National Security Law

I had the pleasure of participating yesterday in a superb -- and long! -- panel on the 2013 siege of Eastern Ghouta. The panel discussed the facts, the law, and the politics of the siege. I was joined by Hussam Alkatlaby, the Executive Director of the Syrian Violations Documentation Centre; Joost Hiltermann, programme director for Middle East & North Africa at...

You go to war with the President you have, not the President you wish you had. We should keep that basic truth in mind as the US inches ever closer to war with Syria -- and potentially with Russia, a far more terrifying possibility. Donald Trump does not care about civilians in Syria. He does not care about containing the spread...

Elena Chachko has an interesting post at Lawfare discussing Israel's recent public acknowledgement of what the international community has long known: that it was responsible for the 2007 attack on the Al-Kibar nuclear reactor in Syria. Although I agree with much of Chachko's post, I would take issue with what she says about how the failure of states to condemn...

As Patryk Labuda noted earlier today on twitter, the Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) has ordered the OTP to provide it with additional information concerning the investigation in Afghanistan. Here are the key paragraphs of the order: 3. The Chamber observes that the Prosecutor seeks authorisation to initiate an investigation for crimes committed on the territory of Afghanistan from 1 May 2003 onwards,...

Nikolas Stürchler, the Head of International Humanitarian Law and International Criminal Justice Section at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, has a new post at EJIL: Talk! discussing the ASP's decision to completely exclude states parties from the crime of aggression unless they ratify the aggression amendments -- the "opt-in" position advocated by a number of states, most notably...

At Lawfare yesterday, two law professors at West Point defended the US's right to attack North Korea if it tests another nuclear weapon or fires another missile into Japanese waters: North Korea is extraordinarily close to becoming a global nuclear power. This very real possibility has reportedly resulted in the United States debating a limited military strike dubbed the “bloody nose” strategy. In...

Although aggression received most of the attention at the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) last month, the ASP also adopted a series of amendments to Art. 8 of the Rome Statute, the war-crimes provision, prohibiting the use of three kinds of weapons in both international armed conflict (IAC) and non-international armed conflict (NIAC): [W]eapons, which use microbial or other biological agents, or...

The Guardian is reporting today that Carter Page -- Donald Trump's bumbling former foreign-policy advisor, who has been interviewed quite extensively by the FBI regarding his contacts with Russia -- earned a PhD from SOAS in 2011 after failing his defence twice. Here are some snippets from the story: Page first submitted his thesis on central Asia’s transition from communism to capitalism in...

[Jennifer Trahan is Associate Professor, The Center for Global Affairs, NYU-SPS and Chair of the International Criminal Court Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association] On Thursday, December 14, 2017, the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties (ASP) took the historic and significant decision, by consensus, to activate, effective July 17, 2018, the ICC’s jurisdiction over its 4th crime,...

A friend who is even more jaded than I called my attention to the following curious paragraph in the Draft Resolution the ASP has just adopted by consensus: 3.    Reaffirms paragraph 1 of article 40 and paragraph 1 of article 119 of the Rome Statute in relation to the judicial independence of the judges of the Court. This paragraph is new --...