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International and Foreign

The Special Rapporteur on Torture’s Report on Extraterritoriality Speaks to Migrant Crisis

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez, has issued a new expert’s report (his 17th)—this one on extraterritoriality. (JustSecurity’s extensive coverage of the extraterritoriality of states’ human rights obligations can be found here). Méndez’s tour de force—which discusses the prohibition against torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment (CIDT) as contained in the Convention Against Torture (CAT) as well as customary international law—covers a whole range of issues implicated by the question of extraterritoriality as highlighted below the fold.…   continue »

New California Human Rights Legislation

Amidst all the coverage of California’s new assisted suicide law, it may have been missed that Governor of California Jerry Brown signed important human rights legislation into law over the weekend. Specifically, AB 15 makes several significant changes to California law when it comes to the ability of victims of human rights abuses to obtain civil redress in the state’s courts.…   continue »

Was the Kunduz Strike a War Crime?

As reports poured in over the weekend that the United States bombed a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing at least 12 MSF staff members and 10 patients and injuring 37 more, numerous commentators said that the strike was or could be a war crime or grave violation of international humanitarian law (IHL) (the laws of war).…   continue »

The UN Human Rights Council Supports Yemen’s “National Inquiry,” but Is It a Whitewash in the Making?

This week, in what the New York Times described as “a U-turn at the United Nations Human Rights Council,” the Netherlands withdrew a proposal for an international investigation into human rights violations committed during the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen. Since March this year, a Saudi-led coalition, with the consent of Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the logistical and intelligence assistance of the United States, has engaged in military action in Yemen against Houthi forces.…   continue »

Rest Easy Professeurs de Trahison, You Are Not Targetable Under LOAC

William C. Bradford’s article Trahison des Professeurs: The Critical Law of Armed Conflict Academy as an Islamic Fifth Column, published last summer in George Mason Law School’s National Security Law Journal, drew widespread criticism from the international law community. According to Bradford, recent hostilities involving militant Islamic groups such as ISIL are the latest phase in a centuries-old struggle by Islamic extremists to eradicate the West as an evil civilization that “blocks a recreated Caliphate and resists God’s laws.” Within this armed conflict, a small group of American legal scholars have, Bradford posits, made themselves lethally targetable through their support of Islamic extremists groups.…   continue »

The Canary in the Coal Mine: Women and Reservations to Post-2015 Development Agenda

Readers may be interested in an update on the advancement of the post-2015 Development Agenda. During its 69th General Assembly meeting this month, a resolution was adopted transmitting to its 70th session an ambitious post-2015 development agenda. That sweeping agenda addresses the elimination of poverty and hunger, environmental sustainability, building a global partnership for development, and advancing global peace and security.…   continue »

The First Case for the ICC Prosecutor: Attacks on Cultural Heritage

Over the weekend, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, announced an arrest in the Mali situation, charging Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi with the intentional destruction of religious and/or historical monuments. The case is of interest to the United States because of its conditional support for the work of the ICC, as well as its opposition to Islamist, terrorist groups in northern Mali.…   continue »

A Short (Yet Still Forlorn) Reply in the Taliban Sources Project Debate

It appears from the reply of Shaheed Fatima to my earlier post that the UK’s counterterrorism legislation is engendering ever deeper difficulties in gauging its meaning and impacts. I was right to be forlorn!

Inevitably, the predicted application of any law depends on “fact sensitive caveats.” My caveats here arose from the apparent disjunction between the claims of the TSP as to content and the assumptions as to content of the British Library.…   continue »