Armed Conflict

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The Law of Maritime Neutrality and Submarine Cables

In an era of great power competition in which states seek to avoid “taking sides,” the international law of neutrality deserves greater attention. Information technology is the contemporary currency of power and the global network of over 420 submarine cables spanning some 700,000 miles is the information superhighway used for sharing 97 percent of international communications. During armed conflict, belligerents could degrade, damage, or sever submarine cables, or use them to launch cyberattacks against their enemy. These activities invariably will affect the economic and military communications of neutral states. To what extent may belligerent states damage, destroy, or use submarine cables owned or operated by neutral states to prosecute the war effort? This question lies at the intersection of three areas of law: the peacetime law of the sea, the law governing submarine cables, and the law of naval warfare, including the law of maritime neutrality. There are few restrictions on using or destroying neutral submarine cables in the law of naval warfare, which is lex specialis, and prevails as against…

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EJIL: The Podcast! Episode 3 – Hacked Off!

In the latest episode of EJIL: The Podcast! is now available. This episode focuses on the application of international law to cyber operations by states and non-state actors. For this discussion, Sarah, Nouwen, Marko Milanovic and I are joined by Harriet Moynihan (Chatham House), and Tilman Rodenhäuser (International Committee of…

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The Dutch Prosecution’s Opening Statement in the MH-17 Trial: What Lies Beyond the Horizon?

On 9 March 2020, the Dutch Prosecution made its opening statement in the much anticipated MH-17 Trial, dealing with the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 over eastern Ukraine and the deaths of its 298 passengers. In doing so, the Prosecutor Ward Ferdinandusse shed light on some of the legal questions that arose…

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Territory as a Victim of Colombia’s War

In two recent resolutions, Colombia’s peace jurisdiction (Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz, SJP) resolved that the Katsa Su and the Cxhab Wala Kile, the territories of the indigenous Awá and Nasa peoples respectively, are victims of Colombia’s 50-year civil war. The two territories thus have the same rights that accrue to all accredited victims under the…

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The Duties of Occupying Powers in Relation to the Fight against Covid-19

Significant scholarship is investigating the array of international legal issues pertaining to the fight against Covid-19. This brief post aims at contributing to this debate by assessing the obligations upon occupying powers in this regard. Many sources have been reported that Covid-19 has reached occupied areas such as the OPT (e.g., here) and Northern…

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