Mohammedou Slahi’s diary and her review that appeared in the Washington Post about it. Peter offered further commentary on his first post on John Boehner’s invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to address the US Congress, specifically in terms of what the invitation says about constitutional change.

Though he never met him in person, Julian noted the passing of Dr. Luke T. Lee, and paid homage to him and his treatise on Consular Law and Practice.

In light of the hostage situation between ISIS and Jordan/Japan, Jens weighed in on hostages and human dignity. Jens also reported on yesterday’s decision at the ICTY Appeals Chamber, upholding genocide charges in the case of The Prosecutor v. Popovic et al. related to the massacre at Srebrenica in July, 1995.

Duncan highlighted his newest paper, this time he’s written An Intersubjective Treaty Power and a guest post came in from Nimrod Karin, responding to Kevin’s critique of his Just Security posts (here and here), about whether Palestine’s joining the ICC amounted to “lawfare.”

And finally, I updated you on the weekly news and also offered the events and announcements post.

Many thanks to our guest contributor and have a nice weekend!

http://opiniojuris.org/2015/01/31/weekend-roundup-january-24-31-2015/
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Weekly News Wrap: Monday, January 26, 2015

by Jessica Dorsey

Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:

Africa

  • Top Ugandan rebel commander Dominic Ongwen is due to make his first appearance at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague today to face war crimes charges.
  • United Nations experts warned that Sudan’s remote western territories could become a breeding ground for radical Islamists as violence in the country’s conflict-torn Darfur region rages at an alarming level.
  • Boko Haram has launched a major offensive in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri and the town of Monguno, engaging in fierce battles with the military.

Middle East and Northern Africa

Asia

Europe

Americas

Oceania

  • Conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott has awarded Australia’s highest honor to Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth, sparking a barrage of criticism across the country on its national day of celebration. The award grated with republicans who want to sever ties with Britain and appoint an Australian president.
  • Australia called on Indonesia on Friday to reconsider its decision to execute two Australians convicted of drug offences, a move that is likely to strain already fragile ties between the two neighbors.
  • The United States has agreed that Australian David Hicks, jailed on terrorism charges for five years at Guantanamo, is innocent, his lawyer said on Friday.

UN/World

  • A new round of U.N. talks between rival Libyan factions will take place in Geneva on Monday, the United Nations said, even as gunmen kidnapped the deputy foreign minister of the recognised government.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has admitted that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa revealed “inadequacies and shortcomings” in how it responds to crises.
http://opiniojuris.org/2015/01/26/weekly-news-wrap-monday-january-26-2015/
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Weekend Roundup: January 17-23, 2015

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we hosted a symposium on International Law as Behavior, following a workshop at the University of Georgia in late 2014. Elena Baylis discussed the methodological, theoretical and conceptual questions that need to be grappled with when studying international law as behavior, while Galit Sarfaty provided insights from anthropology for the study of international law behavior. More specific issues were dealt with in posts by Jean Galbraith, who reflected on the use of deadlines in international law, Tim Meyer, who described instances of epistemic cooperation as a way of encouraging states to coordinate their behavior, and Harlan Cohen, who addressed the puzzling phenomenon of precedent in international law. Tomer Broude applied behavioural theory to the ongoing negotiations on the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), and Harlan Cohen closed the symposium with reflections on the agenda for the study of international law as behavior.

The Palestinian ratification of the Rome Statute and its article 12(3) declaration was the subject of extensive commentary. Kevin disagreed with Nimrod Karin’s posts on Just Security that these steps amount to “lawfare”. He also argued why an investigation into Arafat’s death would be problematic. The issues of settlements in the West Bank was discussed in Ido Rosenzweig’s guest post and by Kevin who explained why the Palestinian Authority cannot use an ICC investigation as leverage to freeze settlement construction.

Foreign affairs law issues came up in Peter’s discussion of the constitutionality of Boehner’s invite to Netanyahu in light of precedents where the Logan Act was invoked, Julian’s argument that President Obama needs congressional approval to lift the trade embargo on Cuba, and Julian’s analysis whether a US-Iranian nuclear deal should take the form of an article II treaty with its requirement of congressional approval.

In other posts,  Fox News came under fire from Kevin for its report on Paris’ “no-go” zones and from Deborah over its factual inaccuracies in reports on Muslims in the UK and France. Kristen updated us on the Haiti Cholera case where the SDNY upheld the UN’s immunity, and Kevin posted a youtube video of a protest song on Australia’s detention centre on Manus Island

Finally, Jessica wrapped up the international news headlines and I rounded up the events and announcements.

Many thanks to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!

http://opiniojuris.org/2015/01/24/weekend-roundup-january-17-23-2015/
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International Law as Behavior Symposium: An Agenda

by Harlan Cohen

[Harlan Cohen is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Georgia School of Law]

What is the study of “International Law as Behavior”?  At the workshop in November, Elena Baylis, Tomer Broude, Galit Sarfaty, Jean Galbraith, and Tim Meyer (whose chapters/presentations were described earlier) were joined by Kathryn Sikkink, who presented on the role of agency in constructivism, Ron Levi and Sungjoon Cho, who drew upon sociology to study the “fields” of international criminal law and international human rights practice and the social structure of the WTO, respectively, Adam Chilton, who presented on the potential of experimental methods for studying human rights, and Anne van Aaken, who explored behavioral law and economics’ implications for international legal theory.  What, if anything, binds these ten projects together?  Are there lessons to be learned about how these projects and methods can fit together into some greater whole?  These will be topics discussed in the book arising out of this project, but for now, a few thoughts on ways forward.

It can be tempting to see these projects as puzzle pieces, which when assembled in the correct order, reveal a larger picture of the international order. Each brings its own insights: Rational choice sets up testable, generalizable hypotheses about how states might interact given express assumptions about state behavior. Sociology, anthropology, and behavioral law and economics can test those hypotheses against real world scenarios, explaining why specific situations diverge from those expectations, whether as a result of social structures, culture, or human psychology. Experimental methods can help identify the actual preferences of international actors. Constructivist accounts can build upon sociology, anthropology, and psychology to explain where state preferences come from and how they change. Focused primarily on different, overlapping units of analysis—individual actors, the communities in which they practice, the culture in which their embedded, the states on behalf of whom they act, and the larger structures in which those states are embedded, these approaches might seem like natural complements—snapshots taken from one angle, which when spliced together might provide a panoramic view of the international system. Together, these accounts might provide a more complex account of the different processes, preferences, beliefs, and incentives that might drive the vast array of actors who operate in international law, whether grass-root activists, transnational norm advocates, technocratic experts, politicians, bureaucratic careerists, or diplomats. Where these levers converge or diverge may help explain both the emergence of consensus over rules and continued contestation. Successful strategies for achieving particular international goals will flip all the right switches.

But imagining all of these accounts as different harmonies converging in one glorious tune is too simplistic and overly optimistic; (more…)

http://opiniojuris.org/2015/01/21/international-law-behavior-symposium-agenda/
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