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Old Habits Die Hard: Applying Existing International Law in Cyberspace and Beyond

In the past few years, a growing number of states have expressed their official positions on the applicability of international law in cyberspace. Most recently, New Zealand and Israel shared their own views on the topic to beef up the crowd. Initiatives of this kind are welcome and contribute to the gradual clarification of the extent to which international legal rules govern activities in the ever-evolving and still mysterious ‘cyber domain’ or ‘sphere’. As things stand, there is widespread agreement that international law applies in cyberspace. This view can be confirmed not only on the basis of numerous position papers by individual states, but also by looking at the outputs of multi-lateral fora, such as the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Advancing Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace in the Context of International Security (GGE) and the UN Open-Ended Working Group on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (OEWG, see Revised Pre-Draft Report, § 7). Thus, it appears that the main…

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Is the EU Engaging in Impermissible Indirect Regulation of UN Action? Controversies over the General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a robust and ambitious framework for the protection of the personal data of natural persons adopted by the European Union in 2016, has found an unlikely stakeholder. On 14 May 2020, the United Nations Secretariat sent an eloquent and detailed set of comments to the European…

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On the ILC, professional background, gender and positivism: A Rejoinder to Jan Klabbers

In “Codification by Interpretation”: The International Law Commission as an Interpreter of International Law, I argue that the United Nations (‘UN’) International Law Commission (‘ILC’) interprets international law; interpretation falls squarely within the ILC’s mandate; the ILC’s interpretative pronouncements can trigger an interpretative dialogue with States whose reactions can lead to ‘authoritative interpretations’; and ‘codification by interpretation’,…

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The United Nations and the Third Geneva Convention

This post is part of a joint blog symposium with the Humanitarian Law and Policy Blog and Just Security exploring the new ICRC Commentary on the Third Geneva Convention. See below for other posts in the symposium. This post discusses the role of the United Nations in ensuring…

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The Failure to Pursue the Mandates of International Organizations in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

This blogpost is a reaction to the last episode of EJIL: The Podcast!, in which the brilliant discussion on the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the pandemic ended up with the perennial question of accountability. As contended by Gian Luca Burci, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown once again that international organizations are ideal scapegoats.

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