This week on Opinio Juris, we brought you a healthy diet of treaties, chemical weapons, drones, and a sprinkle of terrorism.
Duncan rounded up various treaty related news items this week, and argued that US treaty practice does not have to be a zero-sum game. Peter posted about the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearings on a possible Understanding that would limit anxieties about the domestic impact of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The main event this week however happened across the street from the US Congress: the SCOTUS hearing in Bond v United States. Peter kicked off the conversation with the question whether Missouri v Holland has ever been used by the federal government. Julian was first out of the blocks to post his impressions of the oral argument, followed by seven observations by Marty Lederman, while Duncan was too stumped to comment on the merits due to the apparent lack of appreciation on all sides for the difference between treaty signature and ratification. Bill Dodge pointed out how the difference between a self-executing and non-self-executing treaty was also misunderstood.
Should an international treaty ban “killer robots”? Ken, in a WSJ op-ed with Matthew Waxman, argued that it should not.
From killer robots to drones: Deborah was worried about reports that the migration of targeting operations from the CIA to the Pentagon has stalled. The recent drone reports by HRW and AI were criticized by Jens Iverson who examined whether members of armed groups can be targeted and by Michael W. Lewis who argued that significant flaws undermine the reports’ objectivity and overall credibility.
Finally, Kevin mourned the premature death of the concept of terrorism, victim of overly broad definitions by Scotland Yard and the UK Terrorism Act 2000.
As every week, we listed upcoming events. You may also be interested in the Berkeley Journal of International Law’s latest issue with its symposium on Taming Globalization co-authored by John Yoo and our own Julian Ku.
Many thanks to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!
This week on Opinio Juris, we held a symposium on Chevron and the rise of arbitral power introduced here by Michael D. Goldhaber. Comments were by Christoph Schreuer, Anthea Roberts, and Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah. Michael’s response is here.
In follow up on earlier symposia, Anupam Chander posted his reply to the comments in last week’s book symposium on The Electronic Silk Road and Anne van Aaken responded to Tomer Broude’s guest posts on behavioral international law and economics.
Peter wondered why Bond v United States came to be prosecuted under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and noted emerging efforts towards a human right to privacy in the wake of the NSA spying scandal. Julian did not think these efforts would lead anywhere, and put more faith in the conclusion of no-spy agreements.
Kevin posted about his recent talk at Chatham House defending the specific direction requirement. Following reports by The Sudan Tribune that the presiding judge had threatened William Ruto with arrest if he commented publicly on his case, later corrected after a clarification by the ICC, Kevin examined whether there is any legal basis on which the Court can silence an accused. Kevin also pointed out problems with the appointment of a new judge in the Seselj case, which led to a very active discussion in the comments.
Julian asked whether Japan’s pledge to shoot down Chinese drones violates international law. Maybe the Japanese could learn a thing or two from the British Navy and its use of Britney Spears’ songs to scare away Somali pirates along Africa’s East Coast.
Finally, Sean D. Murphy summarized the International Law Commission’s work in its 65th session, Kristen posted about the ASIL Mid-Year Meeting that we suspect quite a few of our readers will be attending, and Jessica listed the events and announcements and wrapped up the news.
Thank you very much to our guest posters and have a nice weekend!
This week on Opinio Juris, Ken contributed a post on legally distinct corporate entities and agency theory in Bauman v Daimler AG, Chris wrote about Russia’s Realpolitik towards former USSR members that are seeking closer contact with the EU, and Deborah wrote about due process in targeting.
Julian noticed how Russia had taken a leaf out of China’s book by walking out of an ITLOS arbitration, and responded to Wim Muller who argued that it was merely following a long establish US’ example in ICJ cases.
We held a book symposium on The Electronic Silk Road by Anupam Chander, with comments by Michael Birnhack, Mira Burri, Paul Stephan, Molly Land, Joost Pauwelyn, and Jake Colvin.
Chris Jenks wrote a guest post on criminal jurisdiction over US troops in Afghanistan, and Kevin mentioned his guest post at Just Security. Kevin also criticized the ICC’s Appeals Chamber for requiring Ruto’s continuous presence at his trial.
Finally, Jessica rounded up the news and I collated a list of events and announcements.
Many thanks to our guest posters and have a nice weekend!
