Weekend Roundup: January 26 – February 1, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Julian kicked off on a lighter note with a Chinese cartoon on the maritime dispute between China and the Philippines.

IHL and ICL lawyers were well catered for throughout the week, starting with a guest post by Michael W. Lewis, who discussed two more issues raised at the Boundaries of the Battlefield symposium: “elongated imminence” in response to an armed attack and the lack of operational experience of those writing on international humanitarian law. Kevin later took issue with the suggestion that Israel’s Six Day War supports an “elongated” concept of imminence.

Alexander Wills added two more arguments in favour of allowing states to make article 12(3) declarations under the ICC Statute and for these to have retroactive effect. Also on the ICC and Palestine, Julian shared his two reactions to a NY Times op-ed by Professor George Bisharat calling for an ICC investigation, which triggered a lively discussion in the comments.

A potential ICC’s claim was far from Israel’s only worry this week, with the UN Human Rights Council strongly condemning Israel’s settlements policy. Kevin commented on the report’s main conclusions here. And then there is of course Iran’s threat; Kevin updated his timeline of estimates of when Iran will have the bomb.

And if these posts were not enough, Ken recommended Benvenisti and Cohen’s new article on SSRN addressing the laws of war from an principal-agent perspective.

Two more guest posts graced our blog this week. Başak Çalı provided her final guest post in a series on international judicial review, in which she assessed the legal policy implications of the variable standard used by the European Court of Human Rights, and Jonathan Hafetz analysed the changes and the continuities in renditions under the Obama administration. He expressed particular concerns about the use of proxy detention and the substantive reach of US counter-terrorism legislation.

Finally, Roger posted a chart depicting the legal system of the world, and updated it with a more accurate one.

As always, we kept you informed with our weekday news wraps and a list of events and announcements. Deborah also advertised a panel discussion of Zero Dark Thirty hosted by Cardozo Law School on February 11.

Thank you to our guest contributors and have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: January 19-25, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Duncan was thrilled that the Supreme Court had finally reached a decision on whether to grant certiorari in Bond v United States, a case that requires revisiting Missouri v Holland. Julian though questioned whether Bond v United States will matter, although he gave his own two cents on the treaty power and federalism later.

Julian clearly got more excited about the Philippines’ move towards UNCLOS arbitration in the South China Sea dispute with China, which he labelled a game-changer. In further posts on this arbitration, he reflected on China’s options, disagreed with the Chinese argument that it could still withhold agreement to set up a tribunal and reflected on the irony that the Japanese ITLOS President gets to appoint an arbitrator on China’s behalf if China fails to do so.

Julian was surprised by John Bellinger’s op-ed on intervention in Syria, which John Bellinger then clarified in a guest post. Julian also noted a slight shift in the US foreign policy establishment against drone strikes with a recent critique on current policy by the Council of Foreign Relations

Kevin meanwhile was (nearly) rendered speechless, not once but twice, first by the US Air Force’s claim that US militarism is a fitting tribute to Martin Luther King and then by an article quoting Jeh Johnson as stating that MLK would approve the US’ current wars. He also thought that it was pathetic for Susan Rice to object to a “State of Palestine” nameplate in the UN Security Council. And this brings me to his next post on Palestine, summarizing why it matters formally that Palestine ratifies the Rome Statute on top of its ad hoc declaration under article 12(3).

In other posts, Kevin found a further reason to disagree with Judge Pohl’s decision in al-Nashiri, this time because of Hamdan II. Peter Spiro looked at President Obama’s second inaugural speech from the perspective of citizenship and concluded that the speech was mainly intended for domestic consumption. Julian had not noticed last weekend’s conclusion of the negotiations on an international agreement on the control of mercury and wondered about the negotiation dynamics. Finally, Kristen provided a list of International Law Apps and wondered whether we’ll see more of them in the future.

As always, we also provided a list of events and Announcements and our weekday news wraps.

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: January 12-18, 2013

by An Hertogen

The week on Opinio Juris started off on a lighter note with Ken’s post on the Obama Administration’s response to a petition to build the Death Star. And although the administration’s answer encourages readers to  “pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field”, our comments raised the question of customary inter-stellar law. The pop cultural fun continued later with a video linking Ken to the Terminator…

The call for referral of the Syria situation to the ICC was the topic of two posts. In a guest post, Jennifer Trahan analysed the merits of a referral and expressed some concerns about its implementation. Kevin also weighed in with a few thoughts. Jennifer’s comment then led Kevin to develop his argument that the Security Council cannot implicitly amend the ICC Statute, which triggered further discussion in the comments.

