International Humanitarian Law

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Passing the Buck? The UN Security Council’s Undue Reliance on ASEAN to Defuse the Myanmar Crisis

After the UN Special Envoy's highly-charged report to the UN Security Council of "widespread, systematic attacks on civilians in Myanmar" and the continuum of unabated atrocities against peaceful protesters, children, journalists, among other unarmed victims of Myanmar's rapid descent away from democracy towards 'failed state' status, it is readily observable that the 10 March 2021 Statement by the President of the Security Council emphasized reliance on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to help engage all parties in brokering peace: “The Security Council reiterates its strong support for regional organisations, in particular the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its readiness to assist Myanmar in a positive, peaceful and constructive manner. It commends ASEAN’s continued efforts to engage with all relevant parties in Myanmar. The Council welcomes the recent informal ASEAN Ministerial meeting on 2 March, and the statements made by the ASEAN Chair on 2 March and 1 February, which recalled the purposes and principles of the ASEAN Charter, notably the principle of democracy, adherence…

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The Ntaganda appeal judgment and the meaning of ‘attack’ in conduct of hostilities war crimes

One of the many interesting issues raised by the ICC’s recent Ntaganda appeal judgment, and the subject of this post, is whether war crimes referring to ‘attacks’ require a nexus to hostilities. IHL has traditionally distinguished between protecting persons from the conduct of hostilities (Hague law) and protecting persons in the power of a belligerent (Geneva…

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Even ‘cyber wars’ have limits. But what if they didn’t?

In today’s digitalizing world, States and non-State armed groups increasingly employ cyber capabilities in their military operations, and their use is likely to grow. Still, there is a debate – most prominently in the framework of the two multilateral processes under the auspices of the United Nations – as to how the existing international legal frameworks apply to…

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Extraterritorial Investigations in Hanan v. Germany; Extraterritorial Assassinations in New Interstate Claim Filed by Ukraine against Russia

In this post I will discuss two recent developments on the extraterritoriality of human rights front – the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Hanan v. Germany, no. 4871/16, on the compliance with Article 2 ECHR of the investigation by German authorities into the Kunduz incident in Afghanistan,…

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Protecting Societies – Anchoring a new protection dimension in international law during armed conflict: An agenda for discussion

Adversarial military cyber operations carried out during armed conflict can affect the functioning of civilian societies in unprecedented ways, challenging the protective reach of international humanitarian law (IHL). In light of this, we argue for a recognition of new protection needs to shield critical societal processes from military cyber threats in situations of armed conflict. A…

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