Customary International Law

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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 announced it will no longer capture Russian Ukrainian artillerymen, warning it will not spare troops in response to the brutal shelling of civilians. The Kyiv Independent, a Ukrainian English-language media outlet, tweeted that the command of the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces has warned that it will kill captured Russian artillerymen in response to their “brutal shelling” of civilians and cities’. This drew plenty of criticism on social media, which compelled them to backtrack and update the statement as follows: ‘the command of Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces has warned that it will not spare Russian artillerymen in response to their “brutal shelling” of civilians and cities.’ This post evaluates the rights of combatants who have laid down…

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The Legality of Use of Ballistic Missiles on Cities: The Case of Armenia-Azerbaijan Armed Conflict

The so-called ‘44-Day War’ between Armenia and Azerbaijan in late 2020 also witnessed Armenia’s use of Scud ballistic missiles on several of Azerbaijan’s cities. After Iraq’s use of Scuds on Saudi, Bahrain, and Israeli cities during the Gulf War 1990-1991, it is the second time in modern history when ballistic missiles were used against population…

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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”.

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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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