Foreign Relations Law

Our friend John Boonstra at UN Dispatch calls attention to a little-used provision of the UN Charter that requires members of the Security Council to abstain from voting on substantive matters when they are a party to a dispute.  Here is the text of Article 27(3): Decisions of the Security Council on all other matters shall be made by an affirmative...

The New York Times has posted online the (possibly fraying) cease-fire agreement concerning the conflict in Georgia. At the time of its signing, President Sarkozy had said something to the effect that this is not a document for a lasting peace, but rather just to stop the shooting.  Looking at the text, I can see why he wanted to make that clear. ...

According to Interfax, Russia is considering referring the situation in South Ossetia to the ICC. It quotes Russia's Prosecutor General, Yury Chaika, as saying that he "doesn't think setting up a special [international] court is necessary. Complaints and applications from our citizens which will be referred to the International Criminal Court would suffice."  That's an interesting statement, given that Russia...

As the fighting winds down or escalates (depending on whom you believe), the legal battle that Ken discussed yesterday seems to be gearing up and getting more complex, with the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, and the European Court of Human Rights now all being mentioned in news stories. The AP is reporting the following: The Georgian security council...

My thanks to Chris for posting on the Georgian conflict as it has unfolded.  I've been watching, unsure what exactly to say about policy.  I'm still unsure.  I mean, it's easy to agree with both the Obama and McCain campaign reactions (I paraphrase) ...

This is a follow-up to my previous post concerning the legal issues of the conflict in Georgia with some more about the current military and diplomatic situations (and the resultant legal concerns). The fighting is moving beyond South Ossetia and into other parts of Georgia, such as the port city of Poti. According to the New York Times: Mr. Bush referred particularly to...

Russia's intervention in Georgia is the latest, and most obvious, example of the peculiar role that Russia plays in the various so-called frozen conflicts in former republics of the USSR.  As international security expert Dov Lynch has put it, Russia can be thought of as a “mediator-cum-supporter-cum-combatant.”  Why has Russia undertaken such a foreign policy in Georgia and what, if anything,...

The frozen conflict over the Georgian separatist region South Ossetia has become a shooting war. On the first day of the Olympics, no less. According to CNN: "All day today, they've been bombing Georgia from numerous warplanes and specifically targeting (the) civilian population, and we have scores of wounded and dead among (the) civilian population all around the country," President Mikhail...

Salim Hamdan has been sentenced to 66 months in prison, far short of the 30 years-to-life sentence the prosecution requested.  Good news for Hamdan? Probably not, as Colonel Morris Davis -- the third chief prosecutor of the military commissions, who resigned because of political interference by the Pentagon -- pointed out in the comments to my ex post facto post: The...

The sole virtue of being the last among bloggers to weigh in on yesterday’s Hamdan verdict is having a chance to read what everyone else is saying. The New York Times, the ACLU, Human Rights First and others are pretty scathing in their criticism: don’t be fooled by the patina of fairness evinced by the split verdict, this system...