Armed Conflict

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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 Cyprus (here). This post does not focus on the legality of the specific measures undertaken by some occupying powers, which will require more in-depth knowledge of facts and figures than the one currently available. Rather, it describes in wide brushstrokes the relevant legal framework to pave the way to future further analysis. Article 56 of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV) The law of occupation embodies a number of rules that are relevant in relation to the fight against Covid-19. The main provision is Article 56(1) GCIV…

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Reviewing Legal Weapons Reviews: is it possible to verify compliance?

Debates about the legal and ethical implications of new weapons are often based on hypotheticals because information about ongoing research and development is scarce. For instance, discussions about the legality of autonomous weapons systems (AWS) and meaningful human control are taking place (e.g. here, here, here, here, and here) while we are still…

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Hacking Humanitarians? IHL and the protection of humanitarian organizations against cyber operations

For some years, experts have cautioned that the more humanitarian organizations collect data, the more they ‘are exposed to a growing wave of digital attacks and cyber espionage, and have become highly prized targets’. In late January 2020, the issue made headlines: The New Humanitarian reported a ‘sophisticated’ cyber operation…

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(Not) Investigating Kunduz and (Not) Judging in Strasbourg? Extraterritoriality, Attribution and the Duty to Investigate

  A 2009 airstrike near Kunduz, Afghanistan, that led to more than 100 casualties and was ordered by a German colonel will be the subject of oral arguments in the Grand Chamber (GC) of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case of Hanan v. Germany, tomorrow, 26 February 2020. On 4 September…

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Is Security Council Authorisation Really Necessary to Allow Cross-Border Humanitarian Assistance in Syria?

  In December last year, Russia and China vetoed a draft Security Council resolution that would have renewed the authorisation for humanitarian assistance to be provided in Syria via four designated border-crossings. The authorisation had been in place since Resolution 2165 (2014), and had enabled the provision of humanitarian assistance to more than…

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