General Principles of International Law

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Damaged Beyond Repair? International Law after Gaza

“Never has [an international law professor] sensed such profound skepticism about the legitimacy and usefulness of the discipline he teaches. Hasn’t the appalling conflict unfolding before our eyes demonstrated with tremendous eloquence the vanity, or at least the extreme fragility, of a so-called legal order in relations between states, at the very moment when its development was announced as certain and complete? Is it not, therefore, a very serious error and peril to lead people to trust in the rationality of law in an area where force has the last word?” These words could easily be mistaken for yet another instance of lamentation about international law uttered in 2024. Many readers may be surprised to hear that they were pronounced by Dionisio Anzilotti in his inaugural conference at the University of Rome just a few weeks after the invasion of Belgium by Germany in 1914.

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Identifying Customary LOAC in Practice

The following post is part of a symposium based on a conference panel that discussed issues of customary law of armed conflict, at the 4th Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Military Advocate General (MAG) Conference on the Law of Armed Conflict, held in Herzliya, Israel, during May 8-10, 2023. The post is based on Colonel…

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General Principles of Law Formed Within the International Legal System?

Article 38(1)(c) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice provides that one of the sources of international law is the general principles of law. This source of international law has given rise to many controversies. However, the issue which is giving rise to the most controversy in the International Law Commission’s ongoing work…

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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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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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