Sources of International Law

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The United Kingdom on International Law in Cyberspace

The United Kingdom has long been a thought leader in applying international law to cyberspace. In 2018, the then-Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, spoke on the subject in a granular address at Chatham House, making the United Kingdom one of the first countries to set forth its views on how international law applies to cyberspace during peacetime and armed conflict. The topics ranged from sovereignty and non-intervention to human rights and international humanitarian law. Although many other states have since embraced most of the views expressed therein, and rightly so, the Chatham House address is best remembered for Wright’s surprising rejection of a rule of sovereignty applicable to cyber operations. Every state that has taken a firm and unambiguous position on the matter has disagreed with the U.K. assertion (most recently Canada). Given that fact, the debate has taken on disproportionate dimensions during discussions on how international law governs cyberspace, masking the substantial agreement that exists between the United Kingdom and other states. This…

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The rocky road to peace II: additional challenges at the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia

The transitional justice process in Colombia and the institution at its centre, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), have faced a series of difficulties (see here and here). Aware of this, the Prosecutor of the ICC announced on 28 October 2021 the closure of the country’s preliminary examination. This decision was partly motivated by the JEP’s progress…

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Is There a Legal Duty to Cooperate in Implementing Western Sanctions on Russia?

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States, Europe and other allies imposed sanctions on Russia for violating the prohibition against the use of force, a peremptory norm owed to the international community as a whole. While the ability of these sanctions per se to put a swift end to Russia’s invasion has been doubted (see…

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Treatment of Persons Hors de Combat in the Russo-Ukrainian War

Russian military forces have intensified attacks on several fronts in Ukraine since 24 February 2022. Regardless of the Russian government’s justifications in using force against Ukraine, there is an international armed conflict ongoing between Ukraine and Russia, which requires both parties to respect international humanitarian law (IHL). On 2 March 2022, the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces…

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Open Letter to my Russian Friends: Ukraine is Not Crimea

In reaction to the incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation, I had written that the use of Russian armed force against Ukraine is contrary to one of the most fundamental principles of contemporary international law and can be qualified as an “aggression” (Le Monde, 14 March 2014). This applies all the more to the use of armed…

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