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The Moscow Mechanism Expert Report: On the Arbitrary Deprivation of Liberty of Ukrainian Civilians by the Russian Federation

Introduction When, in 1991, the Participating States of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CBSE) at their meeting in Moscow established the so-called Moscow Mechanism, nobody could have anticipated the pivotal role that this mechanism would have some three decades later in holding to account its “country of origin”, the Russian Federation. Yet, this is exactly what we have witnessed and continue to witness. While the first three decades of Mechanism’s existence, 1991-2021, were characterised by its very rare invocations, leading to some rumours of it becoming redundant, the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the radical worsening of the human rights situation in the Russian Federation and its close “partner in crime”, Belarus, have completely revitalised and indeed revealed the true potential of the Moscow Mechanism, giving it a new lease of life. Since March 2022, the Mechanism has been activated already six times – four times with respect to the violations of international law committed during the conflict in Ukraine and twice concerning the human rights situation…

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Council of Europe: Kosovo ante portas?

Since declaring independence in 2008, Kosovo has made the recognition of its statehood and the related issue of its membership in international organizations a priority of its foreign policy. After the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recommended on 16 April 2024, by 131 votes in favour, 29 against and 11 abstentions, that Kosovo be invited…

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Did the Court in Klimaseniorinnen create an actio popularis?

Perhaps the thorniest issue that the European Court had to address in Klimaseniorinnen was how to square the prohibition on actio popularis with the granting of standing to the applicant association, but not to the individual applicants. How can the four individual applicants lack victim status, as the Court held, yet the association, of which the applicants were…

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Horrible Metrics, Part Deux

Back in 2016 I wrote a post on horrible metrics, which was in essence an extended moan about the use of various metrics, including citations, indices and impact factors, to assess the quality of international law scholarship and journals or to evaluate the quality of colleagues applying for jobs or for promotion. The intervening years have…

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Does Israel have the right to self-defence – and what are the restrictions?

There has been much focus on Israeli violations of international humanitarian law (jus in bello) and possible genocide in Gaza. Less attention has been paid to Israel’s claim to self-defence (jus ad bellum) against the terrorist attack on 7 October 2023. However, the rules on self-defence address the legality of the overall purpose of the operations and the…

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