Armed Conflict

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Common Article 1 Does Prohibit Complicity in IHL Violations, Through Arms Transfers or Otherwise

Last week, over on Articles of War, I read with great interest a post on Common Article 1 (CA1) of the Geneva Conventions by my good friends Mike Schmitt and Sean Watts. Their post, building on their prior work, argues that CA1 should not be understood as having any external dimension. It comments in that regard on the case brought by Nicaragua against Germany before the International Court of Justice, in which the Court is now deliberating on the request for provisional measures. Anything that Mike and Sean write is always going to be thoughtful and considered. But I must confess that I was somewhat perplexed after reading their post, on two counts. First, in their post Mike and Sean claim that their argument is strictly confined to matters of law and not policy. But they nonetheless express regret in the post that Germany did not expressly argue in favor of their own position that CA1 has no external dimension, which they regard…

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A reply to Brassat: The Military Strikes Against the Houthis in Yemen and the ‘Fourth Problem’ of Necessity and Proportionality

A few days ago Leonie Brassat published an excellent piece on EJIL Talk! which discussed the possible legal bases upon which the current military strikes against the Houthis in the Red Sea and Yemen might be located. The piece centered on the right of self-defence and set out ‘three problems’ which were focused exclusively on the…

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The Lawfulness of military strikes against the Houthis in Yemen and the Red Sea

For almost two months, since January 11, 2024, the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK), with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, have been conducting airstrikes against Houthi facilities in Yemen and the Red Sea in response to Houthi attacks on commercial and merchant vessels in the Red Sea. With their strikes, they aim…

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No peace for the dead: legal questions about Israel’s destruction of cemeteries in Gaza

In Gaza not even the dead are at peace. In mid-December the New York Times and the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor first reported that Israel had destroyed several cemeteries in Gaza, bulldozing graves, scattering human remains, and even exhuming bodies, some of which were subsequently taken to Israel. Last week,…

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Protecting commercial shipping with strikes into Yemen: Do attacks against merchant shipping trigger the right of self-defence?

On January 11, 2024, the US and UK, supported by a group of other States, commenced attacks against targets in Yemen. These attacks were preceded by a range of efforts to secure the sea lines of communication through the Red Sea against continued attacks by the Houthis from Yemen territory. A maritime coalition taskforce was set up…

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