Targeted Killings

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Georgia v. Russia No. 2: The European Court’s Resurrection of Bankovic in the Contexts of Chaos

Last week the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the second interstate case brought by Georgia against Russia (no. 38263/08), dealing with the August 2008 conflict between the two states (see my brief preview here ; for a summary of the judgment see the Court’s press release here). Briefly, the Court found Russia responsible for serious human rights abuses in the immediate aftermath of the conflict. But, by 11 votes to 6, it refused to look at any of the alleged substantive violations of the right to life during the ‘active hostilities’ phase of the conflict. This is a very important judgment – a substantial, but far from total win for Georgia – but also a very disappointing one. Regardless of the final outcome, the Court’s reasoning on the key points of jurisdiction and the applicability of the European Convention in armed conflict is exemplary only in its arbitrariness. It is a retrograde step, putting the Court firmly against…

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The Assassination of Alexander Litvinenko Before the European Court of Human Rights

In more extraterritoriality news, the Guardian recently reported that the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, who was killed in London in 2006 by Russian agents using a radioactive poison, has revived the claim she had previously filed against Russia before the European Court of Human Rights: The widow of Alexander Litvinenko has submitted…

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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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Mistakes of Fact When Using Lethal Force in International Law: Part III

  To briefly recapitulate our examination of mistake of fact when using lethal force in various sub-fields of international law: such a doctrine is, in its purely subjective form, black letter law in international criminal law. It is also established (even if not labelled as such) in international human rights law and (somewhat less clearly) in international humanitarian…

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Mistakes of Fact When Using Lethal Force in International Law: Part II

  If a state believes that it is the target of an ongoing or imminent armed attack and uses force to repel that attack, but it later turns out that it was mistaken and that there either was no such attack or that there was no necessity to respond to it, is that use of force in putative…

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