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The Afghan War and the Responsibility to Rebuild

1. The fall of Kabul and Joe Biden's speech of 16 August 2021 With the fall of Kabul on August 15, 2021 and US troops hastily withdrawing from Afghanistan, a process still ongoing at the time of writing this contribution (17 August 2021) an intervention and also an experiment lasting almost two decades has come to an end. This endeavor that had been extremely risky and enormous hopes were attached to it. While it must be left to future historians and political analysts to assess this intervention as a whole, the chaotic and heart-wrenching scenes at Kabul airport and the embarrassing and disconcerting responses coming from government palaces all over the world do not bode well for the outcome of this future judgment. Here the legal aspects of the last chapter of the Afghanistan intervention and of the withdrawal shall stand at the center of the attention. While much has been written about the International Law aspects of the intervention in this country, the perception could be that International Law has less to say…

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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,…

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Protecting Societies – Anchoring a new protection dimension in international law during armed conflict: An agenda for discussion

Adversarial military cyber operations carried out during armed conflict can affect the functioning of civilian societies in unprecedented ways, challenging the protective reach of international humanitarian law (IHL). In light of this, we argue for a recognition of new protection needs to shield critical societal processes from military cyber threats in situations of armed conflict. A…

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Amicus Curiae Brief re MH17; Human Rights Committee on Search and Rescue at Sea

Recent weeks have been something of an extraterritoriality extravaganza. So let’s continue with that theme, hopefully not ad nauseam. First, readers might be interested in the amicus curiae brief that my colleague Sangeeta Shah and I co-authored and which we submitted this week to the European Court of Human Rights in…

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Georgia v. Russia No. 2: The European Court’s Resurrection of Bankovic in the Contexts of Chaos

Last week the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the second interstate case brought by Georgia against Russia (no. 38263/08), dealing with the August 2008 conflict between the two states (see my brief preview here ; for a summary of the judgment see the Court’s press…

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