Current Developments

Exceptionality and context

Turkish intervention in Syria and the war on terror

The present Turkish military interventions in Syria and northern Iraq continue to raise the question of when States may use defensive force against armed non- State actors in other States. It is one of the ongoing and legally disputed actions of multiple, state and non-state, actors involved in the Syrian conflict. This post analyses the international legal implications of the ensuing military action by Turkey, especially the meaning of ius …

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Discussion

Multi-stakeholder self-regulation mechanisms for PMSCs – good enough for the United Nations?

Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) are not only hired by states, the UN makes use of PMSCs as well. Recent years have witnessed an increase in the number of PMSCs used by the UN (DCAF, Pingeot). One of the current challenges is the use of PMSCs in UN peacekeeping operations.

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DiscussionResponse

Lawfare? We need the states to interpret international humanitarian law

A response to Raphael Schäfer Raphael Schäfer has thoughtfully worked out the main issues surrounding lawfare and counter-lawfare. I will take up his analysis and develop it further in order to provide a complementary perspective. I will explain the struggles over the law – quickly termed “counter-lawfare” by some –as the ordinary course rather than the exception.

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DiscussionKick-off

Anwendung humanitärvölkerrechtlicher Normen in asymmetrischen Konflikten

Extensive Auslegung oder „Lawfare“-Methode?

Es ist bei Weitem kein Novum zu behaupten, dass die Konfliktstrukturen des 21. Jahrhunderts mit denen des klassischen humanitären Völkerrechts nur noch schwer vergleichbar sind. Die Zeiten staatlicher Duellkriege sind vorüber, Handlungen nichtstaatlicher Gewaltakteure prägen heute maßgeblich die weltweite Konfliktlage und führten zu einer Anpassung nationaler Sicherheitsstrategien. So wurde am 20. September 2001 mit dem „War on Terror“ zum ersten Mal einem Phänomen der Krieg erklärt – im technischen Sinn …

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Practitioner's Corner

Practitioner’s Corner: MONUSCO – an inside view into a peacekeeping mission

The “Practitioner’s Corner” gives the floor to practicing international lawyers. Their accounts illustrate the diversity of work within the field of international law and offer personal insights into the practice of international law. If it’s not written down, it does not exist In those words, I can sum up what I’ve learned over the past two years working for the UN. It also perfectly captures the basics of working in the …

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Discussion

Die schwierige Aufgabe der Humanisierung des humanitären Völkerrechts:

Von der harmonisierenden Auslegung zur Billigung einer „nachträglichen Derogation“

Der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (EGMR) steht vor schwierigen Entscheidungen hinsichtlich der Anwendung der Konventionsrechte im bewaffneten Konflikt (vgl. Georgien gg. Russland (II) und Ukraine gg. Russland (I-III)). Für die Phase der Besetzung und die sich anschließende Phase hat der Gerichtshof in Al-Skeini und Al-Jedda die Anwendbarkeit der Konvention bereits festgestellt. In Hassan gg. Vereinigtes Königreich hat nun die Große Kammer trotz des erstmalig von einem Konventionsstaat vorgebrachten Verlangens, die …

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DiscussionResponse

Identifying even more Common Ground:

Autonomous Weapons must not be Exploited to their Full Potential!

A response to Sebastian Wuschka and Rebecca Crootof In order to avoid the undesirable consequence of becoming outmoded by newly invented methods and means of combat, the normative regime of the ius in bello has always been and is currently even more so dependent upon the ability to anticipate future technological developments in the area of weaponry. Against this background one can indeed readily agree with the widely shared perception that it is …

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DiscussionResponse

Autonomous Weapon Systems and Proportionality

A response to Sebastian Wuschka and Rebecca Crootof Recently, two statements on autonomous weapon systems have been published on this blog. In his post, Sebastian Wuschka argues that, because they are not human, autonomous weapon systems “can never be entrusted with the performance of proportionality assessments under IHL”. In her response, Rebecca Crootof states that this is not even necessary, given that it is incumbent on the human commander alone to carry …

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Current Developments

Individual compensation reloaded

German governmental liability for unlawful acts in bello

On 30 April, the Appeals Court of Cologne will rule on whether Germany has to pay compensation to victims of an airstrike in Afghanistan. Its judgment is likely to consolidate the new German approach to questions of compensation for armed activities which – given the increasing relevance of litigation about armed conflicts – merits a brief treatment.

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DiscussionResponse

Autonomous weapon systems and proportionality

A response to Sebastian Wuschka An autonomous weapon system is “a weapon system that, based on conclusions derived from gathered information and preprogrammed constraints, is capable of independently selecting and engaging targets.” In his recent post, Sebastian Wuschka argues that the use of such weaponry will necessarily violate the law of armed conflict—specifically, the proportionality requirement. Wuschka and I agree that, because artificial intelligence is not now capable of human-like reasoning, we …

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