Targeted Killings

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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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EJIL: The Podcast! Episode 12 – “No Licence to Kill”

In this episode, Marko Milanovic, Philippa Webb and I discuss the legal issues that arise from targeted killings conducted by states outside their territory. We begin with a discussion of the recent blockbuster judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case concerning Alexander Litvinenko (Carter v. Russia, no. 20914/07, 21 September 2021). In that…

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The Law and Tech of Two Targeted Killings

The New York Times recently published two fascinating pieces on two separate instances of targeted killings. The first is on the tragic denouement of the 20 years of US presence in Afghanistan – a drone strike conducted on 29 August by the US military in Kabul, purportedly against terrorists planning a second deadly attack against…

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European Court Finds Russia Assassinated Alexander Litvinenko

On Tuesday a Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights found Russia responsible for violating the right to life of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy poisoned with radioactive polonium in London in 2006 (Carter v. Russia, no. 20914/07, 21 September 2021). The Court found Article 2 ECHR to have been violated in both its substantive…

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