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Cyber and Influence Operations Targeting Elections: Back to the Principle of Non-Intervention

After the 2016 US presidential election, President Obama criticized Russia for interfering in the vote, but stopped short of alleging a violation of international law. The intervening period has seen a vigorous debate on the rules governing interference in elections, but no consensus has emerged. The 2020 presidential election would seem, then, as Michael Schmitt reminds us, in a series of posts for this Blog (here, here and here), a good time to revisit the issue, especially in light of reports suggesting that foreign powers are again trying to interfere in the vote, by hacking information and communications technologies (ICTs), disseminating fake news stories, and conducting disinformation campaigns. The Problem of “Coercion” The standard way that international lawyers approach the subject of foreign interference in domestic political affairs is through the lens of the non-intervention rule. In its 1986 Nicaragua judgment, the International Court…

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The United Nations and the Third Geneva Convention

This post is part of a joint blog symposium with the Humanitarian Law and Policy Blog and Just Security exploring the new ICRC Commentary on the Third Geneva Convention. See below for other posts in the symposium. This post discusses the role of the United Nations in ensuring…

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Dual” online teaching at the time of COVID and beyond

Joseph Weiler‘s timely and thoughtful contribution will certainly ignite a debate on online teaching during and beyond the pandemic. Covid 19 has hit almost everyone and everything, sometimes brutally. Universities have not been spared. But they have rapidly reacted and adjusted their business to the new environment. They have managed to replace or integrate face-to-face teaching…

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Expropriating democracy: on the right and legitimacy of not ratifying CETA

In May 2020, the unwinding saga in CETA’s ratification landed in a divided Dutch Senate. The date of the decisive vote in the Senate is dependent on the government’s response to questions raised by senators. Academics have suggested that the Netherlands should ratify CETA because not doing so ‘would be a very negative signal’ ‘in today’s crumbling…

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Foreign Cyber Interference in Elections: An International Law Primer, Part III

Parts I and II of this series examined cyber election interference as an internationally wrongful act, looking at the two elements of attribution and breach, and in particular at the three sets of primary rules that election interference operations can violate: the prohibition of intervention, the obligation to respect sovereignty, and the duty to respect human rights. Now,…

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