Weekend Roundup: July 28 – August 3, 2012

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris we provided a forum to two guest posters, Gabor Rona and Michael W. Lewis, who continued their earlier conversation on targeted killing over at Lawfare. In his first post, Gabor asked whether the politicians and military leaders in charge of defining the criteria for targetability will take a more liberal attitude because their own risk is zero and argued that the concept of ‘co-belligerency’ cannot as easily be transposed from an international armed conflict to a non-international armed conflict. Michael Lewis disagreed that leaders are willing to take higher risks with civilian lives and argued that the application or IHL or HRL should not depend on whether a group focuses on military, or only on civilian targets. Since Michael had the final word over at Lawfare, Gabor was given the final word this time.

Ken Anderson marked the passing of Sir John Keegan and reminisced on his own interactions with him.

As you may remember, in June Kevin intensively covered Melinda Taylor’s detention in Libya. He followed up on this with a discussion of the OPCD’s response to Libya’s admissibility challenge which contains a detailed account of the facts leading up to, and during, her detention. He also added a swatch with hidden spy capacities to his wish list for his next 29th birthday. In another post, Kevin fine-tuned his earlier argument that an ICC case does not become admissible simply because the national investigation or prosecution does not live up to international standards of due process. The added nuance is that a case would be admissible if a state does not live up to its domestic standards of due process.

Kevin gleefully noted how the climate change denial camp lost a high profile member whose research funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation revealed results that the donors probably were not too thrilled about.

As always, we provided you with our daily news wraps and with a list of upcoming events. Junior Faculty Members may also be interested to read more about the Second Annual Junior Faculty Forum for International Law to take place at Nottingham in May 2013.

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

Weekend Roundup: July 21 – 27, 2012

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we shared what our Readers’ Survey taught us about our readers, and we implemented a widely requested new feature: the Opinio Juris Job Board. You can access the Job Board here or via the link on the right-hand sidebar. If the survey has left you wanting to know more about Opinio Juris, check out Chris Borgen’s recent TV interview about the blog’s origins. Recent research has shown that we have become one of the top 10 cited blogs, as Kevin mentions here.

Peter Spiro posted about the possibility that Honduras may outsource certain appeals procedures to Mauritius, which could ultimately lead to cases with respect to Honduras being decided by the Privy Council, and raised three points about overseas voting and campaign finance in response to Mitt Romney’s visit to the UK.

Speaking of Mitt Romney, while he may have questioned whether London is ready for the Olympics, we here at Opinio Juris certainly are, with Peter paying attention to questions of the nationality of competitors. He posted about a decision by the IOC’s Executive Board allowing a marathon runner to compete as an Independent Olympic Athlete, and discussed whether there is a solution to avoid strategic nationality choices in the Olympics. You can find more about the latter, including Peter’s argument to remove the requirement that an athlete is a national of the country of the National Olympic Committee entering him or her, on NYTimes’ Room for Debate.

Kevin Jon Heller discussed a change in policy in the US towards Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame over military support to warlords in the DRC. He was also puzzled by a statement of the OTP that the ICC does not have jurisdiction because Rwanda is not a party even though the alleged aiding and abetting took place in the DRC, which is a party.

Duncan Hollis argued that the Aurora shootings are unlikely to change US positions during negotiations of the Arms Trade Treaty.

In a guest post, Solon Solomon wrote about the dynamic interpretation of the law of occupation. A second guest post, by Annie Gell, discussed the practical lessons to be learned from the recently concluded Taylor trial.

Finally, our list of upcoming events is here and the weekday news wrap is here.

Thank you to our guest posters for their contributions and have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: July 14-20, 2012

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Julian Ku discussed how the announcement by two US Senators of their position against ratification of the UNCLOS, has effectively sunk ratification for this year, and argued that the next administration should seek out bilateral agreements to protect commercial exploitation of the seabed on the high seas.

Deborah Pearlstein argued why the US, even if it is not at war with Yemen, is at war in Yemen, and discussed the legal consequences thereof.

Kevin Jon Heller gave four reasons why the ICC should not get involved in Mali and discussed the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber’s rejection of the Office of the Public Counsel for the Defence’s request that certain information in its response to Libya’s admissibility challenge be kept confidential to all other parties involved.

Roger Alford summarized empirical evidence on the question whether democracies are less corrupt than autocratic regimes.

We also had a guest post by Sari Bashi who welcomed the candor, although not the conclusions, of a recent Israeli committee report renouncing the existence of a state of occupation in the West Bank.

Our bloggers also wrote about interesting new material that has recently become available. Duncan Hollis, our resident connoisseur of databases and digests, posted about the release of the 2011 Digest of United States Practice and the wider availability of a database on bilateral civilian nuclear co-operation agreements. Duncan also welcomed Arms Control Law to the blogosphere.

Kevin Jon Heller drew your attention to a recent essay by David Frakt on direct participation by civilians in hostilities as a war crime, which led to further discussion between John C. Dehn and David Frakt in our comments.

Jessica Dorsey posted about the digital release of volume 88 of the US Naval War College’s International Law Studies’ Blue Book series.

Finally, we published a list of upcoming events and our daily news wraps.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend Roundup: July 7-13, 2012

by Jessica Dorsey

This week, Opinio Juris was a bit lighter on the blogging due to the Fourth of July holiday in the US, but we did feature a post from Peggy McGuinness that pointed out a discussion on the St. John’s Center for Law and Religion Forum around the question of whether American foreign policy is Christian, in a conversation Mark Movsesian had with Andrew Preston. Preston is the author of Sword of the Spirit, Shield of the Faith, a book examining the role of faith in US foreign policy and military strategy.

Kevin Jon Heller kept us abreast of the sentencing of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo at the ICC this week, wherein Lubanga received 14 years (minus the six years he has already served while in the custody of the Court) for conscripting enlisting and using children under the age of 15 to directly participate in hostilities. Additionally, Kevin blogged about the implications of a story in the UK’s The Guardian wherein Professor James Crawford alleged that the EU may ban imports from the West Bank.

Kevin also blogged about the new PhD program in law at Yale University, the first of its kind (though there are other universities in the US offering interdisciplinary PhD programs coupled with legal or jurisprudential studies), which drew many insightful comments on the introduction of such a degree to the American system. And finally, Kevin compared the criticism about the operation of the ICC found in Eric Posner’s recent op-ed with the costs involved in the military commissions system in the United States. Both legal systems are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year.

The Opinio Juris readers’ survey closed at midnight on Friday, so to those who participated: a big Thank You Very Much! The results of the survey will certainly give us here at OJ helpful insight about what we might be able to do to make the site better for all of you.

Have a great weekend, everyone!