Current Developments

A bridge too far: Polish-Czech border incident

On 28 May 2020, when the Polish and Czech borders were closed due to the pandemic, two Polish soldiers, assigned to assist the Polish Border Guard, decided to relocate their guard post in the Polish town Pielgrzymowo. They crossed a bridge over a small stream and established a new border post next to a historic chapel, apparently not knowing that by crossing the bridge they also crossed the Polish-Czech border …

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Current Developments

The targeted killing of Qassem Soleimani – a short recapitulation

A lot has been said, written and tweeted about the targeted killing of Qassem Soleimani and the aftermath since his death on January 3. This post aims to organize the jumble and point to remaining open questions in international law. The incident may not only shape the near future of state relations in the Middle East, it will also get its place in history through the legal assessment, because the …

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Current Developments

Saber-rattling in space

How international law does (not) regulate States’ plans for Space Forces

Does international law entitle states to have military space forces? Recent efforts by several states as well as NATO to strengthen their military space capabilities re-ignite this debate. The issue is not unregulated; international space law in particular is not silent on this issue. But the limits are not as strict as one might think. Renewed military interest in space At its 70th anniversary summit in London in December 2019, …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

In dubio contra bellum

Why the prohibition to use force will survive Turkey’s operation Peace Spring

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 right to self-defence may be regarded as broadened now,” some fear (e.g. here). But can the law regulating the use of force in international relations change so easily in the face of this intervention and careful reactions of the international …

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Current Developments

The US Armed Forces at the Mexican Border – Entering Legally Murky Territories?

The Trump-Administration is increasingly concerned about the security situation within Mexico. It views it as a threat to national security in light of its cross-boundary implications, such as the flow of irregular migrants and drugs into the US (for further details see Cooper). In reaction, President Trump has decided, among other measures such as building a wall (see Proclamation 9844, establishing a controversial ‘state of emergency’ to fund it), to …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Keeping it clean (part I)

On the prohibition on the use of force in an ASAT context

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 (see the post of last week here). Since ASAT weapons are ultimately designed to be used against satellites of other states, scenarios in which space debris is caused through international hostilities become more realistic. As the conflict in the Indo-Pakistani Kashmir …

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Gunneflo Book SymposiumSymposium

Gunneflo Book Symposium: Part 2

Ioannis Kalpouzos: On the Constitution of Global Asymmetric Warfare

It is worth repeating that the suggestion that drone technology constitutes a ‘paradigm change’ and a ‘break with the past’ in the international law of force is of limited heuristic value. Both the descriptive accuracy and normative implications of this position have been challenged. Notably, such stark peridiocization may have pernicious effects, especially in naturalizing the promise of a ‘new way of war’ associated with the distanced precision of drone …

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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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DiscussionResponse

Justa piratica – or rather Hobbes State of Nature on the High Seas?

A response to the post by James Pattison James Pattison’s argument points at the heart of the debate of the international fight against Somali piracy: Have Somali pirates acted on the basis of greed or grievance, and does the respective answer to this question entail a differentiated response? Put differently: Does piracy due to grievance make it more just than piracy committed due to greed?

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DiscussionKick-off

On the Ethics of Piracy

Challenging the Orthodox View

The use of force against pirates is politically uncontroversial. As I outline in more detail in my recently published article in the Review of International Studies (on which this blog draws), on the ‘Orthodox View’ of piracy those using force against the pirates have right on their side. On the Orthodox View, the pirates are the aggressors who lack the authority to declare and to conduct force. They use force …

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