International Humanitarian Law

[Srinivas Burra is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Legal Studies, South Asian University, New Delhi.]  Agreements facilitating humanitarian access to persons deprived of liberty play a significant role in promoting humanitarian principles in armed conflict situations. This post deals with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the consequences of its non-compliance. Premised on the...

[Sheila Paylan is an international human rights lawyer and former legal advisor for the United Nations.] On 3 December 2020, the French National Assembly joined the French Senate in passing resolutions nearly unanimously calling on the French government to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and use such recognition as an instrument of negotiations for the establishment of a sustainable peace. The French Parliament thus became the first...

[Lucy Geddes is an Australian human rights lawyer and is currently the head of Legal Action Worldwide’s Sri Lanka office.] On  19 November 2020, the Australian Chief of Defence Force announced the findings of Brereton Report which allege the existence of credible evidence of war crimes perpetrated by the Australian Defence Force in Afghanistan. The release of the Report, following a four year inquiry commissioned by the...

[Audrey Wabwire is A Nairobi-based media manager at Human Rights Watch.] What’s the path to justice after years of conflict, during which widespread atrocities were committed? This is a question that South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, confronts. After nearly seven years of conflict ended with the signing of a peace deal in September 2018, South Sudan finally established a transitional national unity government earlier this...

[Clive Baldwin is a Senior Legal Advisor for the legal and policy office at Human Rights Watch.] UK nationals committed abuses in Iraq after 2003 on a significant scale. The International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) Final Report on the UK and Iraq on December 9 is the latest official report to find that members of UK armed forces subjected Iraqi detainees to abuse,...

[Marta Bo is a Researcher at the Graduate Institute (LAWS and War Crimes Project) and at the T.M.C. Asser Institute.] Meaningful Human Control is at the core of regulatory and ethical debates on autonomous weapon systems. In international discussions and writings, the problem of meaningful human control has been addressed from different angles: from philosophical, ethical and legal (here and here), to operational, cognitive and...

In my previous post, which was quite critical of the OTP's decision not to seek authorization to investigate British war crimes in Iraq, I made two central points. The first was that, pursuant to the Afghanistan appeals judgment, the OTP would not have needed to present the Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) with information concerning complementarity and the PTC would not have...

[Andreas Schueller is the Director of the International Crimes and Accountability Program at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.] On 9 December 2020, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague announced its decision to close the preliminary examination into alleged war crimes by British troops in Iraq between 2003 and 2009. The OTP explained...

A number of us -- me, Aurel Sari, Eliav Lieblich, Andrew Bell, Sasha Greenawalt, Craig Martin, Ed Swaine -- have been having an interesting discussion on Twitter about two important issues concerning the use of force. The first is when IHL begins to apply in an IAC. The traditional position is that any use of interstate force triggers IHL and...

Announcements Top international lawyers to draft definition of 'Ecocide': International lawyer Philippe Sands QC and international judge Justice Florence Mumba are to co-chair an expert drafting panel on the legal definition of “ecocide” as a potential international crime that could sit alongside War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity.  Launching with preparatory work this month, and set to draft the definition...

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of giving an online lecture for the Iranian Center for International Criminal Law about the relationship between the US and the ICC. In the lecture, I trace the evolution of the US-ICC relationship and try to predict what that relationship will look like under President Biden. I also speculate about why Trump has...