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Weekend Roundup

Weekend Roundup: September 6 – 12, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, summer vacation is officially over. We hope that all of our readers in the Northern Hemisphere enjoyed a great break – hopefully not quite like the Russian soldiers in Ukraine that Jens commented on. For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere: it’s almost summer!

Kevin followed up on an earlier post arguing that despite the recent release of a White Paper we do not yet know the CIA’s public-authority justification for violating 18 USC 1119, and explained why an argument based on Title 50 does not work in his view. He then posted a two-part response (1, 2) to Bobby Chesney’s reply on this last post over at Lawfare, and analysed their different readings of the AUMF.

The AUMF was also central to commentary on President Obama’s address regarding air strikes against ISIS. In anticipation of President Obama’s speech, Peter had put forward three reasons why President Obama should not seek congressional approval for airstrikes on ISIL. Jens was first out of the blocks after the address, to argue that Obama was walking a thin line, and later on that the AUMF does not cover ISIS. Peter and Deborah agreed with Jens on the applicability of the AUMF and Peter added that Obama could have played a different card. Deborah then followed up with an analysis of the theory that ISIS is Al Qaeda rather than considering it an “associated force”.

In other ISIL- related posts, Peter commented on Ted Cruz’ initiative to strip ISIL fighters from their US citizenship, and Kevin responded to a post by Mike Lewis over at Just Security on the application of the “unwilling or unable” test in the context of article 51 UN Charter.

Finally, Jessica wrapped up the news and I listed events and announcements. We’re running an insta-symposium on the Scottish independence referendum next week, and are still welcoming submissions. If you saw last week’s announcement by Matrix Chambers, you may want to take note that the deadline has been extended.

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: August 30-September 5, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we welcomed Jens Ohlin to our masthead.

Kevin asked whether it’s time to reconsider the al-Senussi admissibility decision, linked to a Rolling Stone article about Chevron and the Lago Agrio case, and criticized attempts to assess the proportionality of an attack based on combatant:civilian kill ratios.

There was more on the Gaza Conflict in a guest post by Liron Libman, who examined if the Palestinian Authority’s leadership can be held responsible for the Al Aqsah Martyrs’ Brigade’s actions during the conflict.

In other posts, Kristen discussed the UN Security Council’s response to the demands of the captors of 45 Fijian peacekeepers at the Israel-Syrian border, Chris analysed Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric of an independent Novorossiya, and Roger reported on his research on treaties that supersede statutes under the last-in-time rule.

Finally, Jessica listed events and announcements, and wrapped up the international law headlines. In other announcements, Kevin posted a job vacancy at Matrix Chambers.

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: August 23-29, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Julian asked whether the US President can enter into a legally binding climate change agreement without Congress, and educated news agencies about the difference between Taiwan’s airspace and its Air Defense Identification Zone.

The main focus this week was on the Middle East. Kevin commented on an Al Jazeera America piece on Israel’s attack on Shujaiya, while Peter discussed the likelihood and the practical usefulness of stripping ISIS fighters of their US citizenship, and Deborah addressed the difference between paying ransom for hostages and negotiating over prisoner exchanges.

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

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: August 16-22, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week  on Opinio Juris, we had the final instalments of our Emerging Voices symposium, with a post by Tamar Meshel on awakening the “Sleeping Beauty of the Peace Palace” and one by Mélanie Vianney-Liaud on the controversy surrounding the definition of the Cambodian genocide at the ECCC.

More definitional issues arose in Kevin’s post discussing Britain’s expanded definition on terrorism, which now includes watching the video of James Foley’s beheading.

In other posts, Chris blogged about the quilt maps of sovereignty in the Baarles, Deborah argued why shifting alliances in the Middle East matter, Julian renewed his argument that Argentina has no case against the US in its latest ICJ claim, and Duncan commemorated the 150th anniversary of the first Geneva Convention with the question whether there is new IHL to be made and what is should be.

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

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

Weekend Roundup: August 9-15, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we started with follow-up on last week, with Julian raising more issues with the emerging Article II humanitarian intervention power and Kevin sharing his final thoughts on the Bar Human Rights Committee’s letter to the OTP in relation to the situation in Gaza.

