Armed Conflict

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In Defence of Doctrinal Assessments: Proportionality and the 31 October Attack on the Jabalia Refugee Camp

The 31 October attack by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) on the Jabalia refugee camp has understandably generated a significant degree of discussion and commentary, including on these pages. With this post, I join the discussion to defend what I characterize as a doctrinal application of the law of armed conflict (LOAC). From this perspective, the outcome of the analysis – that is, a determination of the lawfulness of the attack – is not the focus. Reasonable minds can certainly differ regarding the final conclusion of any legal analysis. Instead, my focus is on the process utilized to arrive at that conclusion. Assessing the LOAC Distinction and Discrimination Rules To frame the present analysis among the discussion of the attack on these pages to date, I commend the assessment presented by Andreea Manea suggesting that it is too early to tell whether the attack was lawful. However, I suggest that information gathered in the days, weeks, and months after the attack is largely irrelevant when…

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In Defence of Preliminary Assessments: Proportionality and the 31 October Attack on the Jabalia Refugee Camp

Some international crimes require little information to spot, identify and characterize. Others are more difficult to discern because of unclear law, or a need for detailed factual information. While legal commentators can easily make determinations about the former, there is significant debate about the utility of making assessments about the latter during the conflict in Israel/Gaza. For example,…

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A lethal misconception, in Gaza and beyond: disguising indiscriminate attacks as potentially proportionate in discourses on the laws of war

In recent years and, despite the reality, in the last weeks, a trend among laws of armed conflict scholars has consolidated. This trend is in antithesis to the choral denunciation of mass civilian victimization as unlawful and criminal in other conflict theatres (such as, agreeably, in relation to the war against Ukraine). In contrast, bombing campaigns in Gaza…

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Too Early To Tell? The (Un)lawfulness of Israeli Attacks: The Case of the Jabalia Refugee Camp

During two consecutive days, on 31 October and 1 November 2023, Israeli air forces organized a series of air raids which hit Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp. The number of casualties is not yet clear at the time of writing of this post. However, victims seem to amount to at least 195 people confirmed dead and…

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Our Shared Horror

Since Hamas’ fighters entered Israeli territory less than a week ago at least 1,200 people in Israel and 1,100 in Gaza have been killed, more than 100 have been taken hostage, thousands have been wounded, more than 2 million are cut off from food, fuel and…

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