Armed Conflict

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Progressive Development of International Human Rights Law: The Reports of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

Tilman Rodenhäuser is a PhD candidate at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. The crisis in Syria has entered its third year and violence has risen to unprecedented levels. This is not only the case for acts committed by regime forces but also for violence by members of different armed groups fighting the Assad regime. At a time when the situation in Syria was still marked by the crackdown of regime forces on protesters, the Human Rights Council decided in August 2011 to establish a Commission of Inquiry. The Commission is mandated to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law since March 2011, to establish facts, and to identify perpetrators in order to ensure accountability in the future. Documenting human rights violations at the different stages of the crisis, the Commission of Inquiry made some remarkable findings, particularly on the law applicable to acts of violence committed by opposition forces. First, in a situation where international humanitarian law did not apply because the Commission was unable to establish the existence of an armed conflict,…

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The Law Applicable to Peacekeepers Deployed in Situations where there is No Armed Conflict

Siobhán Wills  is Professor of Law at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. I have been researching the peacekeeping operation in Haiti, MINUSTAH, and in doing so coming up against a problem that I would appreciate the  thoughts of EJIL:Talk! readers on. There have been a number of incidents that have raised complaints of…

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Are the two Koreas Now at War?

In recent days the tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen. On 11 March, North Korea claimed  that it had terminated the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War of the 1950s and on 30 March stated that: "From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering the state of war and all issues…

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Some Observations on the Turkel Report and the Investigation of Wrongdoing by the Armed Forces

Alon Margalit is Research Associate, Hotung Programme for Law, Human Rights and Peace Building in the Middle East, SOAS, University of London. The long awaited Turkel report which examines Israel's practice of investigating allegations of wrongdoing during armed conflict by its security personnel was published in early February 2013.  The report (see original…

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The UK’s Use of Drones in Afghanistan and Its Definition of “Civilians”

Last week, Ben Emmerson QC, the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights announced that he was establishing a panel which will investigate allegations that drone strikes and other forms of remote targeted killing have caused disproportionate civilian casualties. The panel is charged with making recommendations regarding the obligation of States to conduct independent and impartial investigations into such allegations with a…

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