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Editorial #30: Pause for a Moment


Summer is in full swing (at least in the northern hemisphere), offices are closed, and life seems to move at a slower pace. We can use this occasion to pause for a moment. Instead of rushing from one deadline to another we can try to use the moment to reflect on things, take our time to process new information and brainstorm. One simple way to pause for a moment is to immerse ourselves in a good read, no matter if we still work or enjoy our vacation. A good read advances our research, gives us fresh perspectives, but also allows us to explore problem constellations that we are unfamiliar with. In search for a good read, you can consult the most recent blogposts published on Völkerrechtsblog:

Swati Singh Parmar’s article has attracted much attention. In the latter, she critically reflected on the Indian caste system as an international law issue while Klaas Müller has shed some light on the Biden Administration’s new rule for asylum seekers, questioning its compatibility with the 1951 Refugee Convention and criticizing the externalization of migration control. Maira Sophie Müller and Katharina Luise Preller examined the challenges that arise for the right to health when a country enforces sanctions against another, often resulting in the inaccessibility of vital medicine as supply companies fear penalties. Additionally, Abhijeet Shrivastava responded to a previous blogpost by Philipp Rothkirch on foreign election interference, arguing that states need to agree on a definite standard for denouncing disinformation campaigns. In his article, he advocated for a stronger involvement of the Global South in the entire process. Dilken Celebi dismantled the role of female ISIS returnees as perpetrators in international criminal law by analyzing the relevant German jurisprudence while Miloš Vec investigated the 150-year-old exploration of Franz-Josef-Land in the Arctic Ocean. Two blogposts from Vanessa Bliecke address abortion-related issues from different angles: one article elaborated on the difficulties that may arise in disability-selective-abortion cases, and together with her co-author Spyridoula (Sissy) Katsoni she discussed how the Committee on the Rights of the Child stands up for stronger abortion rights.

Several blogposts touch upon environmental aspects. Jan-Alexander Jeske highlighted the importance of the environmental rule of law to counter climate change and Joel Bella and Julia Heuwing analyzed whether the Paris Agreement could be used as the concretization of the state’s positive obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Marius Kühne intervenes in a critical debate on preventive detention against climate activists: he claimed that the recent law enforcement actions taken against climate activists are in violation of the case law established by the European Court of Human Rights.

A recurring topic on our blog is the Russia-Ukraine war. For example, Artem Ripenko argued that seizing Russian government assets by Ukraine or other nations would be a legally justified action taken in (collective) self-defense. Aaron Dumont assessed whether the recent destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam could be classified as a ‘clear’ war crime against the environment. The US delivery of cluster bombs to Ukraine has sparked a heated debate: Hendrik Simon discussed with Elvira Rosert and Frank Sauer its potential legal, normative and military implications, followed by Will Wright’s analysis of the cluster bomb controversy.

If you want to get to know the person behind the academic, you can read the interviews with Olabisi D. Akinkugbe and Giulia Raimondo. After skimming all blogposts and interviews, you could listen to the Podcast episode on International Law and National Socialism (Part 1) which was recorded in cooperation with the “Mal nach den Rechten schauen”-Podcast. Our media section featured three episodes of the Völkerrechtliche Tagesthemen (Episodes 39-41). András Hárs addressed the thorny issue of sexual abuse committed by UN Peacekeepers, Jean-Claude N. Ashukem talked about how multinational corporations could be hold accountable for land grabbing and human rights violations in Africa while Matina Papadaki elaborated on the International Law Commission’s work on general principles.

Finally, we want to announce our long-awaited summer break, starting 7 August 2023. Völkerrechtsblog will be back on 28 August 2023. Have a relaxing summer (or winter) period!

Jasmin Wachau

Jasmin Wachau is a doctoral researcher and research fellow at the Assistant Professorship of Public International Law and International Administrative Law at the University of Erfurt. She is an Editor of Völkerrechtsblog.

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