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Category Archives: International Law: LOAC

FBI Agents Embedding with JSOC Units in Combat Zones

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Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 11:49 PM

The Washington Post has a story this evening on an often-overlooked aspect of interagency cooperation in connection with both combat operations and counterterrorism:  FBI agents deploying into the field with JSOC units. Most of the story focuses on such deployments in the context of combat zones (Iraq & Afghanistan), with an emphasis on the extent . . .
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The AUMF and IHL’s Field of Application

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Our friends at the ICRC DC delegation have a wonderful blog, intercross, and often use it to host brief exchanges among scholars and practitioners on current IHL and IHL-related issues. Right now, they’re digging into questions about IHL’s applicability in connection with the 2001 AUMF (e.g., whether passage of the AUMF automatically brought IHL to . . .
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The US and Human Rights: A Federalist Society Debate

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 7:36 PM

Criticizing the US stance on human rights treaties is practically an international sport, as evidenced by the bruising reception the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) gave to a US delegation last week.  As Bobby reported here, the US disappointed the HRC by declining to agree with former State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh’s recently disclosed . . .
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LOAC and the Crimea

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 4:06 PM

A disturbing news item:  it appears that Russian soldiers have killed at least one Ukrainian soldier at a Ukrainian military base in the Crimea, possibly heralding a violent resolution to the tense armed standoffs at various Ukrainian military facilities in freshly-departed territory.  Let’s hope this was a one-off episode, not to be followed by higher-intensity . . .
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A Reply to Wittes on the United States and Extraterritoriality

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Monday, March 10, 2014 at 4:34 PM

I’m usually a big fan of Ben’s cogent observations on Washington’s folkways.  Unfortunately, I can’t be as enthusiastic about Ben’s reply to my earlier post on Harold Koh’s memos regarding extraterritoriality of human rights treaties.  Ben overstates the duration of the United States’ position against extraterritoriality.  He also includes some pokes at Koh’s service as . . .
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A Dissenting Word on the Harold Koh Memoranda

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Monday, March 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM

I want to take issue with Peter Margulies’s laudatory remarks this weekend about the Harold Koh memos on extraterritorial application of the ICCPR and the CAT—you know, those memos that mysteriously showed up in the New York Times just as the United States was preparing to present its views on the ICCPR to the UN . . .
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Extraterritoriality and Human Rights: Time for a Change in the U.S. View?

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Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 8:11 AM

As Jack has frequently observed, legitimacy and effectiveness often go hand-in-hand.  The two comprehensive State Department memoranda by former Legal Adviser (and Yale Law School dean) Harold Koh released Friday on extraterritoriality under the ICCPR and Convention Against Torture make this point powerfully and persuasively (see commentary by Marko Milanovic here and Jennifer Daskal here).  . . .
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NYT on the United States’ Position on Human Rights Treaties

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Friday, March 7, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Well worth a read: Charlie Savage’s story, for the New York Times, regarding Obama Administration debate over whether the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture, impose legal obligations on the United States in places beyond its borders. The piece cites, among other things, two memos written by then-State Department Legal Adviser Harold . . .
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Security Programs take Center Stage in Austin During South by Southwest

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Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 6:57 PM

If you’ve never been to Austin during South by Southwest, you are truly missing out.  SXSW season begins today with the SXSW Interactive and Film Festivals, and I’m happy to report that the Strauss Center at UT is sponsoring or co-sponsoring an array of security-and-technology events over the next few days.  I’ll do my best . . .
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A Ukraine-Russia Issue: Does It Violate LOAC to Shed Your Identification While Still in Uniform?

