EJIL Analysis

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The OLC Memoranda on Iraq: Revisiting the Case for War

Yesterday, the Office of the Legal Counsel of the US Department of Justice released some of its secret memoranda to President Bush, several of which are of interest for international lawyers. Two of them deal with questions of IHL, that is the applicability of the Third Geneva Convention to the Taliban, and of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the occupation of Iraq. Three memos, on the other hand, provide the OLC’s advice to the President on the legality of the use of force against Iraq, both under US constitutional law and under international law.I’d like to say a few words about these three memos (authored by the same indomitable Bybee/Yoo team of torture memo fame), both on the quality of their substantive analysis and on the boundaries of the proper role of government legal advisers. I’d also like to compare these memos of US legal advisers with those of their British counterparts, particularly the opinion of the then Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith. The most important of the three opinions was signed by Jay Bybee on…

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A Follow-Up on Israel and Gaza

I just wanted to add a few thoughts after Dapo’s excellent post on the Gaza conflict, of which there seems to be no end in sight. First, a word of warning. As Dapo pointed out, talking about these matters without knowing all the facts is truly dangerous. Indeed, it only tends to expose the speaker’s political and ideological…

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Israeli raids in Gaza: Proportionality and the Status of Hamas Policemen

The latest Israeli raids in Gaza are said to have killed over 300 people (injuring over 1000 others) with most of the dead being Haman policemen and security officials. Israel has launched the raids in response to the repeated rocket fire into Israel from Gaza. Given the very high Palestinian casualties resulting from Israel's raids and (as far as…

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Territorial Scope of Application of the Genocide Convention

In the Bosnian Genocide case, Bosnia alleged that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY, Serbia) was responsible for, inter alia, committing genocide and failing to prevent genocide on Bosnian territory. This argument, of course, immediately raised the question whether the FRY had any obligations under the Genocide Convention regarding its actions outside its own territory. To answer this question, it…

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The Two Faces of the Genocide Convention

In keeping with Christmas spirit, here’s my next post on the Genocide Convention. Can a state be responsible for genocide? What does that even mean? Aren’t international crimes, in the sage words of the Nuremberg Tribunal, committed by men, not by abstract entities?Can a state even possess genocidal intent, a basic requirement for the crime of genocide?…

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