Latest in International Law: LOAC: Detention

International Law

Folk Law and Obama Administration Mythology: Four Stakes

Marty Lederman and I have been engaged in a debate over the past few weeks, and last Monday he wrote a lengthy and thoughtful “Monday Reflection” over at Just Security concerning some of my arguments here at Lawfare and in my article, Folk International Law. I would like to use this post, my last in this exchange, to raise four of the bigger stakes that I think arise out of our discussion.

International Law

The Convention Against Torture: Extraterritorial Application and Application to Military Operations

Belatedly, I want to join the discussion about the extraterritorial application of the Convention Against Torture (CAT), about which Jack commented on Friday, drawing on an article by Charlie Savage earlier in the week.

International Law: LOAC: Detention

The Debate About the Extraterritorial Scope of the Torture Convention’s Provisions on Cruelty is (Almost Certainly) Not About USG Interrogation Policy

A week ago Charlie Savage reported that the Obama administration “is considering reaffirming the Bush administration’s position that the [Convention Against Torture(CAT)] imposes no legal obligation on the United States to bar cruelty outside its borders.”  The provision of the Torture Convention in question is Article 16, which provides: “Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its juri

Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights

Abdullah Files His Reply-Brief Before the D.C. Circuit

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 indefinite detention. This request also went unanswered.

International Law

More on UN Detention Procedures for Military Operations

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 with interest a recent UN Security Council Resolution related to Somalia.  UNSCR 2124 (Nov.

Non-International Armed Conflict

How Does the UN Define “Direct Participation in Hostilities”?

One theme of Ben Emmerson’s interim report on remotely piloted aircraft and targeted killings is that governments must be more transparent with regard to any civilian deaths they cause.  It’s easy to find lots of other calls for greater transparency on related issues.  For instance, many have urged the United States to be more transparent with regard to who the United States believes it can target as a matter of international law, where geographically it believes it may use lethal force, which forces count as “associated forces” for purposes of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force,

Detention & Guantanamo

When I'm 64: The Geneva Conventions and the Obama Administration

August 12 is the 64th anniversary of the signing of the Geneva Conventions.  As a candidate, Senator Obama was highly critical of the Bush Administration’s non-application of the Geneva Conventions to detained members of al-Qaida and the Taliban.   His Administration came into office pledging to “abide” by the Geneva Conventions, and President Obama himself received an ovation at his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in Oslo in December 2009 for reaffirming his commitment to the Conve

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