Weekend Roundup: August 25 – September 7, 2012

by An Hertogen

At the start of the US academic year, Peggy welcomed Stephen Walt’s recommendation, though not his reasons, that wannabe foreign policy wonks study international law, and Roger Alford posted about James Phillips and John Yoo’s analysis of international and comparative law all-stars at the top 16 US law schools.

The Republican and Democratic conventions also caught our bloggers’ attention. Julian Ku posted about the strong language in the draft republican platform on protecting American sovereignty and opposing agreements such as UNCLOS, and Peter Spiro doubted whether the idea of citizenship, pressed in Obama’s speech, would stick given the hollow meaning of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship nowadays.

Congratulations are in order for Duncan Hollis, whose edited volume The Oxford Guide to Treaties is now available in Europe and can be ordered in the US.

Roger Alford posted on the legislative fixes to the problem of executing damages claims against Iran, and provided background to the case that prompted the fix.

Following the revelations in “No Easy Day“, Kevin Jon Heller felt compelled to revise his earlier position that Osama Bin Laden’s killing was legal, and, in a follow-up post, discussed what it means for a combatant to be hors de combat.

In ICL news, Kevin posted about Mauritania’s surprise decision to extradite al-Senussi to Libya, increasing the chances of Libya’s admissibility challenge at the ICC succeeding. Kevin was also baffled by Justice Sow’s agreement to testify in the appeal brought by Charles Taylor’s defense team against his conviction by the Special Court for Sierra Leone, in support of his allegations when the original judgment was read that there had been no deliberations.

If you want to follow Kevin more, he is now on Twitter, as are a few of his co-bloggers, and Opinio Juris itself.

Finally, we also posted some upcoming events and provided you with our weekday compilations of international news.

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: August 11-24, 2012

by An Hertogen

With the start of the US academic year just around the corner, activity picked up here at Opinio Juris this week. There certainly wasn’t a shortage of international law items to discuss…

First, there is of course the diplomatic spat between the UK and Ecuador over Julian Assange’s extradition to Sweden. Once Kevin was done banging his head on the table after yet another news article confusing the ICJ and the ICC, he reposted Mark Klamberg’s discussion on the likelihood of Assange’s extradition from Sweden to the US. Julian argued that his notorious namesake has no right to safe passage out of the UK to take up diplomatic asylum in Ecuador, and assumed that Assange’s legal team must be bluffing with its threats of taking the case to the ICJ.

Then, there are the growing territorial tensions in Asia. Julian argued that Korea’s refusal to accept Japan’s invitation to have the ICJ settle their dispute over the Dokdo/Takeshima islands does not bode well for the future of international arbitration in Asia. He also posted about his recent article about China’s wariness towards international adjudication.

As always, Kevin kept us up to speed with the latest developments in international criminal law. He questioned why the UN’s Human Rights Council’s Commission for Inquiry on Libya did not investigate whether the rebels (Thuwar) committed the crime against humanity of persecution or even genocide against the Tawerghans. He also discussed why a non-state actor cannot – and should not be able to – challenge admissibility at the ICC.

Kevin also donned his advertiser hat; he plugged Sandy Sivakumaran’s book on the Law of Non-International Armed Conflict, welcomed Google’s tool visualizing small arms trade and gleefully announced that his current hometown, Melbourne, was voted the world’s most liveable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

In other posts, Kevin accused Israel’s Foreign Ministry of being tone-deaf for using apartheid rhetoric in response to South Africa’s decision that goods imported from the Occupied Palestinian Territories have to be labelled as such. Julian drew a parallel between the Bush Doctrine and Obama’s recent statement that the use of chemical or biological weapons in Syria could trigger a military response by the US and its allies. Peggy discussed the Pussy Riot sentence in Moscow, and Duncan published an update of his six essential international law cases for the classroom.

Finally, we also provided you with a list of upcoming events and weekday news wraps.

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: August 4-10, 2012

by An Hertogen

It may be summer break in the US, but in Australia the academic year is in full swing with Kevin keeping the spotlight on Libya. First, he linked to his new essay on SSRN, entitled “The International Commission of Inquiry on Libya: A Critical Analysis.”

Kevin also posted Saif Gaddafi’s unsigned statement about the fairness of his trial in Libya, discussed the OPCD’s response to Libya’s admissibility challenge and particularly the argument that Libya is unable to obtain custody of Saif. Kevin also questioned Libya’s integrity in its motion requesting more time to reply to OPCD’s response. Libya’s problem obtaining custody of Senussi, whom Mauretania wants to prosecute first, was the topic of another of Kevin’s posts. Last week Kevin added this swatch to his wishlist, but now that an image of it has been released, it may look more appropriate on his better half. As it turned out, Libya didn’t only make claims about a video pen and GPS swatch, but now also claims that the OPCD team was on a mission to assassinate their own client.

This concluded our week of Libya coverage. As always, we also provided you with weekday news wraps and a weekly listing of upcoming events.

We wish all our readers a great weekend!

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!