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Autonomous Weapons and the Individualisation of War: The CCW Moves Ahead

This past week member states to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) met at the United Nations in Geneva to discuss various disarmament issues and prepare for its Fifth Review Conference in December of 2016.  Additionally, on the agenda was whether or not member states ought to continue debating a preemptive ban on lethal […]

Embedded Troops and the Use of Force in Syria: International and Domestic Law Questions

Cross-posted from EJIL: Talk!   Editor’s Notes: This post was written before the announcement earlier this week that the UK had conducted a drone strike against members of Islamic State in Syria in August. Commentary on that latest development will follow later.   As Rob McLaughlin noted in his post, UK military pilots, (as well as other UK military […]

Is the relationship of the ICC and R2P truly “win-win”?

Cross-posted from openGlobalRights It has become standard practice to call on the Security Council to refer situations of imminent or ongoing atrocity crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Syria is an obvious case in point. Besides ensuring justice for victims, a key rationale is the hope that ICC referrals can advance objectives related to the […]

Not by International Criminal Tribunals Alone – Options for Pursuing Accountability for Violations of International Humanitarian Law

Numerous possible approaches exist for promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL), ranging from dissemination and training, to “naming and shaming” violating parties, individual criminal responsibility, state responsibility, targeted sanctions, as well as engaging with the violating party to assist it to remedy its wrongdoing. All possible approaches must be considered. There is no single […]

The International Court of Justice and the Concept of Aggression: Lessons for the ICC?

Cross-posted from EJIL: Talk! The Kampala Amendments to the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) adopted in June 2010 define the crime of aggression for the purposes of the ICC Statute and set out the conditions under which the ICC will exercise jurisdiction with respect to that crime. It was decided in Kampala that […]

Protecting the Humanitarian Individual: Mindfulness and Self-Care in Humanitarian Action

I arrived in Nablus in 2008, amid the human and emotional devastation that followed the Second Intifada. As a psychologist with an international NGO, I came to the West Bank to provide therapeutic support to Palestinians who carried the wounds of the ongoing conflict and military occupation: I worked with former prisoners, mothers who had […]

The Future of Peace Operations

A large-scale review of peacekeeping, the United Nations’ flagship activity, is currently underway. Established by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon late last year and chaired by Jose Ramon-Horta of Timor-Leste, the High-level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations is expected to publish its final report before the 70th UN Summit in September.

The Caesar Pictures and Accountability in Syria

In March 2015, the devastating civil war in Syria entered into its fifth year. Here are a few figures that show the grim reality that individuals in that part of the world find themselves in on a daily basis. According to UN estimates, at least 220.000 individuals have thus far lost their lives in the […]

Eye Scan Therefore I am: The Individualization of Humanitarian Aid

The iris of an eye is surely one of the most individual parts of a person – a unique signifier of each one of us. Today, Syrian refugees standing at ATM machines in Jordan are being recognized by iris scanning technology so they can withdraw UN cash that enables their families to survive another month. […]

Individualisation and Contemporary War

It is often said that generals and state leaders too often fight the last war. Military strategies designed for one context applied to the next one, without enough reflection on, or adjustment to, new realities. So when George W. Bush declared “mission accomplished” in the spring of 2003, after the U.S.-led coalition quickly overran Iraq’s […]