Latest in International Law: LOAC: Distinction

International Law

Transatlantic Dialogue on Int'l Law and Armed Conflict: Ken Watkin on the IHL/IHRL Interface

The next installment in the series of posts derived from this summer's Transatlantic Dialogue on International Law and Armed Conflict is now live at the ICRC's Intercross blog. It is from Ken Watkin, and it concerns the overlap of IHL and IHRL. A taste:

International Law

Israel-Gaza and the Law of Armed Conflict: Recommended Readings

A number of friends and colleagues have asked me recently for recommended readings on the law of armed conflict and Gaza. I’ve decided, therefore, to post some of my suggestions and some explanation as to why I chose them. I hope to update this compilation as I improve it and perhaps as more is written. I note upfront that these are simply my personal recommendations.

Targeted Killing

Report of the Stimson Center Task Force on Drone Policy

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 to lethal drones; and improving export controls for drone technology.

International Law

A Ukraine-Russia Issue: Does It Violate LOAC to Shed Your Identification While Still in Uniform?

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 ditching their uniforms for civilian garb, then we would indeed have cause to object.

International Law

Corn Comments on the Costs of Shifting to a Pure Self-Defense Model

The following guest post is from Professor Geoffrey Corn (South Texas College of Law), in response to a post in which I raised the possibility that, in light of the non-battlefield targeting standards articulated by the President in his NDU address and other considerations, it is no longer obvious that the armed-conflict model is serving a function beyond the battlefield (excepting the legacy GTMO detention cases), in the sense that the same authorities could be invoked on self-defense grounds.  Geoff writes in to express con

Detention: Law of

Eight Thoughts on the Broad Reading of Article II Inherent in Bobby’s Conjecture

Bobby’s post from Friday argued that “the current shadow war approach to counterterrorism doesn’t really require an armed-conflict predicate–or an AUMF, for that matter.”  Bobby’s point is that most if not all of the USG’s current uses of force outside Afghanistan could in theory continue even if the armed conflict against al Qaeda ended.  This is because, as Bobby says, the administration’s “imminent threat” constraint outside hot battlefields – which has allowed quite a lot of lethal force to be used in many nations – “is at le

Detention: Operations in Afghanistan

Does the Armed-Conflict Model Matter in Practice Anymore?

This post draws on material from my current book project, the concluding chapter of which considers the legal architecture of counterterrorism in a "postwar" setting...and advances the argument that we already have largely crossed into that world. 

In yesterday's speech, President Obama repeatedly referred to the possibility that the armed conflict with al Qaeda may end, and indeed that it must and should end lest we find ourselves in a perpetual state of war.  It is the same perspective prev

Covert Action: Legal Framework

"Carrying Arms Openly," Drones, and Covert Action

Jens David Ohlin (Cornell) has an interesting post up at LieberCode in which he discusses a range of LOAC issues raised by CIA involvement in drone strikes.  Jens raises the question whether CIA personnel involved in drone strikes can qualify for combat immunity.  Building from the premise that this question turns on compliance with the four conditions articulated in GPW Article 4(A)(2), Jens comes to the requirement of bearing arms openly and has this to say about it:

[I]t is unclear to me i

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