Self Defence

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Attacks against Europe’s Offshore Infrastructure within and beyond the Territorial Sea under Jus ad Bellum

The EU and NATO Member States appear to be engaged in a shadow war with Russia where pipelines, cables, and windfarms connected with the former are allegedly targeted by the latter. The recent suspected sabotage against a 77-km-long submarine gas pipeline and a telecommunications cable linking Estonia and Finland fuels the common fear among European States of Russian sabotage against Europe’s offshore critical infrastructure. This post addresses the question of how sabotage impacts the safety of objects of critical offshore infrastructure and how to increase their legal resilience. The post focuses on incidents that have occurred in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of States, including the Nord Stream explosions of last year (for an earlier EJIL: Talk! post on this see here) and the damaging of the submarine gas pipeline and cable of the NATO Member States Estonia and Finland. After briefly discussing the reactions of States to these incidents, the post addresses the threshold subject of whether suspected acts of sabotage against critical offshore infrastructure…

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As Far As We Know, There Has Been No Armed Attack Against Poland

Yesterday a missile struck a village in Poland, near the Ukrainian border, prompting immediate fears of escalation and of a more direct entry of NATO states into the Russian/Ukranian armed conflict. As I write this it remains unclear whether the missile was fired by Russian or by Ukranian armed forces. However, US President Biden and other US officials…

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Are sabotage of submarine pipelines an ‘armed attack’ triggering a right to self-defence?

On 26 and 27 September 2022, explosions damaged NordStream 1 and NordStream 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea (here). These are major transboundary pipelines (consisting of two pipelines each) transporting gas from Russia to Germany. They cross the territorial sea of three States (Russia, Denmark and Germany) and the exclusive economic zone (‘EEZ’) of five States (Russia,…

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When did the Armed Attack against Ukraine become ‘Imminent’?

When did Russia’s armed attack on Ukraine begin? And, before it began, when did it become imminent, as that term is commonly understood in the international law on the use of force? In this post I will offer some thoughts on these two questions, not because they are directly relevant to the situation in Ukraine – they are…

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EJIL:The Podcast! Episode 15 – Now or Never, Or Maybe Later: The Use of Force to Recover an Occupied Territory

This episode accompanies the launching of a new rubric in the European Journal of International Law – Legal/Illegal. The first installment of Legal/Illegal, which appears in issue 32(4), focuses on the question whether the use of force by a state to recover a territory that has been occupied for many years may be considered a lawful act of self-defence.

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