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Extraterritorial Investigations in Hanan v. Germany; Extraterritorial Assassinations in New Interstate Claim Filed by Ukraine against Russia

In this post I will discuss two recent developments on the extraterritoriality of human rights front – the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Hanan v. Germany, no. 4871/16, on the compliance with Article 2 ECHR of the investigation by German authorities into the Kunduz incident in Afghanistan, and a new interstate claim filed this week with the European Court by Ukraine against Russia, on an alleged administrative practice by Russian authorities of assassinating perceived opponents abroad. (I also still have to write up a proper post on the Human Rights Committee’s decision re the drowning migrants in the Mediterranean – the extraterritoriality extravaganza continues next week…). First, on Hanan. The bottom line is that the Court, by 14 votes to 3, found that the procedural obligation to investigate applied to the conduct of German forces that were part of the ISAF contingent in Afghanistan, i.e. that the investigation was within Germany’s Article 1 ECHR jurisdiction, and unanimously, that…

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Command responsibility for Australian war crimes in Afghanistan

Introduction On 4 January 2021 the Australian Office of the Special Investigator officially commenced work (“OSI”). Its task is to conduct criminal investigations into Australian war crimes in Afghanistan, as revealed in the Brereton Report (discussed here). The report focusses on the killing of persons hors de combat or under Australian control by…

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Australian war crimes in Afghanistan: The Brereton Report

On Thursday 19 November Australia faced a reckoning with its recent past in Afghanistan.* Australian political culture approaches our armed forces with a great degree of deference and respect. Three of our last four Governors General have been, for example, senior military leaders. The Australian Defence Force support operations in respect of the January 2020 bushfires and the…

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The Situation in Afghanistan, US Sanctions and the Historical Narratives Emerging from the ICC

On 11 June 2020, the US announced a series of economic and travel sanctions against any officials of the ICC involved in an investigation into whether US forces committed war crimes related to the Afghan conflict (see here). The ICC Appeals Chamber had previously authorised the ICC Prosecutor to commence such an investigation (see…

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(Not) Investigating Kunduz and (Not) Judging in Strasbourg? Extraterritoriality, Attribution and the Duty to Investigate

  A 2009 airstrike near Kunduz, Afghanistan, that led to more than 100 casualties and was ordered by a German colonel will be the subject of oral arguments in the Grand Chamber (GC) of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case of Hanan v. Germany, tomorrow, 26 February 2020. On 4 September…

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