Sources of International Law

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Unilateral Economic Sanctions to Deter and Punish Cyber-Attacks: Are They Here to Stay?

In June 2021 during the Biden-Putin summit, President Biden stated that critical infrastructure should be “off-limits” to cyber-attacks and handed over a list of 16 areas of critical infrastructure that under no circumstance should be targeted by cyber-attacks. This took place after the SolarWinds cyber-attack that was described by SolarWinds Vice-President as “your worst nightmare”. The attack was followed by tough US unilateral sanctions – precisely, sovereign debt sanctions against Russia and sanctions targeting six Russian technology firms for their support of the Russian Intelligence Services’ cyber program. This attack as well as many others (e.g., NotPetya or WannaCry) illustrate the current problem in international law: a lack of binding norms regulating conduct in cyberspace. As a result, states are left with only a few options of how to respond and prevent cyber-enabled malicious conduct. Among the available alternatives, unilateral cyber sanctions are gaining momentum. The relevant sanctions frameworks have already been introduced by the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom. On 2 December 2021, the…

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The Principle of Legality in the ICC’s Appeals Judgment on Abd-Al-Rahman’s Jurisdictional Challenge: A Follow-up on Merits and Shortcomings

The recent judgment of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC, the Court) in the case of Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman (“Ali Kushayb”) has already given rise to heated academic commentary and critique (see here and here). As readers may recall from previous posts on this blog, this was a judgment on an…

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Closing the Gaps: Pre-Deployment Role of the Military Legal Adviser

As US involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan comes to an end after twenty years, it is worth taking stock of how things stand in relation to the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC). This law serves dual purposes: military necessity (which permits measures which are necessary to fulfil a legitimate military purpose provided they are…

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An International Law Assessment of the Collective Self-defence Clause of the 2021 Treaty on the ‘Establishment of Strategic Partnership of Cooperation in Matters of Defence and Security’ between Greece and France

On 28 September 2021 France and Greece concluded a bilateral treaty on the ‘Establishment of Strategic Partnership of Cooperation in Matters of Defence and Security’ (see the Greek and French version here. The Treaty has not been translated yet into English). The Treaty is premised on a community of interests in matters of foreign policy, defence, and…

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The Weakest Link of the Troika? The Immunity of Heads of Government in Customary International Law

There have been a flurry of cases in the English courts concerning foreign leaders in recent months. Permission has been granted to serve the President of Mozambique in a case involving claims challenging state guarantees of the financing for projects in Mozambique. The Fifth President of Ukraine (2014-2019) Petro Poroshenko has been found to be immune…

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