EJIL Analysis

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Piracy off Somalia: a sketch of the legal framework

Dr Douglas Guilfoyle is a Lecturer in Law at University College London.  His research has focussed on the law of the sea and international and transanational criminal law. He is the author of ‘Piracy Off Somalia: UN Security Council Resolution 1816 and IMO Regional Counter-Piracy Efforts’ (2008) 57 International and Comparative Law Quarterly 690-699. His book Shipping Interdiction and the Law of the Sea will be published by Cambridge University Press later this year.   We're all familiar now with the pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia's east coast, especially following the hijacking of the Sirius Star 500 nm off the coast of Kenya in November 2008 and the more recent uses of lethal force by French and US navies to free hostages seized by pirates. Although, the international law of piracy is quite straightforward, its implementation - especially in a situation as complex as the Gulf of Aden - is rather more difficult. Some of the problems are legal and some practical. The law applicable to piracy off Somalia is…

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The Water Cure with Saline Solution, or How a Modern Bureaucracy Does Torture

Having now read the four recently released ‘torture’ memos, I was perhaps most struck with their bureaucratic tone and the sterile overall narrative that they presented. The earlier Yoo/Bybee memos dealing with general issues such as the meaning of the term ‘torture’ in the UN Convention against Torture and US implementing legislation were rightly criticized for their facetious analysis.

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Can UNSC Presidential Statements be Legally Binding?

The United States government now apparently thinks so. A couple of days ago the Security Council adopted a presidential statement condemning the recent missile launch by North Korea (press release here; text here). In response to reporters questioning why the Council was unable to adopt a formal resolution, and whether this meant that the…

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Second Thoughts on the Crime of Aggression

Professor Andreas Paulus holds the Chair of Public and International Law at Georg-August-University Göttingen. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Journal of International Law. He has served as counsel of the Federal Republic of Germany in the LaGrand case (Germany vs. United States) and as Adviser to the German team…

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What’s in a Name: The GWOT, Redefinition Accomplished

These past few months have seen the emergence, or rather the beginning of the emergence of the Obama’s administration’s policy towards the fight against global terrorism. A significant part of that policy is the new administration’s relationship towards international law. While some have pointed out (disapprovingly or not) that the Obama administration is continuing many of the policies of its…

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