Refoulement Beyond Pushbacks
Since the Taliban took control of Kabul, the news has abounded in heart-breaking images of people trying to flee Afghanistan. Following some sympathetic responses, however, the discourse has shifted to...
Is ‘Cyberwar’ Fought with Weapons?
How do – and should – we classify offensive cyber capabilities? Particularly in the context of international humanitarian law, the question whether offensive cyber capabilities are weapons, means of warfare,...
Purge – Until There Is No One Left
In February 2021, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) filed a complaint in Germany for crimes committed in Chechnya, allegedly by five perpetrators including the Chechen Deputy...
International Law and Sand
Sand?! Yes, sand. Sand – or rather a lack thereof – is quickly becoming an increasingly pressing global issue. As the scarcity of this inconspicuous, yet crucial all-rounder of a...
“Genetic Cleansing” Under the Guise of Women’s Rights?
The fight for the protection and recognition of disabled persons’ rights frequently ends before it even starts. While about 25% of fetuses are generally aborted, this percentage rises to about 90% when the fetus is diagnosed...
A House Divided
In November 2020, tensions between Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region and the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments erupted into violent conflict, which is currently ongoing. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights...
Feasting on the Back of the Harvester
Germany’s 2021 asparagus season has just come to a close. Traditionally, 24 June, the so-called “Spargelsilvester”, marks the end of the jolly “Spargelzeit”. In 2019, Germans ate 1.7 kg of...
The Kids Aren’t Alright
People who walked along the East River in mid-March towards the UN’s headquarters in New York found a peculiar picture: 168 empty school tables with blue UNICEF school bags on...
“Jurassic Park” popularized the potential of amber for the research of extinct life forms: specimens of plants and animals can survive millions of years in a three-dimensional shape, with the texture of...
COVID-19 Vaccines and Work-Related Rights
As States’ capacities to provide COVID-19 vaccines rise, questions on whether employers can lawfully require their employees to get vaccinated arise accordingly. As the lawfulness of States imposing compulsory COVID-19 vaccinations has been already...
A Problem Bigger than Qatar
With the European soccer Championship beginning this Friday, discussions regarding the human rights situations of host states rose once again, specifically concerning Azerbaijan’s oppression of the press and alleged war...
Beyond Japan’s Decision
On March 11, 2011, the strongest earthquake recorded in Japan and an ensuing tsunami killed nearly 19.500 people and destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station releasing radioactive materials over...
The Future of “Climate Refugees” in International Law
The issue of “climate refugees” has attracted scholarly attention for over a decade. The historic ruling of the Human Rights Committee (‘HRCtee’) in Ioane Teitiota v. New Zealand further increased...
„Ich schreibe gerne und alles andere überlasse ich gerne anderen“, erklärte der Jurist und Schriftsteller Ferdinand von Schirach im Juni 2020, nachdem er die Idee eines Updates der Charta der...
Now or Never
“America is Back”! This is the central slogan of President Joseph Biden’s foreign policy and after the Trump presidency’s strains on the U.S. ties to its allies and on the...
100 Days of Biden
When Joseph R. Biden won the US Presidential election on 3 November 2020, the dawn of a new era seemed at our doorstep. 100 days after his inauguration, this post...
What Does the Vavřička Judgement Tell Us About the Compatibility of Compulsory COVID-19 Vaccinations with the ECHR?
On the 8th of April, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (‘the Court’) issued its widely-anticipated judgement on Vavřička and others v. the Czech Republic shedding some...
The Right to Live under Threat
Just hours before Myanmar’s newly elected government sat in for their first parliamentary session on 1st February, 2021, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other National League for Democracy (NLD)...
On 10 and 11 March 2021, the public hearings on the historic case of Manuela and others v. El Salvador took place before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR)....
The Right to Abortion and the European Convention on Human Rights
Abortion bans are back in Vogue! Nearly 165 years after the first massive demonstration on women’s rights, discussions on the extent to which interference with female bodies falls within States’...
