Non-State Actors

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Refusing to Negotiate Can Have Tragic Consequences

Jon Bellish is the Project Development Manager at the One Earth Future foundation and a fellow at the Ved Nanda Center for International & Comparative Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. On August 19, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released a video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley, after the United States government refused to pay a nine-figure ransom. Foley’s execution prompted a debate about the propriety of paying ransoms:  on the one hand, paying can save the life of the captured hostage; on the other hand, paying ransoms fuels the very activity that gave rise to the need to pay a ransom in the first place. Earlier this week, ISIS released another video, this one claiming to show the beheading of another American freelance journalist, Steven Sotloff. The video depicting Mr. Sotloff’s murder also showed another hostage, thought to be a British national, which has led to pressure on the U.K. government to negotiate with ISIS…

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The Legality of Turkey’s Possible Self-Defence Action against ISIS: A Response to Ashley Deeks

Sina Etezazian is a PhD Candidate at Monash Law School. In a recent blog post at Lawfare, Professor Ashley Deeks analyses the manner in which Turkey may lawfully protect the Turks taken hostage by the jihadist group ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).  She contends that ‘if the Maliki government loses total control of…

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Non-State Armed Groups in NIAC: Does IHL Provide Legal Authority for the Establishment of Courts?

Court of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam The recent Serdar Mohammed v. Ministry of Defencecase has prompted a number of interesting and insightful posts addressing the issue of whether international humanitarian law (IHL) provides a legal basis for detention in Non-International Armed Conflicts (NIAC) (see, for example, here, here,…

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Locating the Legal Basis for Detention in Non-International Armed Conflicts: A Rejoinder to Aurel Sari

Last month, in response to the decision of the English High Court in Serdar Mohammed v. Ministry of Defence (see Marko’s commentary here), we wrote a piece arguing that Mr Justice Leggatt correctly concluded that international humanitarian law (IHL) does not provide a legal basis to detain in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs). We argued (contrary…

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Sorry Sir, We’re All Non-State Actors Now: A Reply to Hill-Cawthorne and Akande on the Authority to Kill and Detain in NIAC

The recent High Court judgment in the case of Serdar Mohammed v. Ministry of Defence [2014] EWHC 1369 (QB) has sparked a lively debate about the authority to detain individuals in the context of a non-international armed conflict (NIAC). In response to a post by Kubo Mačák offering a critical perspective on Mohammed, Lawrence Hill-Cawthorne…

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