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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DiscussionKick-off

Proportionality assessments under IHL – A human thing?

The employment of drones for targeted killings has triggered a debate on the use of lethal force without direct human presence at the battlefield. Regarding the legal framework for today’s remotely-piloted drone systems, this debate must be considered settled. Their conduct’s legal evaluation depends on the execution of each specific strike. Generally, their employment will only be legal under the law of armed conflict, IHL, and if IHL is complied …

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DiscussionResponse

Is civilian harm tracking a sensible idea?

A response to Ellen Policinski Ellen Policinski makes a persuasive case for the more widespread and systematic employment of civilian harm tracking. Let me tackle the matter from a different angle. The AP I article 57(1) obligation to take constant care would seem, on any sensible interpretation, to imply a requirement to identify what is causing any level of incidental civilian harm, not just excessive civilian harm, during military operations. …

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DiscussionKick-off

Civilian Harm Tracking: An Important Tool During Armed Conflict

Civilian harm is a tragic consequence of armed conflict. Incidental civilian harm – or collateral damage – is prevalent in modern conflicts, which often involve armed groups operating from within the population. Recent examples include operations in Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and the Gaza Strip. The emerging practice of civilian harm tracking is one tool that parties to armed conflict can use to better understand and address this tragic consequence …

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