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Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 3:55 PM

That is the claim put forward, with gusto, by Jonathan Eyal of the Royal United Services Institute in this Guardian article.  Eyal correctly notes the importance of the principle of distinction, and more specifically the obligation of combatants to distinguish themselves from civilians.  And if it were true that Russian forces in the Crimea were . . .
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Reflections on the Chatham House Autonomy Conference

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Monday, March 3, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Chatham House recently held a conference on autonomous military technologies, the focus of which was really the current debate regarding autonomous weapon systems. Kudos to Chatham House for leaning forward in this critical area and for bringing together the right mix of people for an engaging and productive conference. The event was held under Chatham . . .
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The Crimean Crisis: Commentary on International Law Ramifications

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Monday, March 3, 2014 at 2:34 PM

As a service to Lawfare readers, we have compiled some other web commentary on the legal aspects of the crisis in Crimea.  (Of course, interested folks should have a look at Ashley’s thorough articulation of the international law issues at play, and Paul’s take on the invasion’s cyber dimension.) While the situation percolated over the weekend, Eric Posner noted the (somewhat surprising) . . .
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Russian Forces in Ukraine: A Sketch of the International Law Issues

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Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Russian forces have seized control of Crimea and reportedly are digging trenches in the land bridge that connects Crimea with the rest of Ukraine. Is this a flagrant violation of international law regulating the use of force, or does Russia have some credible justification for what it’s done? Bottom Line Up Front (as DOD would . . .
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Military Commissions, Conspiracy, and al-Iraqi

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 7:20 AM

Over the weekend, I blogged over at Just Security about the al-Iraqi case pending before the military commissions at Guantánamo—and, in particular, Saturday’s New York Times story reporting that the government has amended the charge sheet against al-Iraqi to add a charge of conspiracy. As readers likely know, the en banc D.C. Circuit will soon . . .
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Josh Gerstein on Piracy and Terrorism Trials

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Monday, February 10, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Over at Politico, Josh Gerstein has an interesting piece on the Ali piracy case, and its potential implications for terrorism cases.  The article—which quotes Jen Daskal and Cully Stimson, among others—opens: The failed prosecution of an alleged Somali pirate — and the fact that that failure could leave him living freely, and permanently, inside U.S. borders — . . .
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Readings: “Charting the Legal Geography of NIAC” by Michael Schmitt

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Monday, February 3, 2014 at 1:11 PM

I’ll be participating this week in a Naval War College workshop on “Legal Implications of Autonomous Weapons,” and since my presentation topic at the workshop is “area of operations” with respect to autonomous weapons, I thought it might be a good idea to check on any recent scholarship on what has come to be called . . .
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Readings: “Using Force on Land to Suppress Piracy at Sea,” by Steven R. Obert

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Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Although piracy in the Indian Ocean by Somali pirates is sharply down in the last year or two, threats remain and an increase in attacks is far from impossible.  After all, little has been done to disrupt the land-based organizational, logistical, and financial structures of  Somali piracy.  Nearly all anti-piracy use-of-force actions have taken place . . .
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Modirzadeh on National Security Law as a Field

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Friday, January 24, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Naz Modirzadeh (Senior Fellow at the Counterterrorism and Humanitarian Engagement Project) has a paper in the latest issue of the Harvard National Security Journal that (i) posits the existence of distinct tribes of IHL and IHRL scholars in America and (ii) contends that members of both tribes modulated their positions over the past dozen years . . .
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Abdullah Files His Reply-Brief Before the D.C. Circuit

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Monday, December 30, 2013 at 12:17 PM

As Raffaela previously noted, the case of Abdullah v. Obama is an exercise in “heel dragging and losing arguments.” A brief refresher on the case: the legal saga started when Guantanamo detainee Hani Saleh Rashid Abdullah filed a habeas petition. The petition went unanswered. Accordingly, Abdullah switched tactics and instead moved for a preliminary injunction against his . . .
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More on UN Detention Procedures for Military Operations

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Monday, November 25, 2013 at 1:28 PM

About a month ago, I asked what had happened to the UN’s effort to develop a set of standard operating procedures to govern detentions that arise during the course of UN operations.  It appears that such a document exists in draft but is not public and has never been finalized. Against that background, I noted . . .
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