Continuing on the ICC, Kevin posted why Saif Gadhafi’s first court appearance in Libya undermines the state’s arguments in its complementarity challenge at the ICC. In another post, Kevin was very critical about the decision by Judge Pohl rejecting the argument that the US and Al-Qaeda were at war at the time of the attack on the USS Cole.

Kristen Boon compared sanctions by the UN Security Council with those imposed by regional organizations, particularly the African Union and ECOWAS, who are becoming increasingly active. Further on Africa, Deborah asked whether, under international and domestic law, the US could engage in armed drone strikes to assist the French intervention in Mali.

We also had two guest posts this week. Peter Margulies provided a guest post summarizing the debate on targeted killing at a recent symposium on the Boundaries of the Battlefield, co-ordinated by my fellow Assistant Editor, Jessica Dorsey, and Başak Çalı posted the second part of her series on international judicial review, comparing two cases of the European Court of Human Rights.

In addition to our regular Events and announcements post, Julian announced that Tom Graham, member of the WTO’s Appellate Body, will give the Shapiro lecture at Hofstra on February 6. Roger congratulated David Caron on his appointment as the new dean at the Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College London, and Kevin welcomed Diane Marie Amann back to the blogosphere. As always, we also provided you with daily news wraps.

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

Weekend Roundup: January 5-11, 2013

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio JurisKevin responded to Eugene Kontorovitch’s post over at The Volokh Conspiracy on the comparability of Israel’s settlement of the West Bank to Turkey’s settlement of Northern Cyprus, by arguing that both settlements are not comparable. Eugene rebutted by advancing five reasons why Turkey’s settlement is the graver violation of international law.

Reflecting on Zero Dark Thirty, Deborah wrote about the responsibility of film makers for the story they decide to tell, and deplored that Bigelow and Boal were not willing to engage more deeply in the public conversation on the use of torture in the war on terror. Further on the War on Terror, Ken argued that Jen Daskal’s NYTimes op-ed on keeping Guantanamo open for now is less heretic for a human rights lawyers than its title suggests.

Meanwhile, Duncan is still waiting for the US Supreme Court to decide on whether to grant certiorari, and in the process revisit Missouri v Holland, in the case of Carol Ann Bond.

Roger Alford posted a graph showing the growth of international law scholarship on Westlaw since 1987. Kevin brought two pieces of new scholarship to your attention by posting links to his essay on the role of the international prosecutor, forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication, and to a very timely essay by Luc Reydams on the US-Rwanda relationship.

In addition to posts by our regular contributors, we welcomed three guests on the blog this week. First, William Dodge contributed a guest post updating us on recent developments in official acts immunity. In her post, Jennifer Trahan hailed the extension of the US Rewards for Justice program to include the arrests of those wanted by international criminal tribunals, and suggested other ways to strengthen the US-ICC relationship. Finally, Başak Çalı offered a different framework to look at the often difficult relationship between domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that the latter is only engaged in weak international judicial review.

As always, we also provided you with our weekday news wraps and a listing of events and announcements.

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

Holiday Roundup: December 22, 2012 – January 4, 2013

by An Hertogen

Over the holidays here at Opinio Juris, the comments section of Kevin’s post on the distinction between the legality and the morality of drone strikes was a hive of activity. The post itself was a follow-up to a first post in which Kevin applied a comparative criminal law lens to argue that under the broader understanding of intent prevailing outside the United States, the moral distinction between the intentional killing of children in Newtown and the unintentional killing of children during drone strikes isn’t all that clear.

Inspired by the suggestion that Palestine could limit an ICC referral to the situation in the West Bank, Kevin advanced legal and political arguments against the notion that a self-referral could be geographically limited. Further on the ICC, Jelia Sane contributed a guest post reflecting on the Court’s first acquittal.

The end of 2012 inspired Chris to look towards future areas of (international) law in 2013 and beyond, focusing in particular on the need for regulation to deal with the impact of technological change, such as flying cars and 3D printing. Ken has already made a new year’s resolution to post more about robots, but promised to cover other areas as well. His first post of the year covered adulteration of extra virgin olive oil, showing that there is no limit to potential international law questions. Kristen Boon also reflected on the role of international law in settling the East China Sea dispute.

If you need to catch up with the news of the past fortnight, our weekday news wraps may be helpful. As always, we also provided our weekly events and announcements posts (1, 2).

Best wishes for 2013 to all our readers!