Use of Force

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Tensions in Crimean Waters: Can Russia’s Actions Amount to Threat of Force?

On 23 June 2021, multiple reports (here and here) suggested that the British warship HMS Defender sailing in the Black Sea en route to Georgia, found itself involved in maritime tensions offshore of the Crimean Peninsula. Reports were officially confirmed the same evening by the Ministry of Defence of Russia stating that Britain violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and that its military fired warning shots, while its warplane dropped bombs to force the destroyer to depart from waters near Crimea. Official sources of the UK denied Russia’s version of the incident arguing that Russians were having drills and that the Royal Navy ship was conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in compliance with international law. However, the audio-video footage released by Russia’s Federal Security Service later that day rebuts Britain’s version of the incident and proves that a warning had been issued and shots were fired. Although the protest note of Russia, handed to the British representative in Moscow, is not available…

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Russia Files Interstate Complaint Against Ukraine in Strasbourg

This, I think, is a first – after many years of being sued by other states (most notably Ukraine and Georgia) before the European Court of Human Rights and other international courts and tribunals, Russia has struck back last week by filing an interstate application of its own against Ukraine (no. 36958/21). Here’s an excerpt from the Court’s…

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International Law at NATO’s Brussels Summit

The June 2021 NATO summit in Brussels was noteworthy for the U.S. renewal of its commitment to the Alliance. Speaking with Secretary-General Stoltenberg, President Biden reassured NATO members (the “Allies”) that “NATO is critically important for U.S. interests” and “Article 5, we take as a sacred obligation.” Also noteworthy was the extent to which NATO…

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Passing the Buck? The UN Security Council’s Undue Reliance on ASEAN to Defuse the Myanmar Crisis

After the UN Special Envoy's highly-charged report to the UN Security Council of "widespread, systematic attacks on civilians in Myanmar" and the continuum of unabated atrocities against peaceful protesters, children, journalists, among other unarmed victims of Myanmar's rapid descent away from democracy towards 'failed state' status, it is readily observable that the 10…

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Israel’s Cautious Perspective on International Law in Cyberspace: Part II (jus ad bellum and jus in bello)

In Part I of this series, I assessed Israel’s approach to the identification and interpretation of international law in the cyber context, as set forth in an important virtual speech by Israel’s Deputy Attorney General for International Law, Dr. Roy Schöndorf, at the “Disruptive Technologies and International Law” conference hosted by the US Naval War College’s…

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