Armed Conflict

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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 to protect navigational rights and freedoms for commercial and naval vessels in the Red Sea. Two weeks ago, also the European Union formally decided to get involved in the conflict and launched a naval mission against the attacks by the Houthis. In contrast to the US-led operation, the EU’s mission serves purely defensive purposes, and its mandate is limited to repelling attacks on the High Seas, thereby excluding any direct involvement on Yemen’s territory (here). On Friday, February 24, also the German Parliament (Bundestag) decided on a mandate for the deployment of the German Bundeswehr as part of EU’s Aspides mission (here), and last week, the German naval frigate Hessen was reported to have repelled an…

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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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The Mariupol Test: Analysing the Briefs of Third States Intervening in Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia

The interstate case of Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia is currently pending on its merits before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. It is one of the most complex and politically momentous cases ever to be heard by the Court. Russia is no longer participating in the proceedings, and will not comply with…

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Nothing is certain but death and taxes (unless you get hacked): An international law perspective on Ukraine’s cyber attack against Russia’s Federal Tax Service

Talk about bad timing. This week, all international lawyers with a little more than passing interest in all things cyber have their eyes on – or are themselves in – New York. That’s because the UN “Cyber OEWG”, a shorthand for an open-ended working group with a much longer name, is in session to discuss,…

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