Latest in International Law: LOAC: Field of Application

Non-International Armed Conflict

Readings: Civilian Intelligence Agencies and the Use of Armed Drones by Ian Henderson

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.

International Law: LOAC

Readings: Can Non-State Actors Mount an Armed Attack? by Kimberly N. Trapp

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 non-state actor to mount an "armed attack" against a state, within the meaning of the UN Charter.

Relationship between LOAC and IHRL

The US and Human Rights: A Federalist Society Debate

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 memos urging extraterritorial application of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture (see my earlier

International Law

LOAC and the Crimea

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 violence.  That said, we might pause to ask about the legal context.  In my view the law of armed conflict alr

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.

Targeted Killing

Interim Report by UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson on Drones in Counterterrorism Operations

You can find the interim report---the final won't be submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council until 2014, apparently---here.

There's a good bit to pore over in the paper authored by Emmerson, with whom Lawfare chatted during his May fact-finding trip to the United States.

Subscribe to Lawfare