International Humanitarian Law

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The Oxford Statement on International Law Protections in Cyberspace: The Regulation of Information Operations and Activities

The Internet has allowed the dissemination of content across the globe in a matter of seconds. Recommendation algorithms, found in social media platforms and search engines, have also dangerously amplified the reach of false, misleading, and violent content (see here, here, and here). Because they are geared towards engagement, the same algorithms have given rise to online ‘echo chambers’, whereby users are fed with the same types of viral content over and over, based on their previous clicks and assumed or stated preferences. The architecture of the Internet and the design of these algorithms have been exploited by States and non-State actors alike to sow division, spread hatred, and undermine public trust in governments and other institutions worldwide. Recent examples abound. Violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar was spurred in large part thanks to the unrestrained and amplified dissemination of hate speech on Facebook. Foreign and domestic electoral dis- and…

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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…

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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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