State Responsibility

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Aerial Incident of 23 May 2021: Belarus and the Ryanair Flight 4978

It was widely reported on Sunday that the government of Belarus forced a Ryanair flight bound for Vilnius to land in Minsk on account of a ‘potential security risk’. The flight was escorted to Minsk by Belarussian MiG-29 fighters. As the BBC put it: Flight FR4978 was en route from Athens to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on Sunday when it turned east to Minsk shortly before it reached the Lithuanian border. Greece and Lithuania put the number of passengers on board at 171.             … The flight path, visible on the Flightradar24 website, suggests the plane was actually nearer to Vilnius than Minsk when it turned. Ryanair said checks in Minsk found ‘nothing untoward’ and the aircraft was cleared to depart after about five hours on the ground. The reports further state the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gave the order for the plane to be diverted, and scrambled fighters to intercept and escort it to Minsk, citing a…

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Crippling Compensation in the Law of State Responsibility

Is there an exception to the principle of full reparation in international law of State responsibility for cases where full compensation is ‘crippling’ for the responsible State or its peoples (to use the terminology of the International Law Commission (‘ILC’))? In the recent oral proceedings in the Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo…

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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,…

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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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