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Category Archives: International Law

Does Maliki Have a Valid Constitutional Argument (and Should We Care)?

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Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 5:08 PM

Nouri al Maliki seems to have backed down from his efforts to defend with force or threats his role as Prime Minister of Iraq. But he continues to press a second approach: a court challenge to the constitutionality of the decision by the Iraqi President to charge another member of Maliki’s party as the Prime Minister-designate. . . .
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Air Strikes or Supply Drops in Iraq?

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Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 12:30 PM

The New York Times reports:  WASHINGTON — President Obama is considering airstrikes or airdrops of food and medicine to address a humanitarian crisis among as many as 40,000 religious minorities in Iraq who have been dying of heat and thirst on a mountaintop after death threats from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, administration officials said . . .
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Libya Chaos Means a Backward Step for Responsibility to Protect

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Over on CNN’s Global Public Square, I’ve written about recent events in Libya – including the evacuation of American and many foreign diplomats – and what they mean for the Responsibility to Protect. The piece begins: The 2011 international coalition intervention in Libya was supposed to be a step forward for the Responsibility to Protect . . .
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Jens Ohlin Is Guest-Blogging at Opinio Juris

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Friday, August 1, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Cornell University law professor Jens Ohlin is one of the most intellectually interesting scholars on international criminal law around–trained in philosophy as well as law, doctrinally learned, and someone who manages to surprise me on a regular basis.  He has been running his own blog for a while now, LieberCode, but these two weeks is guest-posting . . .
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Readings: Laurie Blank on Proportionality in Jus in Bello in Israel-Hamas Conflict, a Primer

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Friday, August 1, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Laurie Blank (Emory University Law School professor, director of its law of armed conflict clinic and, of course, well known to many Lawfare readers as a prominent scholar of LOAC) has an opinion column up at TheHill.com–a primer on the meaning of proportionality in the conduct of hostilities in the law of armed conflict, what it . . .
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New Edited Book on IHL in Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Tribunals

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Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Asser Press has just published a book entitled, Applying International Humanitarian Law in Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Bodies (Derek Jinks, Jackson Nyamuya Maogoto & Solon Solomon, eds.). [Disclosure: I wrote a chapter for the book.] Here’s the abstract: International humanitarian law has been perceived till now as encompassing only judicial cases concerning refugee protection or war crimes . . .
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ECHR: Poland’s Role in CIA Black Site Violated Detainees’ Human Rights

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Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 10:08 AM

The European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) today handed down a pair of judgments in long-running human rights cases brought against Poland by two U.S. terrorism detainees—Abu Zubaydah and Abd Al Rahim Hussayn Muhammad Al Nashiri.  As is well known, both had alleged violations of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, . . .
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A Primer on Legal Developments Regarding Private Military Contractors

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Friday, July 18, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Recent events again have raised the issue of accountability for alleged human rights violations by Blackwater, the most notorious of the private contractors deployed by the United States in the Iraq war. On June 11, trial finally got underway of four Blackwater guards accused of shooting indiscriminately into traffic in Nisour Square in Baghdad, in . . .
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Transatlantic Dialogue on IHL and IHRL

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Hot on the heels of the transatlantic dialogue event in Germany on surveillance law and policy, about which Russ has a fascinating post here, I’m happy to report that there is a similar event taking place at Oxford this week concerning the interplay of IHL and IHRL.  The event (now in its second year) is . . .
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En Banc D.C. Circuit Opinion in Al-Bahlul

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Monday, July 14, 2014 at 10:29 AM

I am thumbing through the long-awaited and seemingly split ruling, which opens as follows: Opinion for the court filed by Circuit Judge HENDERSON. Concurring opinion filed by Circuit Judge HENDERSON. Opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting filed by Circuit Judge ROGERS. Opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part . . .
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The Drone Memo Makes It Clear: Khadr’s Conviction Lacks Legal Foundation

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Monday, July 14, 2014 at 9:15 AM

As readers of this blog will know, after the Second Circuit released a redacted copy of the OLC’s “drone memo,” those of us who represent Omar Khadr filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review (“CMCR”) arguing that it undermined the validity of his convictions.  In due course, the government filed its . . .
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Readings: Civilian Intelligence Agencies and the Use of Armed Drones by Ian Henderson

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Friday, June 27, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Footnote 44 of the recently released and much-discussed OLC Awlaki memorandum is heavily redacted, but what’s left reads, in part: Nor would the fact that CIA personnel would be involved in the operation itself cause the operation to violate the laws of war. It is true that CIA personnel, by virtue of their not being part of . . .
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Report of the Stimson Center Task Force on Drone Policy

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Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 3:27 PM

The Stimson Center released today the report of its Task Force on US Drone Policy.  The ten-member task force, of which I was a member, was chaired by General John Abizaid and Rosa Brooks.   The report makes eight recommendations for overhauling US drone strategy; improving oversight, accountability, transparency and clarifying the international legal framework applicable . . .
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A Call for Article 51 Letters

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 6:30 PM

In past week, Kenya has conducted air strikes in Somalia against al Shabaab. Israel has undertaken airstrikes in Syria against Syrian military targets in response to a cross-border attack that killed an Israeli teenager.  And the Syrian air force reportedly has carried out air strikes in western Iraq against ISIS.  Each of these actions seems to have been . . .
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Readings: Through Our Glass Darkly: From ‘Universal’ to ‘Extraterritorial’?

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Monday, June 23, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Apologies for Shameless Self-Promotion, but I wanted to mention an essay of mine that came out a couple of months ago as part of an excellent symposium on the work of Harvard Law School’s comparative law scholar, my old and dear friend Mary Ann Glendon. (Duquesne Law Review, Vol. 52, Winter 2014, pp. 115-149, “Through Our . . .
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Lake and Rogin on Absence of Immunity for U.S. Troops in Iraq

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Monday, June 23, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Eli Lake and Josh Rogin have a revealing story entitled Obama Flips on Immunity for U.S. Troops.  It begins: President Obama pulled U.S. forces out of Iraq in 2011 because he couldn’t get Iraq’s parliament to offer U.S. soldiers immunity from Iraqi prosecution. But now Obama has promised to send in hundreds of special operations . . .
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Rescuing the Kidnapped Turks in Iraq

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Sunday, June 15, 2014 at 2:00 PM

The question on everyone’s lips is whether the United States will use force – most likely air strikes — in Iraq to help suppress the threat posed by ISIS.  Jack, Wells, and Bobby discussed here, here, and here the domestic legal basis for that use of force. The international legal basis almost certainly would be . . .
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Readings: Can Non-State Actors Mount an Armed Attack? by Kimberly N. Trapp

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Among the issues separating the American understanding of international law regarding transnational non-state actor armed groups from that of the “international community” (or at least an influential and significant part of UN officialdom, international law academics, international tribunals, international human rights NGOs, and governments particularly in Europe) is whether it is even possible for a . . .
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Litigation Tactics from the China-Philippine South China Sea Arbitration

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM

In the last month, the South China Sea dispute has heated up again – China has parked an oil rig off Vietnam’s coast, prompting anti-Chinese riots across Vietnam; a Vietnamese ship sank after being rammed by (or ramming, depending on which version of this Rashomon story you credit) a Chinese vessel; the Philippines has arrested . . .
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Germany’s Prosecutor Rolls Up His Sleeves On NSA Surveillance

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Friday, June 6, 2014 at 10:34 AM

A few weeks ago, Ben posted some comments about a Der Spiegel article that suggested the tensions between the United States and Germany were likely to die down. Not so fast, it appears. Germany’s top prosecutor has announced that he is opening an investigation into the alleged tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. A statement . . .
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