More on the Gaza situation in a post by Kristin Hausler and Robert McCorquodale, who asked whether attacks on schools, teachers and students ever be legitimate under international law.

This week, we welcomed Lucas Barreiros, Stacey Henderson and Marcos Kotlik to our Emerging Voices symposium, who, respectively, compared the European and Inter-American Human Rights Courts, discussed R2P and measures-less-than-force in the context of protecting children in armed conflict and proposed enhanced participation of civil society organizations in Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

Another guest post, by Priya Urs, asked whether states are injured by whaling in the Antarctic.

Of our permanent bloggers, Kevin argued that the attack on MH17 should be framed as murder not as a war crime, Chris asked whether the US should change its approach to zero-day exploits and Kristen wrote about ensuring robust peacekeeping missions.

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

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

Weekend Roundup: August 2-8, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, the main point of discussion was the ICC’s jurisdiction over the situation in Gaza. Eugene Kontorovich put the spotlight on a recent development at the ICC in relation to Egypt that reduces the chances of the Palestinians’ ICC accession bid being accepted, to which Kevin responded here and Eugene followed up here. In related posts, Kevin pointed out the Bar Human Rights Committee in the UK request to the OTP for an investigation of the situation in Gaza, the OTP’s statement that the ICC lacks jurisdiction, and his podcast on the issue.

Clare Frances Moran contributed an Emerging Voices post on the contribution of international criminal tribunals and courts to the development and promotion of international human rights law. Other posts in this symposium discussed race-based statelessness in the Dominican Republic and a discussion of the impact of extraordinary reparations on the legitimacy of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

In other posts, Julian shared his thoughts on Taiwan’s East China Sea Peace Initiative, and criticized Argentina for launching ICJ proceedings against the US, which the latter is unlikely to consent to. He also discussed the Article II “Humanitarian Intervention” powers in light of President Obama’s authorization of airstrikes against ISIS.

Jessica wrapped up the weekly news and listed events and announcements. A very special event is Philippe Sands’ upcoming London premiere of his “A Song of Good and Evil“.

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

Weekend Roundup: July 26-August 1, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we had some vigorous debate on the legality of Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza. Kevin opened the week with the question whether Israel can cut off water and electricity to Gaza, and Janina Dill raised two concerns with the IDF’s practice of using warnings. Julian commented on the Joint Declaration on the Gaza Offensive signed by over 140 international law experts, and Tali Kolesov Har-Oz and Ori Pomson discussed the use of human shields through the lens of international criminal law.

Our Emerging Voices symposium continued with a post by Rosemary Grey on sexual violence as a war crime in the Ntaganda decision. Continuing on this gender theme, Jens Iverson discussed the rights of women in armed conflict. Finally, David Benger argued that the preliminary examinations in Iraq had resulted in a net loss for the ICC’s political capital.

Big arbitration news as well this week with the historic $50bn dollar award against Russia in the Yukos arbitration, and Argentina’s default followed by its threat to sue the United States for its courts’ contribution to the default.

In other posts, Jens Ohlin inquired after the meaning of the common law of war and examined when the combatant’s privilege applies, while Duncan analysed US claims that Russia’s tests of a ground launched missile violated the 1987 INF Treaty.

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

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

Weekend Roundup: July 19-25, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, our Emerging Voices symposium continued with a post by François Delerue on cyber operations and the prohibition on the threat of force, a comparison by Otto Spijkers of the Nuhanović and Mothers of Srebrenica cases, and Arpita Goswami’s analysis of the PCA’s recent Bay of Bengal Maritime Arbitration Case between India and Bangladesh.

We also welcomed Jens Ohlin for a guest posting stint. This week, Jens discussed competing theories of control in light of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 and two decisions by the European Court of Human Rights on Poland’s involvement in CIA Black Sites on its territory.

Other guest posts were by Jonathan Hafetz who discussed the D.C. Circuit’s en banc ruling in Al Bahlul and by Charles Kels who followed up on our recent symposium self-defence during armed conflict.

Of our regular bloggers, Kevin explained why comments by Moshe Feiglin, the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset in Israel, can be seen as advocating crimes against humanity, but not genocide, against Palestinians. He also summarized the al-Senussi admissibility decision in two quotes. Kristen discussed interesting questions about the increasing “jurisdictional overlap” between individuals designated on targeted sanctions lists and international criminal courts.

