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Of Straw Men, the United Nations and Illegal Occupation: A Rejoinder to David Hughes

Introduction In volume 31:3 of EJIL, David Hughes provides an interesting reply to my article in the same volume, in which I critically examine the commitment of the United Nations (UN) to the international rule of law by examining its management of the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT) since 1967. I argue that by merely documenting the host of Israeli violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) over Israel’s 53-year ‘temporary’ occupation of the OPT without definitively addressing the legality of the regime giving rise to those violations themselves, the UN has failed to discharge its functions in accordance with international law. I posit that based on the UN record itself the occupation is illegal for its systematic violation of three jus cogens norms – the prohibition on the acquisition of territory through the threat or use of force, the obligation to respect self-determination of peoples, and the obligation to refrain from imposing alien regimes inimical to humankind, including of racial discrimination. It is therefore curious,…

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Old Habits Die Hard: Applying Existing International Law in Cyberspace and Beyond

In the past few years, a growing number of states have expressed their official positions on the applicability of international law in cyberspace. Most recently, New Zealand and Israel shared their own views on the topic to beef up the crowd. Initiatives of this kind are welcome and contribute to the gradual clarification of the extent…

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Is the EU Engaging in Impermissible Indirect Regulation of UN Action? Controversies over the General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a robust and ambitious framework for the protection of the personal data of natural persons adopted by the European Union in 2016, has found an unlikely stakeholder. On 14 May 2020, the United Nations Secretariat sent an eloquent and detailed set of comments to the European…

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On the ILC, professional background, gender and positivism: A Rejoinder to Jan Klabbers

In “Codification by Interpretation”: The International Law Commission as an Interpreter of International Law, I argue that the United Nations (‘UN’) International Law Commission (‘ILC’) interprets international law; interpretation falls squarely within the ILC’s mandate; the ILC’s interpretative pronouncements can trigger an interpretative dialogue with States whose reactions can lead to ‘authoritative interpretations’; and ‘codification by interpretation’,…

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The United Nations and the Third Geneva Convention

This post is part of a joint blog symposium with the Humanitarian Law and Policy Blog and Just Security exploring the new ICRC Commentary on the Third Geneva Convention. See below for other posts in the symposium. This post discusses the role of the United Nations in ensuring…

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