Populism’s lethal effect on the respect for human rights
The rise of populism in Europe is a fact. Along with it, discussions of the effects of populism on the rule of law have arisen. The purpose of the present...
Alles richtig gemacht?
Nun ist es endgültig: Der EGMR hat am 16. Februar 2021 entschieden, dass Deutschland seiner Aufklärungspflicht gemäß der Europäischen Menschenrechtskonvention (EMRK) im Zusammenhang mit dem Angriff im Kundus in ausreichendem Maße...
Expansion in the Aegean Sea?
For many years Turkey and Greece – the only coastal states on the Aegean Sea – have argued about the breadth of their maritime zones. The unique situation in the...
Can Bangladesh preserve the Brahmaputra?
Disputes between riparian states over their shared freshwater resources are as old as time and China and India have long been engaged in a race to exploit the Brahmaputra. The...
Viel Lärm um nichts
Am 28. Januar hat der Bundesgerichtshof keine Rechtsgeschichte geschrieben und das ist gut so. Denn alles andere als die ergangene Entscheidung wäre ein katastrophaler Rückschlag für die weltweite Verfolgung von...
International crimes in the age of social media
Social media platforms such as Facebook are important for the dissemination of information. The platform can be a powerful tool for Sharing text messages, pictures, and videos via, and it...
Trump’s deadly legacy?
As lethal injection drugs are more and more difficult to obtain in the United States, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released an amendment to the federal execution protocols on November...
Of crabbed age and bold youth
On November 30th, news broke that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) had decided to fast-track a lawsuit submitted by six Portuguese children and adolescents (“the application”), supported by...
Diplomats vs. Robots
"We reject autonomous weapon systems that are beyond the control of humans. We want to condemn them worldwide." This concise statement is part of the coalition agreement (para. 7027) of...
A pushback against international law?
In late October, an international group of investigative journalists released a detailed report about the involvement of Frontex, the European border security agency, in so-called pushbacks in the Mediterranean. Though...
Do compulsory vaccinations against COVID-19 violate human rights?
As soon as the announcement of a vaccine against the coronavirus hit the news, discussions on the permissibility of compulsory vaccination multiplied. As anti-vaccination campaigns flourish and fake news spread...
The new era of disinformation wars
While the manipulation of photographs has traditionally been deemed a State intelligence privilege, today’s technological evolution allows anyone to effortlessly modify digital material – deepfakes being the newest, and arguably...
Extensive violence instead of intensive protection
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” (Article 1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Even though the concept of universal human rights is more than...
Collective self-defence or just another intervention?
Following the recent escalation between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, multiplying voices note that Turkey, Azerbaijan’s closest ally, has been sending not only its military but also...
The U.S. v. the rest of the world
On October 18, an arms embargo on Iran imposed by the UN Security Council a decade ago will expire. As of that day, Iran will be allowed to deal with...
A state obligation to allot land to minorities?
Land rights are an important, but underexplored aspect of international law. Although a general right to land has been discussed for several years and appears to slowly take shape (see...
Auch ein Versagen der Staatengemeinschaft
Der Konflikt zwischen Armenien und Aserbaidschan um die Region Bergkarabach ist zum ersten Mal seit den frühen 1990er Jahren wieder auf breiter Front eskaliert, beide Staaten befinden sich im „Kriegszustand“...
Return of the Rohingyas
The rape and murder of 27-year-old Arakan Buddhist woman Thida Htwe in late May 2012, allegedly by three Muslim men, triggered multiple rounds of sectarian violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state....
Climate change and human rights: a next big step for the Human Rights Committee?
In May 2019, eight Torres Strait Islanders filed a communication alleging that the inaction of the Australian government over climate change is resulting in violations of their rights under the...