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

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

Weekend Roundup: July 12-18, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we kicked off the second edition of our Emerging Voices symposium with a post by Zachary Clopton on the horizontal and vertical dimensions of international law in U.S. Courts, followed by Abel Knottnerus’ post on rule 134quater.

Julian clarified last week’s post on Taiwan and argued that “lawfare” will not deter China in the South China Sea. He also posted an obituary for William T. Burke.

Kevin gave his take on the most important issues in international criminal justice today, while Kristen commented on the Mothers of Srebrenica judgment in the Netherlands.

Chris looked at the international legal argument behind the story about the dad who claimed a kingdom for his little girl.

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

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: July 5-11, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we hosted a symposium on Ian Henderson and Bryan Cavanagh’s paper on Military Members Claiming Self-Defence during Armed Conflict. In a first post, Ian and Bryan discussed when self-defence applies during an armed conflict, while their second post dealt with collateral damage and “precautions in attack”. Their third post addressed prohibited weapons, obedience to lawful commands, and a ‘duty’ to retreat, and summarized the main points of their paper. In their final post, they focused on the concept of unit self-defenceJens Ohlin and Kinga Tibori-Szabó commented.

In our regular posts, Kevin posted Yuval Diskin’s comments on the escalating situation in Israel and the Occupied Territories and pointed out a misrepresentation in ABC’s reporting on the conflict. Julian argued why a Japanese intervention in Taiwan would violate international law, but should still be done if it came to defending Taiwan against a Chinese attack. Peter pointed out three distortions behind July 4 naturalization ceremonies

Finally, Jessica wrapped up the news.

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

Weekend Roundup: June 14-27, 2014

by An Hertogen

This fortnight on Opinio Juris, Kevin and Deborah discussed the OLC’s legal justification of the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, which Kevin called murder. Kevin then replied to a response by Jamie Orr on the issue of the CIA’s entitlement to invoke the public authority justification. Deborah analysed what procedural protection the Fifth Amendment requires before a citizens can be targeted and discussed the key legal limits on the scope of U.S. targeting authority identified in the memo.

Kevin posted how US drone strikes now also target citizens of US allies, as witnessed by the recent killings of two Australian citizens. More Australians made the blog, as Kevin wrote about Tony Abbott’s mistaken belief that the rule of law would be observed in Egypt’s prosecution of Peter Greste, the Australian Al-Jazeera journalist, and his colleagues.

Kevin also analysed the US self-defence argument in relation to the killing of Abu Khattallah, discussed Fatou Bensouda’s request for the UNSC to investigate the role of UN peacekeepers in covering up crimes in Darfur, and drew our attention to Charles Taylor’s detention situation in the UK, as discussed in his request to be transferred to a prison in Rwanda. Finally, he asked readers for insights on the OTP’s motivations when dropping its appeal against Katanga.

Deborah discussed potential international law obstacles against US airstrikes in Iraq, even at the request of the Iraqi government.

Lest you think this blog has become the Kevin and Deborah show, Kristen wrote about the relevance of Security Council acts for the formation of customary international law.

As always, we listed events and announcements (1, 2) and Jessica wrapped up the news. For those of you in the UK, you can see Kevin in action on Monday night during a LSE roundtable on Syria and international justice.

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: June 7 – 13, 2014

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Kevin had a chuckle at Libya’s newest excuse why it missed the deadline for filing submissions to the ICC. He also called your attention to the work of Breaking the Silence, an Israeli NGO collecting testimonials from IDF on the treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

Deborah discussed ongoing confusion between al Qaeda and ISIS, and the wider implications of such confusion for war policy decisions.

Julian wrote about the PR battle between China and Vietnam on the South China Sea and posted a link to his and John Yoo’s Forbes piece criticizing Bond v United States as a missed opportunity. In other treaty-related news, Duncan wondered how significant a new protocol to the ILO Convention on Forced Labor would be.

Michael Ramsey wrote a guest post on the latest round over the battle between Argentina and its bondholders over the application of the FSIA, and Chris closed the week with a tribute to Andreas Lowenfeld who passed away on June 9.

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

Have a nice weekend!