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!

Weekend Roundup: December 15-21. 2012

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, Kristen Boon followed up on her discussion last week about changes towards more transparency and fairness in the UN’s Al Qaida sanctions regime.

Craig Allen contributed a guest post on the ITLOS’ interim order for the release by Ghana of Argentina’s ARA Libertad. UNCLOS was also central to Duncan Hollis’ post on China’s submission to the Continental Shelf Commission in relation to the dispute regarding the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

Peggy McGuinness congratulated Diane Amann, Leila Sadat and Patricia Sellers on their appointments as special advisor to the ICC’s OTP, but was saddened that Diane’s appointment meant a goodbye from IntLawGrrls.

In response to John Bellinger’s NYTimes op-ed, Chris Borgen argued that it is up to Republican leadership to address their base’s aversion towards international treaties. Further on news from the US Senate, Deborah Pearlstein posted the open letter by Senators Feinstein, Levin and McCain to Sony Pictures, protesting against the depiction of torture as an effective means of intelligence gathering in the new movie Zero Dark Thirty. She followed up with a post on the CIA’s press release about the movie.

We concluded the week with our final journal symposium of the year, on the latest issue of the Leiden Journal of International Law. Dov Jacobs introduced the two articles to be discussed, and the comments, here. The first article, by Monika Ambrus, looked through the lens of discrimination law at the question of defining a group for the purpose of the definition of genocide. William Schabas questioned why the definition of genocide needs to be broadened given that the definition of a crime against humanity has already been expanded to include peacetime atrocities. Frederic Mégret’s comment focused on the 19th century understanding of race and ethnicity that permeates the genocide definition. Monika Ambrus’ response is here. Samantha Besson’s article on extra-territoriality of the European Convention of Human Rights was the second article in the symposium. Comments were provided by Cedric Ryngaert and Marko Milanovic, to which Samantha Besson responded here.

Our weekly events and announcements and weekday news wraps completed the week.

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: December 8-14, 2012

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, a guest post by Daniel Bethlehem, following up on a post by Julian Ku last week, offered three more legal bases for the legality of an intervention in Syria. Also continuing on some of last week’s themes, Kevin Jon Heller wrote how a recent decision by the ICC’s Appeals Chamber confirms his argument on retroactive ad hoc jurisdiction, and Deborah Pearlstein couldn’t resist taking apart Eric Posner’s Slate article on Jeh Johnson’s recent speech in Oxford. In another post, Deborah refused to read too much into the decisions by Harold Koh and Jeh Johnson to step down from their respective roles at the State Department and the Pentagon.

Ken Anderson recapped the recent debate on autonomous weapon systems and regulation, about which he has created a brief bibliography over at Lawfare. He also extended his congratulations to various members of the OJ community, including Kevin who was recently promoted to Associate Professor & Reader.

Kevin discussed rumours that the OTP is investigating the actions of the M23 movement and others in eastern Congo, and Kirsten Boon discussed the UN Security Council’s upcoming review of the mandate of the Ombudsperson and monitoring regime for al-Qaida sanctions.

On a lighter note, Duncan Hollis provided a link to Jimmy Fallon’s routine on the best treaty in the world and Kevin posted about international relations as depicted by cats.

As always, we provided a listing of upcoming events and daily news wraps.

Have a nice weekend!

Weekend Roundup: December 1-7, 2012

by An Hertogen

This week on Opinio Juris, we continued a few conversations from last week. Kevin Jon Heller clarified his argument about the retroactive acceptance of the ICC’s jurisdiction, and challenged the assumption that Palestine was not a state before last week’s UNGA vote. Deborah Pearlstein advanced three reasons for the importance of Jeh Johnson’s recent speech on the conditions for calling an end to the war on terror.

Continuing on the war on terror, Kevin expressed concern over the extension of US targeting policy in Afghanistan to “children with potential hostile intent“.

A few posts dealt with the growing divide between US law and international law. In a guest post on the Feinstein amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, Jonathan Hafetz argued that the amendment widens the rift between US constitutional law and international law by deepening discrimination against non-citizens.  Peter Spiro and Julian Ku both wrote about the Senate’s rejection of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Peter argued that the rejection does not prove that sovereigntism lives, but rather that the supermajority required by the US constitution’s Treaty clause is outdated. He also posted a link to a Daily Show segment on the vote. Julian argued that sovereigntists should have held their fire for other treaties that, contrary to the CRPD, may actually have an impact on US law. In another post, Julian argued that a unilateral US intervention in Syria if the Assad regime deploys chemical weapons would be illegal under international law.

Following a recent meeting of the International Commission on the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna, Kristen Boon discussed possible incentives to avoid overfishing. Kristen also discussed whether the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States (CERDS) could fill the legal void surrounding land grabbing.

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

Have a nice weekend!