Anklägerin auf der Sanktionsliste
Die Einleitung von Ermittlungen in Afghanistan durch die Chefanklägerin des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs (IStGH), Fatou Bensouda, hat bereits mehrfach scharfe Reaktionen der USA hervorgerufen (dazu kritisch hier). Unter anderem drohte der...
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire
Although the higher risk of COVID-19’s contagion among those residing in overly-populated asylum-seeker centres has been underlined by cassandric voices since the early days of its outbreak, Moria Reception and...
COVID-19 at the International Criminal Court
On 27 July 2020, an umbrella group of Brazilian unions and social organizations filed a criminal complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC). In the complaint, the group that represents...
Flashbangs against empowerment
The last weeks were turbulent in Belarus. For the first time in his 26 year-reign, president Alexander Lukashenko faces a meaningful challenge to his power in the form of a...
Germany’s commitment to international justice
Part I Six years after the so-called “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) began persecuting and annihilating the Yazidis, an ethno-religious minority group in Northern Iraq, the first trial...
“No quarter for insurrectionists”
As protests against police brutality and systemic racism have broken out in the United States following the murder of George Floyd, American politicians’ rhetoric has taken on a militant tone...
Bewaffnete Drohnen für die Bundeswehr?
Die Bundeswehr setzt inzwischen regelmäßig Drohnen im Ausland ein. Ihr Arsenal umfasst eine Vielzahl von Modellen (darunter die Aufklärungsdrohne Heron 1 in Mali). Die bislang eingesetzten Drohnen dienen allerdings allein...
Die aktuelle Covid-19 Pandemie präsentiert sich als globale Krise nationaler Alleingänge. Das liegt auch am Sicherheitsrat (SR) der Vereinten Nationen (VN), der sich seit Wochen nicht auf eine Resolution einigen...
Follow the money and see where it goes – Unmasking the EU’s Libya programme
On 20 May 2020, Philipp Dann, Michael Riegner and Lena Zagst presented on this blog the complaint before the European Court of Auditors (CoA), which a group of NGOs led...
Leaving no one behind?
In the current COVID-19 pandemic, the rights and special needs of persons with disabilities are once again neglected dramatically. It is bitterly unsurprising that the topic arrived on the agenda...
Mine, mine, mine!
In an impressive display of questionable timing and priorities, the US President may just have rung in the first round of a new space age. While “non-viral” news currently fly...
Wo kein Richter, da kein Wähler?
Polen und die Rechtstaatlichkeit – das ist seit Längerem eine schwierige Beziehung. Am Abend des 6. April 2020 änderte der Sejm (eine der beiden Kammern des polnischen Parlaments) zum zweiten...
Staat oder kein Staat unter dem Rom-Statut, das ist hier die einzige Frage!
In dem kürzlich veröffentlichten Beitrag „Deutschland als amicus curiae“ habe ich Stellung für die Bejahung der Zuständigkeit des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs (IStGH) im Palästina-Verfahren bezogen und dies im Wesentlichen mit dem...
Deutschland als amicus curiae
Palästina ist seit 2015 Mitglied des Rom-Statuts (RS) des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs (IStGH). Durch seinen Beitritt spielte Palästina den Ball in der kontrovers diskutierten Frage der eigenen Staatlichkeit dem Gerichtshof zu,...
Undermining past efforts?
On 31 January 2020, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham announced that the US government was planning to authorize high-level US military commanders, in exceptional circumstances, to employ “non-persistent” land...
From persecution to poverty
A 2019 ‘safe third country’ agreement between Guatemala and the US allows the US to send asylum seekers who arrived at the US-Mexican border to Guatemala. Under the agreement Guatemala...
A significant opening
The Human Rights Committee (HRC) has just added to the many important international legal developments of the young decade and issued its first ruling on the case of a “climate...
All eyes on the Court
Whilst Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya minority has long been subject to public scrutiny, in November news broke that The Gambia instituted proceedings against Myanmar before the International Court of...
Trumping Mexico’s Sovereignty?
