Armed Conflict

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The Olympic Truce: Tradition or International Law?

Ekécheiria ("laying down of arms") was a noble tradition of antiquity, by which Greek city-states were to observe a sacred truce during the Olympics. This truce, born of a treaty between the polis of Elis, Pisa and Sparta, extended from one week before the start to one week after the end of the classical Olympic Games, to allow contestants and attendees to arrive safely at Olympia, in the region of Elis, to participate in or watch the competitions, and then return in peace to their places of origin. Contrary to the widespread popular belief, the Greek polis did not cease their hostilities among themselves. Only the region of Elis was protected from invasion, while the other city-states had the obligation not to interfere with the realization of the Games or prevent the passage of those who were going to or coming from Olympia. When the Olympic Games, in their modern version, were reestablished in 1896, the institution of the Olympic Truce was not initially part of the event. It was "revived" only in 1992…

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Are sabotage of submarine pipelines an ‘armed attack’ triggering a right to self-defence?

On 26 and 27 September 2022, explosions damaged NordStream 1 and NordStream 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea (here). These are major transboundary pipelines (consisting of two pipelines each) transporting gas from Russia to Germany. They cross the territorial sea of three States (Russia, Denmark and Germany) and the exclusive economic zone (‘EEZ’) of five States (Russia,…

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Occupation of Minds: IHL Response to Russian Education Policies in the Occupied Ukrainian Territories

Into the eighth month of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia has rushed to implement its plan to annex and assimilate newly occupied southern-eastern regions of Ukraine via sham referenda and attempted absorption of territories through respective domestic laws. The areas in question include parts of the Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and…

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Small conflicts with big impact: The Tajik-Kyrgyz war no one talks about

The whole world is shaken by the tragic events happening along Ukrainian frontlines. Other conflicts, however, including those which might be profoundly important for regional, and perhaps even global security remain overlooked. One such conflict is the recent escalation of violence on the Tajik-Kyrgyz border that remained mostly uncovered by international media. The exchange of fire between the…

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Remedial Peoplehood: Russia’s New Theory on Self-Determination in International Law and its Ramifications beyond Ukraine

The evolution of samoopredelenie or self-determination dates back to the early 20th century when these terms were used by the Russian Bolsheviks and the West respectively to advance ideological and political objectives. Now once again the concept of self-determination and its subject, i.e., people, have been variously invoked to justify support for the people of Ukraine writ large,…

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