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Category Archives: International Law: LOAC

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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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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More Willing, More Able – But No Time Soon

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Sunday, June 1, 2014 at 1:00 PM

One new policy proposal contained in the President’s West Point speech from Wednesday was a Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund, which would facilitate counterterrorism training for U.S. partner countries where terrorist groups seek footholds. But as Eric Schmitt at the Times notes, the U.S. government for years has been pursuing the strategy of helping to train up foreign . . .
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Targeting Non-Al Qaeda Members in Yemen (?): The Role of Consent

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Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 4:30 PM

The other day both Bobby here and Ryan Goodman at Just Security here picked up on news reports that DOD may be willing to provide additional military cooperation (including logistics and direct fire capabilities) to the Yemeni government. Ryan then takes the opportunity to ask: what type of force is the U.S. government undertaking in Yemen already? . . .
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Al-Nashiri, the Cole Bombing, and the Start of the Conflict with Al-Qaeda

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 10:00 AM

The habeas challenge to military commissions recently filed by Abd Al Rahim Al-Nashiri is a loser on both procedure and substance.  Al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, argues that a federal court can, and should, enjoin his pending commission trial because the charges against him concern acts that occurred . . .
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More on the Afghan Drawdown’s Destabilizing Impact on Detention Law

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Monday, April 28, 2014 at 7:59 AM

Excellent recent posts by Ben and Marty draw attention to the impact that the drawdown in Afghanistan likely will have on GTMO habeas litigation. I agree; we will certainly see a fresh wave of litigation.  And as part of that wave, we will see the argument that the law of armed conflict no longer applies . . .
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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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