Armed Conflict

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ICC Prosecutor’s application for arrest warrant against Israeli leaders: The war crime of starvation and its contextual element

On 20 May 2024, the ICC Prosecutor requested arrest warrants against leaders of both Hamas and Israel. The key crime charged against the Israeli leaders, Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister) and Yoav Gallant (the Minister of Defence), is the war crime of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare. This crime raises numerous issues, including in relation to its intentional element, which has already been discussed elsewhere (here and here). This post focusses instead on the contextual element of that war crime, specifically that it must have been committed ‘in the context of and associated with’ an armed conflict. The main issue concerns the nature of that armed conflict. The war crime of starvation as a method of warfare is only applicable to the ongoing armed conflict in Gaza if that conflict is qualified as an international armed conflict (IAC). Although that war crime is included in the lists of war crimes under the ICC jurisdiction for both international and non-international armed conflicts (NIAC), the…

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Karim Khan’s Dubious Characterization of the Gaza Hostilities

In his 20 May 2024 press statement announcing his intent to seek arrest warrants for Palestinian and Israeli figures, Prosecutor Karim Khan of the International Criminal Court says, “My Office submits that the war crimes alleged in these applications were committed in the context of an international armed conflict between Israel and Palestine, and a…

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The Legality of ASPIDES Protection Activities in the Framework of the Collective Countermeasures Doctrine

Any views and opinions presented in this post are solely those of the author and are expressed exclusively in the author’s personal capacity. Note by the Editors: This post has been amended (three sentences were deleted and several minor edits were made) subsequent to publication at the author’s request, none of which affect the substance…

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Targeting mistakes and other unintended engagements in armed conflict: The explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza

Armed conflicts are marred by misidentifications and miscalculations. Civilians carry the brunt of identification mistakes and faulty military equipment, often being harmed not intentionally, but due to the carelessness of parties to conflict. In the past months, reports of unintended engagements have been particularly frequent. On 5 May, it was announced that Russia has ‘accidentally bombed its…

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Interstate use of armed force in third states: what are the implications for conflict classification?

The events that are rapidly unfolding in the Middle East lately are a cause of grave concern in an increasingly violent and volatile world. On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus killed a senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as several other officers. Apart from the jus ad…

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