International Humanitarian Law

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The European Court’s Admissibility Decision in Ukraine and the Netherlands v Russia: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Part II

In the first part of this post I talked about the (many) good things about the European Court’s admissibility decision in Ukraine and the Netherlands v Russia. In particular, the conclusion that Russia controlled the separatist areas of Eastern Ukraine from 2014 up to the oral hearing in the case in 2022 and (as the Court will inevitably find) to this day is legally and factually unimpeachable. It will be applied in all future cases dealing with the Ukrainian conflict. In this good category we can also include, albeit with a bit of hesitation, the Court’s approach to the jurisdiction issue regarding the downing of the MH17. Essentially the Court found that the missile that downed the MH17 was fired from Russian-controlled territory and that the plane was hit in the airspace above Russian-controlled territory, so that the spatial model of jurisdiction could apply here as well. It is therefore clear from the ample evidence before the Court that, unlike in the case of the artillery attacks discussed above, both the…

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The European Court’s Admissibility Decision in Ukraine and the Netherlands v Russia: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Part I

Yesterday the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its much-anticipated decision on jurisdiction and admissibility in the interstate case of Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia (nos 8019/16, 43800/14 and 28525/20 – decision; press release). The Court declared the applications admissible, in a clear win for the applicant…

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With No Judge or Jury, Who Will Decide the Fate of 4.1 million Aid-Dependent Syrians? A Comment on the Legality of UN-Coordinated Cross-Border Aid Operations in Syria

As the UN Security Council (“UNSC”) once again prepares to consider renewing the mandate for UN-coordinated cross-border humanitarian aid operations in Syria, 4.1 million aid recipients wait to see whether Russia will finally veto their last remaining lifeline. With stakes at their highest since 2014, relevant actors within the international community can revert to established legal positions surrounding…

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UN General Assembly Committee Adopts Resolution Requesting Second Advisory Opinion from ICJ on Occupied Palestinian Territory

On 10 November 2022, at the Seventy-seventh session of the UN General Assembly, Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee), the State of Palestine- in a move which skirted largely under the media radar- tabled a resolution under Item 47 calling for an International Court of Justice (ICJ) Advisory Opinion on the legal status of Israel’s occupation of…

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Possible Implications of the Dutch MH17 Judgment for the Netherlands’ Inter-State Case before the ECtHR

On 17 July 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight 17 (MH17) from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down above eastern Ukraine, resulting in the death of all 298 persons on board. Eight years later, the victims’ next of kin as well as their respective governments are pursuing multiple avenues to achieve justice and accountability and establish…

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