Author: Alonso Gurmendi

On May 3rd, a group of 60 Venezuelan expatriates and two American former Green Berets launched an operation to topple the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro, in Venezuela. The operation looked more like something out of a bad streaming series than an actual military mission. Their plan was to arrive by boat at a fishing town north of the Capital, Caracas, somehow storm the heavily fortified...

[Alonso Gurmendi Dunkelberg is currently Professor of International Law at Universidad del Pacífico Law School in Lima, Peru.] The COVID-19 pandemic can be understood through various different frameworks. It can be a vindication of anti-neoliberalism, a resurgence of nationalism, or even an opportunity to criticize or praise democracy and autocracy. The issue of framing is an increasingly important, if underestimated, meta-discussion...

Most readers will be familiar with the Caroline Affair. A group of Canadian rebels seized an American vessel and used it to transport ammunitions from the US to Canada. British forces raided the ship, burned it, killed two men, and sent its wreckage over the Niagara Falls. The incident gave rise to perhaps one of the most frequently quoted maxims in the law of use...

My last post raised a few questions on how we should approach the issue of targeted killings as first strikes in international armed conflicts (IACs). The ensuing Twitter debate proved very enriching, generating some answers and many more questions. This time around, I would like to elaborate on some of these answers and what do I make of their implications for IHL going forward.  The main...

Yes. The American strike against Qassem Soleimani was illegal. This is the common conclusion of some of the world’s best experts on international law and jus ad bellum (see here and here for a couple of examples). And, lets be clear, the Iranian response was also illegal (see here and here). Let’s not dwell on these already explored and answered...

If there is one thing we can agree on is that recognition of belligerency is in disuse – that it is a relic of the 19th century and that it died off sometime before the Spanish Civil War, right? Recognition of belligerency either “fell into desuetude” or is in a state of “current total disuse”. In fact, says Prof. Sivakumaran, “at least since 1949, and more...

Over at Just Security, my friend Adil Haque has written a fantastic post on self-defense and non-state actors. Adil’s main point is that Article 51 of the UN Charter does not apply to armed attacks by non-state actors given its “Latin American origin”. He explains how it should be read in accordance with the Act of Chapultepec, which referred only to inter-state uses of force. I highly...

I want to call readers attention to an important case coming out of Brazil. This week, the 2nd Regional Federal Tribunal (TRF2), based in Rio de Janeiro decided a case against Antônio Waneir Pinheiro Lima, a retired army sergeant, accused of raping and torturing Inês Etienne Romeu, the sole survivor of a clandestine torture center known as the “House of Death”. The case is relevant because,...

A few weeks ago I presented my book on the Peruvian armed conflict at FIL, Lima’s International Book Fair. The book, “Conflicto Armado en el Perú: La Época del Terrorismo bajo el Derecho Internacional” (“Armed Conflict in Peru: The Times of Terrorism under International Law”), published by Universidad del Pacífico Press, explores how politicized misinformation on the conflict’s history has...

Last Monday, Prof. Stephen Walt published a controversial article on his Foreign Policy blog. The title (which he did not choose and has since been changed) was regrettable: “Who Will Invade Brazil to Save the Amazon?” Written as part of the fallout from Brazil’s new (and terrible) deforestation policy, the post asks what exactly should the international community do to prevent states like Brazil from causing...

Recently, there’s been many a discussion in the Global North on the semiotics of law. What does it mean to say there was a genocide in Canada or that ICE runs concentration camps. In general, these debates follow a similar pattern: specific groups of people are outraged that scholars and experts would use the correct terminology to describe a policy they support, because it sounds...