Armed Conflict

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Ecocide: an Ambiguous Crime?

One year ago, a panel of legal experts convened by the Stop Ecocide International Foundation (Expert Panel) proposed that the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) be amended to expand the ICC’s jurisdiction to include ecocide. To effect this change, the Expert Panel drew up the following definition of the crime of ecocide: ‘unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.’ According to this definition, conduct must meet two thresholds to qualify as ecocide. First, the conduct must be committed with knowledge of a substantial likelihood of serious damage. Second, it must either be unlawful in domestic or international law or wanton, meaning that it must committed ‘with reckless disregard for damage which would be clearly excessive in relation to the social and economic benefits anticipated.’ In this post, I intend to show that the drafting of this definition, which intimately connects ecocide to aspects of both International…

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Assessing the Authority of the ICRC Customary IHL Study

If you are desperately in need of some light summer reading, dear readers, I have just the thing for you, inclusive of beach-ready spreadsheets if you want them. Sandy Sivakumaran and I recently posted on SSRN a draft article, ‘Assessing the Authority of the ICRC Customary IHL Study,’ which is forthcoming in the International Review…

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Who Has Effective Control in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh Region?

Following the so-called “44-Day War” between Armenia and Azerbaijan in late 2020, the conflicting parties continue several legal battles before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), alleging various violations of international law. The war saw Azerbaijan liberate a significant part of its territories under Armenia’s three-decade-long occupation,…

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Challenges in Assessing Colombia’s ‘Post Conflict’: A follow-up

In March, 11 people died in a controversial army operation in Putumayo, southern Colombia. Human rights groups said that at least some of the dead appeared to be civilians. The army alleged the operation complied with international humanitarian law, saying that all the dead were “criminals” and that the operation had targeted an armed…

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The Sad and Cynical Spectacle of the Draft British Bill of Rights

It is a habit peculiar to autocracies to choose names for themselves that are the exact opposite of their true nature – viz. the ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’ – and to have constitutions loudly proclaiming the protection of individual rights that are routinely trampled upon in practice. You would have hoped that one of the world’s oldest…

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