This week on Opinio Juris, Tomer Broude completed his trilogy on behavioral international law. Also continuing from last week was Carsten Stahn’s rejoinder to Harold Koh on intervention and the use of force, and Jens Iverson’s guest post highlighting the underlying commitments of Professors Stahn and Koh.
We also published guests posts by Faiza Patel on the OPCW and by Adam Steinman on this week’s SCOTUS oral argument in Daimler v Bauman.
Of our regular bloggers, Deborah disagreed with Jack Goldsmith on the rarity of capture operations overseas, but outlined other concerns with this approach to counterterrorism. Julian pointed out how China’s understanding of the peaceful settlement of disputes excludes international adjudication. Despite finding much to like in the PTC’s decision in al-Senussi, Kevin was troubled by the inconsistency with the Gaddafi decision on the right to counsel. He also was not impressed by the PTC invoking Libya’s security situation.
Finally, Jessica wrapped up the news and listed events and announcements.
Many thanks to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!
This week on Opinio Juris, we had two guest posts from Tomer Broude, the first giving an introduction to behavioral law and the second discussing a methodological framework to behavioral law. Carsten Stahn also delivered a guest post on cautioning against a new affirmative defense to Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, in response to argumentation put forth by Harold Koh’s Just Security contribution.
Kevin discussed Charles Taylor’s disproportionate sentencing in a post examining the Special Court for Sierra Leone’s treatment of customary international law. Duncan posted this week with his analysis on the existential function of interpretation in international law and Roger pointed out “the fact that” we lawyers ought to omit needless words.
Kristen highlighted the recent class action lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York by the lawyers for the Haiti Cholera victims while Deborah offered insight into the raids in Somalia and Libya recently by the US and their implications on the theories of self defense and responded to Marty Lederman’s Just Security take on her analysis here. Deborah also pointed out an upcoming event on counterterrorism strategies taking place Monday, which she will moderate. Rounding things out, I provided the Weekly News Wrap and you can find An’s Events and Announcements post here.
Many thanks to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!
This week on Opinio Juris, we organized a book symposium on Investment Law in International Law: Integrationist Perspectives, edited by Dr Freya Baetens. If you enjoyed the symposium, don’t miss CUP’s offer of a 20% discount for our readers. More details are here. Freya introduced the goals of the book, followed by comments by Laurence Boisson de Chazournes.
On Tuesday, Nicolas Hachez and Jan Wouters assessed the need for an alternative to the arbitral model to preserve the public interest. Their reply to Tullio Treves’ comments is here. Vid Prislan addressed how non-investment obligations could be taken into account in investment arbitration, with comments by Kathleen Claussen.
Gleider Hernandez explored the interaction between investment law and the law of international armed conflict, which Bill Burke-White welcomed as a great opening for further research in this area. Philipp Ambach also dealt with the interaction between these two fields of international law in his post on the international criminal responsibility of transnational corporate actors doing business in zones of armed conflict, on which Judge Howard Morrison commented.
Anastasios Gourgourinis discussed the relationship between investment law and WTO law in the minimum standard of treatment of aliens, to which Anne van Aaken responded, followed by Anastasios’ reply. Mary Footer also reflected on the relationship between investment law and trade law. In response, Gabrielle Marceau discussed what dispute settlement in trade and investment systems can learn from each other. Mary’s reply is here.
On the last day, Elisabeth Tuerk and Wolfgang Alschner discussed how international investment treaties could contribute to sustainable development, with comments by Andrea Bjorklund, and Moshe Hirsch looked at the interaction between investment agreements and human rights treaties from a sociological perspective. Andreas Ziegler’s comments rounded up the symposium.
In our regular posts, Julian wondered when the Dutch government would file an ITLOS action after Russia charged Greenpeace activists with piracy. Kevin asked whether the ICC had learned anything from Melinda Taylor’s detention in Libya and whether The Guardian‘s legal affairs correspondent had read Perisic. He also continued last week’s inter-blog discussion with Ryan Goodman. The inter-blog discussion with JustSecurity continued with Kevin’s four thoughts on Harold Koh’s defense of unilateral humanitarian intervention.
Ken followed up on a post by Roger last week on jurisprudence post-Kiobel, by discussing his recent essay on the resurgence of the traditional bases of jurisdiction in the Alien Tort Statute. A guest post by John Dehn also revisited an earlier post, discussing an article by Sarah Cleveland and Bill Dodge on the Offenses Clause.