President Trump reportedly planned to label Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations, stating that the US considered to “go in and clear out”. The Mexican response was quick to...
No voice, no rights, no protection?
On 19th November, the animal protection organisation PETA filed a complaint with the German federal constitutional Court (BVerfG) against a law that legalizes the unanaesthetized castration of pigs for two...
Does policy “Trump” international law?
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has announced a reversal of US policy on Israeli settlements in the West Bank. While the Obama Administration deemed Israel’s settlement activities illegal under...
India’s mosque that was and temple that will be
“Mandir mein, masjid mein tu aur tu hi hai imaano mein” [You're there in the temples, in the mosques, and in all belief]. These lyrics, performed in a musical ode...
In dubio contra bellum
What does Turkey’s operation “Peace Spring” against Kurdish militias in Northern Syria and the subsequent reactions of the international community mean for the prohibition on the use of force? “The...
Playing with fire
“Our house is burning”, French President Macron found graphic words to address the wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, which have reached threatening levels in the past weeks. 80,000 fires this...
Una-Fjord-able: Why Trump cannot buy Greenland
Many people thought it was a belated April’s Fools joke: US media reported that US President Donald Trump is considering to purchase Greenland, currently an autonomous region of the Kingdom...
Alle Wege führen nach Dublin
Im Jahr 2018 einigte sich Deutschland mit Griechenland in Form eines Verwaltungsabkommens darauf, dass aus Griechenland über Österreich nach Deutschland einreisende Flüchtlinge unter bestimmten Voraussetzungen unverzüglich nach Athen zurückgeführt werden...
Land and identity
“There will be chaos if our identity is compromised”. This statement by Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), shows that the long-simmering...
Between policy and reality
Since the violent events of August 2017, which triggered one of the most recent mass exoduses of Rohingyas from Rakhine state in Myanmar, the Rohingya diaspora continues to rise. Many...
The international whaling regime – a law with no teeth?
Hosting the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan has been at the center of international attention lately. Less prominent than the G20 summit, but not less noteworthy is the reintroduction of...
Us & them
On 21 May 2019, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe published a report following her visit to Hungary from 4 to 8 February 2019. The report...
“Give me your money, you tired, poor and huddled masses!”
On 29 April 2019, the President of the United States of America ordered new restrictions on asylum seekers. The restrictions include a fee for asylum applications. This BOFAX reflects on...
“Nun sag’, wie hast Du’s mit der Gerechtigkeit?”
Viel ist darüber gesagt worden (s. hier und hier), wie moralisch enttäuschend und politisch besorgniserregend die Entscheidung des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofes (IStGH) ist, keine Situationsermittlung nach Art. 15 Abs. 3 Rom...
Keeping it clean (part II)
This Bofax is the second part of a two-part series - inspired by India successfully testing an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile against an Indian satellite and thereby causing space debris -...
Keeping it clean (part I)
On March 27th India successfully tested an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile against one of its own test satellites, creating a cloud of space debris which might collide with the International Space Station...
New peak in the dispute concerning the Golan Heights
On Monday, 25 March 2019, US President Donald Trump accepted Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights by stating that “the United States recognizes that the Golan Heights are part of...
Responsibility to punish
Über 1000 deutsche Staatsangehörige haben sich dem sogenannten Islamischen Staat (IS) angeschlossen, davon befinden sich mittlerweile gut 40 im syrischen Kurdengebiet in Gefangenschaft. Einige von ihnen werden verdächtigt, sich wegen...
On Wednesday, February 27th 2019 Pakistan reportedly shot down two Indian warplanes, after India conducted airstrikes on the Pakistani side of the disputed border region of Kashmir against training camps of...
New Collaboration between Völkerrechtsblog and Ruhr University Bochum’s Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV)
From 2019 onwards, Völkerrechtsblog is regularly publishing Bofaxe: academic snapshots of up-to-the minute news in international law as produced by international law researchers at the Ruhr University Bochum’s Institute for International...