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Israel: Cry, the Beloved Country

This piece is cross-posted on Verfassungsblog. Israel, like many other democracies today, is a deeply polarized society. The operating principle of public discourse is typically: ‘Art thou for us or for our adversaries’ (Joshua 5:13). Whether it is the never-ending Arab-Israeli conflict and the 55-year Occupation of the Territories (even how to call them both is a divisive issue), or questions of church and state resulting from Israel’s self-definition as Jewish and democratic, one could predict with unerring certainty who one would find on either side of the verbal, political and at times physical barricades. In recent times, the figure of Mr Netanyahu and the legal woes he is facing have deepened the polarization. It is thus telling that, in the recent eruption in response to Netanyahu’s new government plan to reform the judicial system, not only have the protesters’ numbers risen to an unprecedented scale but one finds, both in Israel and in the Jewish communities around the world, prominent figures and many individuals – card-carrying Zionists of a centre/right…

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Vessel-Source Marine Pollution and the Non-Suspension of Coastal State or Port State Proceedings: Pinpointing Flag States of Repeat Disregard in Article 228 of UNCLOS?

As we straddle the 40th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 50th Anniversary of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), State and academic attention re-focuses on tackling marine pollution. Indeed, an ITLOS Advisory Opinion concerning Part XII will likely address MARPOL’s incorporation through the UNCLOS ‘rules…

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Milestone or missed opportunity? The ECtHR Grand Chamber judgment in Fedotova v. Russia on the legal recognition of same-sex couples

On the 17th of January 2023, the European Court of Human Rights issued its long-awaited Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Fedotova v. Russia (nos. 40792/10, etc). Although the Court has dealt numerous times with the rights of same-sex couples, this was the first time that the Grand Chamber had to deal with the…

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Will history repeat itself? Anticipating the ICJ advisory opinion on the legal status of Israel’s occupation and its consequences

The Request for Advisory Opinion On 30 December 2022 the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/77/247, containing the annual indictment of Israeli practices in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. In addition, the resolution contains one novelty, a request addressed to the ICJ to render an Advisory Opinion on the following…

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The Genesis of Lex Specialis

When it comes to describing the relationship between human rights and international humanitarian law, the lex specialis principle is frequently taken for granted, as if it has somehow always been there, carved in stone. But what is its actual genesis? By ‘genesis’ I do not mean its ancient…

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Is Security Council Authorisation Really Necessary to Allow Cross-Border Humanitarian Assistance in Syria?

  In December last year, Russia and China vetoed a draft Security Council resolution that would have renewed the authorisation for humanitarian assistance to be provided in Syria via four designated border-crossings. The authorisation had been in place since Resolution 2165 (2014), and had…

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Kevin Heller Book Discussion Wrap-Up

We again wish to extend our thanks to all of the discussants of Kevin Heller’s book on both EJIL: Talk! and Opinio Juris. In addition to Kevin’s introduction, readers can find at the specified links the contributions of Michael Marrus, Alexa Stiller, and…

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Qatar’s Reservations to the ICCPR: Anything new under the VCLT Sun?

On 21 May 2018, Qatar become the third country in the Gulf region to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This followed Kuwait in 1996 and Bahrain in 2006. Qatar’s ratification came with a long list of reservations and statements. That these…

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Taking Stock of the Law on Targeting, Part II

On Monday, I used the recently released U.S. report on military operations to assess the law on targeting. I argued that the dominant mode for analyzing these operations — asking whether international humanitarian law (IHL), international human rights law (IHRL), or a combination of both regimes governs —…

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The ICC Assembly of States Parties Prepares to Activate the ICC’s Jurisdiction over the Crime of Aggression: But Who Will be Covered by that Jurisdiction?

The states parties to the Statute of the International Criminal Court have been meeting in New York recently to begin discussions that it is hoped will lead to a decision at this December’s Assembly of States Parties to activate the Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. These…

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