Customary international law and general principles of law recognized by civilized nations prohibit the assassination of governmental officials during peacetime.
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President Trump has doubled down on his threat to bomb Iranian cultural sites if Iran attacks the United States in response to the killing of Qassem Soleimani. Administration officials should affirm publicly that the United States will comply with its legal obligations during armed conflicts.
In Iraq, the Trump administration’s military response to a fatal attack on U.S. personnel has triggered a new political crisis. The U.S.-Iraq relationship may not escape unscathed.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the United States will “no longer recognize Israeli settlements as per se inconsistent with international law”—a major break from U.S. practice.
David Kaye, the United Nations special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the freedom of opinion and expression, recommended in June 2018 that social media companies adopt international human rights law as the authoritative standard for their content moderation. Before Kaye’s report, the idea was fairly out of the mainstream. But the ground has shifted.
For the last 24 hours, media headlines have been seized by what appears to be President Trump’s latest idiosyncratic policy proposal: purchasing Greenland, which is currently a part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Trump has reportedly asked the White House counsel, to look into the legality of the matter.
Editor's Note: This piece is crossposted on Lawfare and EJIL:Talk!
States frequently take actions and make statements that implicate international law. But because they do not—and, indeed, could not—express a view on each such act or statement by all other states at all times, silence seems to be the norm, rather than the exception, in international relations.
On June 20, the United Nations Security Council passed a unanimous resolution to protect people with disabilities in armed conflict and ensure they have equal access to humanitarian assistance. The groundbreaking text follows extensive advocacy from civil society and disability rights groups, and marks the first time the council has dedicated an entire resolution to the unique challenges people with disabilities face during situations of armed conflict.
The president announced on June 21 that he had called off a potential U.S. military strike on Iran in response to Iran’s shootdown of a U.S. Navy remotely piloted vehicle (RPV). The strike, according to the president, could have incurred casualties of as high as 150 people—information that has sparked discussion over the proportionality of such a response under international law. Before jumping to this debate, however, there is another issue that needs to be considered first: the question of necessity.
On June 20, U.S. military officials confirmed media reports that Iranian military forces successfully shot down a U.S. drone in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf.