International Humanitarian Law

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ICJ Delivers Advisory Opinion on the Legality of Israel’s Occupation of Palestinian Territories

Yesterday, the International Court of Justice delivered its groundbreaking advisory opinion on the Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. (The Court’s opinion and all of the individual opinions of the judges are available here.) The bottom line of the AO is that the Court found that Israel’s continued occupation of the OPT violates various rules of international law, and that Israel has to withdraw from the OPT as rapidly as possible – but there are many other findings of the Court, including with regard to the obligations of third states, that merit discussion. In some senses the outcome of the AO is hardly surprising, but the opinion covers so many different issues, some of which are actually quite novel, that, even if we took the political context aside, we could easily say that this is one of the most important decisions that the ICJ has ever delivered. In this post I will discuss some of the Court’s key findings.

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The German reform of war crimes against the environment – A missed opportunity to live up to the principle of legality

On June 6th, the German legislator, the Bundestag, adopted a new law reforming the German international criminal code (CCIAL / Völkerstrafgesetzbuch). The adoption of the reform law (Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Fortentwicklung des Völkerstrafrechts) was preceded by a number of discussions initially not foreseen when the reform was first introduced in November 2023. The new reform…

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Some Additional Comments on the ECtHR Crimea Judgment: Occupation, Sovereignty, and “Law”

Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou’s excellent post comprehensively examines the European Court’s judgment in Ukraine v. Russia re Crimea. In this post, however, I want to offer some additional comments on the judgment. My main purpose here is to discuss how the Court approached the question of territorial sovereignty over Crimea and its status as an…

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The Legality of ASPIDES Protection Activities in the Framework of the Collective Countermeasures Doctrine

Any views and opinions presented in this post are solely those of the author and are expressed exclusively in the author’s personal capacity. Note by the Editors: This post has been amended (three sentences were deleted and several minor edits were made) subsequent to publication at the author’s request, none of which affect the substance…

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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…

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