International Humanitarian Law

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The Obama Administration’s Total Misinterpretation of IHL Regarding the Authority to Detain Suspected Terrorists

Yesterday the Obama administration filed a brief with the US District Court for the District of Columbia regarding its detention authority of persons previously classified by the Bush administration as 'enemy combatants.' (Analysis by Deborah Pearlstein at OJ; more from the Lift). The brief now outlines the administration's official position on the legal basis of the detention of suspected terrorists. The brief has already made headlines because the Obama administration decided to scrap the rightfully much maligned term 'enemy combatant.' The one other notable legal development is that the administration also rejected the Bush position that it had inherent constitutional authority to detain these persons, but based its authority solely in a statute, the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The substantive standard for detention offered by the Obama administration, however, is almost identical to the one offered by the Bush administration: The President has the authority to detain persons that the President determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and persons who…

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Online Discussion of Private Military Companies and International Law

This is a Featured Post. Some more recent posts appear below. One of the purposes of this blog is to provide a forum for discussion of the scholarship that appears in the European Journal of International Law. From time to time, we will host  online exchanges which respond to, as well as provide informed…

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Who is a Civilian? A Follow up on the Status of Hamas Police Officers

At the end of 2008, I put up a post in which I suggested that a key issue in assessing the lawfulness of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza was determning the status of Hama police officers. Before attempting to make the proportionality calculation International Humanitarian Law (IHL) requires, one has to first answer the question who is a civilian and…

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A Follow-Up on Israel and Gaza

I just wanted to add a few thoughts after Dapo’s excellent post on the Gaza conflict, of which there seems to be no end in sight. First, a word of warning. As Dapo pointed out, talking about these matters without knowing all the facts is truly dangerous. Indeed, it only tends to expose the speaker’s political and ideological…

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Israeli raids in Gaza: Proportionality and the Status of Hamas Policemen

The latest Israeli raids in Gaza are said to have killed over 300 people (injuring over 1000 others) with most of the dead being Haman policemen and security officials. Israel has launched the raids in response to the repeated rocket fire into Israel from Gaza. Given the very high Palestinian casualties resulting from Israel's raids and (as far as…

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