State Responsibility

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Foreign Cyber Interference in Elections: An International Law Primer, Part III

Parts I and II of this series examined cyber election interference as an internationally wrongful act, looking at the two elements of attribution and breach, and in particular at the three sets of primary rules that election interference operations can violate: the prohibition of intervention, the obligation to respect sovereignty, and the duty to respect human rights. Now, in Part III, I will examine the positive obligations implicated by election interference cyber operations, and then look at the response options available to victim states. Obligation of Due Diligence The ICJ acknowledged a so-called “due diligence” obligation of states to control activities occurring on their territories in its first case, Corfu Channel. In that 1949 judgment, the Court observed that a state has a duty to not “allow knowingly its territory to be used for acts contrary to the rights of other states.” The Tallinn Manual 2.0 experts concluded that there was no reason to exclude the rule’s application in the cyber context (Rules 6-7); a number…

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Climate change and the European Court of Human Rights: The Portuguese Youth Case

On 3 September, six Portuguese children and young adults (aged 8 to 21) issued an Application to the European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”) against 33 Council of Europe Member States (all of the EU 27, plus the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine) in respect of the profound, ongoing, and worsening impact that climate change is having upon…

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Attribution, Jurisdiction, Discrimination, Decapitation: A Comment on Makuchyan and Minasyan v. Azerbaijan and Hungary

You know how, every once in a while, you read a case that has everything? I mean really everything? Great facts. Grisly facts even, for those so inclined – say involving a beheading by a state agent. Great law. Not just some genuine legal innovation worthy of scholarly commentary – that’s fine obviously, but not all that uncommon.

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COVID-19 and Defences in the Law of State Responsibility: Part II

In our previous post, we considered whether States could rely on the plea of force majeure in respect of non-performance of international obligations connected to their efforts to contain the COVID-19. We concluded that force majeure might not provide a defence to States since their measures in addressing the spread of the virus were voluntary measures. In this…

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COVID-19 and Defences in the Law of State Responsibility: Part I

As at 16 March 2020, there were nearly 165.000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 6.470 deaths in 146 countries or territories. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the Director-General of the WHO on 30 January 2020 which, according to the 2005 International Health Regulations, is an ‘extraordinary event’ which,…

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