Finally, Jessica provided her weekly news wrap and listed events and announcements, while Julian posted a special announcement on the 2013 International Law Weekend.
Many thanks to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!
This week on Opinio Juris, Kevin welcomed Just Security to the blogosphere, but regretted the absence of a comments section. Not one to be easily stopped, he went for inter-blog commentary instead with his response to Ryan Goodman’s post on whether or not the US is at war with al-Qaeda. He also criticized the Special Court for Sierra Leone’s Appeals Chamber for its incoherent — and selective — analysis of custom in the Taylor case.
The annual General Assembly debate started this week, and as is often the case the question of attendance by not-so-squeaky-clean heads of state popped up, this time around Sudan’s President Bashir plans to attend the meeting, as discussed by Julian and John Cerone. As Kevin pointed out, Bashir changed his mind in the end.
Ken and Deborah analysed the draft Security Council resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons. Further on Syria, Julian discussed a proposed Statute for a Syrian Extraordinary Tribunal for Atrocity Crimes.
Julian also discussed the piracy charges against Greenpeace activists in Russia, and Duncan examined what the object and purpose of the arms trade treaty is.
On the intersection of US domestic law and international law, Duncan asked whether the offenses clause can save Missouri v. Holland, and Roger surveyed lower courts’ decisions post-Kiobel to find that they narrowly interpret the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Finally, Jessica recapped the weekly news on international law and international relations and yours truly listed events and announcements.
Have a nice weekend!
Another week has gone by at Opinio Juris with much to say about current events in international law and international relations. In fact, this week, we hosted an online symposium on the recent book by Jeffrey Dunoff and Mark Pollock, Interdisciplinary Perspectives on International Law and International Relations.
In other coverage this week, Julian argued on how the UN Charter does not necessarily constrain China in starting territorial disputes that involve sovereignty claims. He also commented here and here on the proposed visa application of Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir, who is trying to enter the United States for the upcoming UN General Assembly meetings, despite the arrest warrant for him from the ICC. Kevin also weighed in here on that subject, and Kristen argued that travel sanctions should be used against Bashir.
Kevin also pointed out the erroneous Al-Jazeera news report from Thursday that reported Saif al-Islam Gaddafi would appear in Tripoli, and pointed out that he appeared in Zintan instead (with his trial being adjourned until December in order to allow other defendants to be present). Kevin additionally discussed the current “score” in Syria events of Putin & Assad: 1, US: 0, and took issue with Eric Posner’s column in Slate on the coming death of the ICC.
As usual, we featured our news wraps and our conferences and events. Thanks for following us at Opinio Juris and have an enjoyable weekend!
This week on Opinio Juris, we continued the discussion on Syria. Geoff Corn started the week by examining President Obama’s options if Congress were not to enact an AUMF, a question that also occupied Peter who yearned for the good old days of unilateral presidential authority to initiated use of force.
When the surprise Russian proposal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control put the Congressional vote on hold, Kevin was not convinced that this twist had anything to do with the “credible threat” of a US unilateral strike. Chris asked to what extent the OPCW could be involved in the practical implementation of the proposal. Chris’ post also pointed out how Russia has been more adept than the US at using international law rhetoric, a point he followed up on in a post comparing the international legal rhetoric in Obama’s speech with that in Putin’s NYTimes op-ed.
The possible legal basis for action continued to fascinate us. Kevin wondered what motivated President Obama’s new theory of customary international law, in which the percentage of the world’s population that lives within the territory of a party to a treaty would determine whether the treaty gives rise to custom. Julian linked to a forthcoming article by Andrew Carswell on the possibility of General Assembly action based on the Uniting for Peace resolution. Following a comment by the White House Counsel that a strike would not be prohibited under international law, Julian wanted to know more about the theory on which the White House thinks a strike would be legal under international law. Make sure you catch the comment by Charlie Savage who interviewed Ms Ruemmler.
Despite all these posts on Syria, we are not quite rebranding to Opinio Syriae just yet! (more…)
Syria dominated (and continues to dominate) the headlines this week, and we featured many takes on the developing situation through our Syria Insta-Symposium.
From our regular contributors, Julian pondered whether President Obama would reveal the international law justification on his position regarding intervention in Syria and Kevin questioned US Secretary of State John Kerry’s classification of Syria as the United States’ “Munich Moment.”
