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International and Foreign

New UN Report Highlights Freedom of Expression Violations Across the Globe

UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, yesterday issued his fourth report, a comprehensive survey of global trends i n restrictions on freedom of expression. From Chinese cybersecurity legislation and the censorship of social media, to the detention of journalists covering the Black Lives Matter protests, Kaye’s 24-page study addresses an array of threats to this fundamental right, and it presents several recommendations for state action.…   continue »

Justice Richard Goldstone: South Africa’s Attempt to Withdraw from Int’l Criminal Court is Unconstitutional

In a shocking surprise to many in the international community, South Africa has announced that is has formally begun the process of withdrawing from the International Criminal Court. Having now submitted an “Instrument of Withdrawal” (full text) to the UN Secretary-General, South Africa became the first nation to take this extraordinary step.…   continue »

Military Attacks on “Hospitals Shields”: The Law Itself is Partly to Blame


The MSF Trauma Center in Kunduz, Afghanistan, following the US airstrike on the facility in October 2015. Image by Andrew Quilty. 

From the war in Afghanistan and the US-backed Saudi intervention in Yemen, to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the Syrian civil war, hospitals have increasingly been targeted by military forces. …   continue »

UK Government’s Response on Drone Strikes Policy Leaves British Parliament Wanting More

A heads-up to Just Security readers: The UK government has responded to the British Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) report on the use of drones for targeted killings, which the committee launched in response to the Royal Air Force’s August 2015 drone strike in Syria against UK citizen and alleged Islamic State member Reyaad Khan.…   continue »

The Terminology of War and the Consequences for Executive Power

Just Security has hosted a number of interesting exchanges over the last week concerning the international and political implications of identifying the existence of an armed conflict. Ryan Goodman noted the international legal benefits that might attach to identifying the existence of an “international armed conflict” between the US and Syria, and discussed the political repercussions that nevertheless deter Presidents from describing a conflict as “war.” Ryan and Michael Adams took issue with the received orthodoxy on the threshold for the existence of a non-international armed conflict (or NIAC, meaning a conflict with a non-state armed group such as ISIL) and Adil Haque proposed an extremely low standard constrained only by the organized armed group’s “capacity to sustain military operations.” All are laudably focused on the protective benefits that accrue as a matter of international law to applying the rules and enforcement mechanisms of International Humanitarian Law — often referred to in the U.S.…   continue »

The Law of Consent-Based Interventions

In a recent Just Security post, Adil Ahmad Haque asks what legal rules constrain the use of military force by an intervening state acting without the host state’s consent. Recognizing the importance of determining what legal regime governs a given situation, many scholars and the recent ICRC Commentary have focused on assessing the status of non-consensual interventions.…   continue »

De Facto and De Jure Non-international Armed Conflicts: Is It Time to Topple Tadić?

When does violence between a state and non-state actor constitute an armed conflict and thus trigger the system of legal rules that apply in non-international armed conflict (NIAC)? That question has been at the core of law and policy debates—since the drafting of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and reinvigorated by a series of legal issues post September 11th. …   continue »