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Closing the Gaps: Pre-Deployment Role of the Military Legal Adviser

As US involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan comes to an end after twenty years, it is worth taking stock of how things stand in relation to the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC). This law serves dual purposes: military necessity (which permits measures which are necessary to fulfil a legitimate military purpose provided they are not otherwise prohibited by LOAC) and the principle of humanity (which limits the effects of armed conflict on civilian populations and others who are hors de combat). Much could (and likely will) be written about the legal advice provided during combat operations over these past decades. Our focus here is the delivery of LOAC education and training to forces on a routine basis and for specific missions.  As Laurie Blank and Gregory Noone express in their excellent United States Institute of Peace manual on law of war training, the Geneva Conventions require that states train their forces on the law of armed conflict. Blank and Noone aptly point out that there is a LOAC “knowledge…

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Contested Governments and State Representation before International Courts and Tribunals

Introduction When the identity of a state’s government is contested or otherwise in doubt, who may represent the state for some specific purpose of international law is not-infrequently a contentious matter. While the question who may represent a state before or vis-à-vis an international adjudicative body does not arise often, there exists a number of…

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Two Questions on Coups and Representation before International Courts

Think of Myanmar, and the awful consequences of the military coup which are continuing to unfold. One of these consequences – among the least awful, but among the more legally interesting – is that in the immediate aftermath of the coup it is unclear which set of individuals is the government of that state, entitled to represent it…

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Reforming Land Restitution – A Concerted Effort to Derail Colombia’s Transitional Justice System?

Recently, Kai Ambos alerted readers of two attempts to weaken Colombia’s transitional justice system (see here and here). A third development fortifies suspicions that the country’s newly elected government intends to derail it. This time, a legislative proposal threatens Colombia’s land restitution process. Changes in the treatment of secondary occupants of reclaimed land could especially frustrate…

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The Settlement Agreement between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

On 12 June, Athens and Skopje announced that they have reached an agreement to resolve a dispute over the former Yugoslav Republic’s name that has troubled relations between the two states for decades. The agreement was signed at Prespes Lake, a lake at the border of Albania, Greece, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on…

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