Peter and Deborah both discussed US domestic/constitutional implications at length. Peter called President Obama’s decision to consult Congress on military intervention a “watershed moment” and wondered if his lawyers were consulted in this apparent about-face move, while Deborah classified it as a wise decision by Obama. They both offered commentary on the text of the Senate draft AUMF (Peter here, and Deborah here) and Deborah also pointed to a discussion she took part in among scholars on the Huffington Post. Julian also weighed in on the AUMF, concluding that the UN Charter does not matter to the US Senate’s deliberations on authorizing force in Syria and Ken discussed the role of the Security Council in light of his recent ASIL Insight and posting at Lawfare.
From our guest contributors, Jennifer Trahan started off the symposium by taking on contentious subject matter in a post discussing the legality of a strike by the United States. John Quigley weighed in with his thoughts on intervention while Andre Nollkaemper sketched out the two paths States might choose to take for intervening: either acting inside or outside of international law. Marty Lederman weighed in with a two-part posting, the first talking about the intersection of the UN Charter and the US Constitution, and the second addressing the role of the UN Charter in the US Congressional debate. The former theme of Marty’s two posts was also featured in Charlie Kels‘ contribution discussing the intersection of the two legal regimes. Stephanie Carvin urged readers to bring practical judgment back in rather than solely relying on legal solutions, while Sondre Torp Helmersen crafted a reply to Stephanie’s post. Krista Nelson offered an analysis on the significance of using chemical weapons in international law.
Otto Spijkers offered a perspective on whether states could stand idly by in the Syria situation by comparing bystander obligations at the international level to Dutch domestic law. Ezequiel Heffes and Brian Frankel talk about the decision-making process in R2P situations, and Mark Kersten wonders whose R2P it is, anyway.
And in non-Syria news this week, Julian pointed out that Japan has threatened to take Korea to the ICJ over victims’ compensation claims in the Second World War, Kevin described why Kenya won’t withdraw from the ICC and Kristen covered Friday’s verdict in the Dutchbat case from the Dutch Supreme Court holding the Netherlands responsible for the deaths of three men at Srebrenica.
As usual, we provided our Weekday News Wraps as well as upcoming Events and Announcements. Have a great weekend!
This week on Opinio Juris, the possible intervention in Syria took centre stage. Julian rounded up statements by the UK, Russia and France on the legality of a military intervention without UN authorization, and declared that the doctrine of humanitarian intervention suffered a massive blow when the UK House of Commons rejected a resolution on military strikes. Deborah discussed why the doctrine of humanitarian intervention cannot provide legal support for US context. In the US context, Julian wondered why President Obama takes a different position from candidate Obama on the need for congressional authorization.
Kevin provocatively asked what sets chemical weapons apart from conventional weapons that makes their deployment a relevant factor for intervention. Kevin also argued why the UNSC cannot ask the ICC to investigate only the crimes committed by the Assad regime, and pondered the ICC’s options should the UNSC make such a referral anyway. He also referred to a post by Bill Schabas on the dynamic interpretation of the Rome Statute to include chemical weapons, and posted this tumblr as an accurate depiction of his position.
On August 28, Roger marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, whereas Chris joined the Peace Palace‘s 100th birthday bash. While in The Hague, Chris visited the Permanent Court for Arbitration which will handle the Philippines-China arbitration. Chris had further visits scheduled with the ICC and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and will report more about those visits in the next few days.
In international courts related news, Julian wondered whether recent comments by Colombia’s Vice President indicated that Colombia was set on ignoring the ICJ ruling in its dispute with Nicaragua, and Kevin shared his thoughts on Judge Harhoff’s disqualification in the Seselj case.
In our Emerging Voices symposium, Drew Cohen examined Botswana’s call on the South African Development Community to examine election fraud in Zimbabwe; Matiangai Sirleaf advocated a thicker conception of justice that would include issues of distributive justice in transitional justice efforts; and David Attanasio proposed a change to the Inter-American Human Rights system to deploy it in the fight against drug cartels and other militarized criminal organizations in Latin America. Efrat Bouganim-Shaag and Yael Naggan finished the week with a post on peace-time crimes against humanity and the ICC.
Peter posted about international law on Twitter, and looked for our 5000th follower (we’ve reached that milestone since!).
Finally, as always, we listed events and announcements and Jessica provided you with her weekday news wraps.
Thank you to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!