International Humanitarian Law

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Ecocide: an Ambiguous Crime?

One year ago, a panel of legal experts convened by the Stop Ecocide International Foundation (Expert Panel) proposed that the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) be amended to expand the ICC’s jurisdiction to include ecocide. To effect this change, the Expert Panel drew up the following definition of the crime of ecocide: ‘unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.’ According to this definition, conduct must meet two thresholds to qualify as ecocide. First, the conduct must be committed with knowledge of a substantial likelihood of serious damage. Second, it must either be unlawful in domestic or international law or wanton, meaning that it must committed ‘with reckless disregard for damage which would be clearly excessive in relation to the social and economic benefits anticipated.’ In this post, I intend to show that the drafting of this definition, which intimately connects ecocide to aspects of both International…

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Assessing the Authority of the ICRC Customary IHL Study

If you are desperately in need of some light summer reading, dear readers, I have just the thing for you, inclusive of beach-ready spreadsheets if you want them. Sandy Sivakumaran and I recently posted on SSRN a draft article, ‘Assessing the Authority of the ICRC Customary IHL Study,’ which is forthcoming in the International Review…

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Challenges in Assessing Colombia’s ‘Post Conflict’: A follow-up

In March, 11 people died in a controversial army operation in Putumayo, southern Colombia. Human rights groups said that at least some of the dead appeared to be civilians. The army alleged the operation complied with international humanitarian law, saying that all the dead were “criminals” and that the operation had targeted an armed…

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The Prosecution of British Fighters by Pro-Russian Separatists in Ukraine

A court of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) announced last Thursday that two British nationals, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner (as well as Saadoun Brahim, a Moroccan national), who fought on behalf of Ukraine and surrendered during the siege of the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, have been handed a death sentence. This came just…

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The Human Right to Food, Freedom from Hunger, and SDG 2: Global Food Crisis and Starvation Tactics from the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Much has been written and reported in the past 100 days since the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine, regarding all manner of mass atrocity crimes, continuing egregious human rights violations, war crimes and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and other sources of international humanitarian law.  In February, I wrote about international law duties…

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