Humanitarian Law

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International Law and the Descent toward Barbarism: MSF —“Wars are being fought as in ‘barbarian times’

International Law constitutes the structure and the fabric which helps to hold international society back from a descent into barbarism. But, as is the case in holding any government accountable to law, the efficacy of…


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International law and the use of military force against groups in Syria

There is considerable confusion over the legality under international law of taking military action against groups and targets in Syria. This has led some governments participating in the coalition against the so-called Islamic State (or…


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Smart drones, the goal of peace, and the future of mankind

In an Op-Ed piece by Bill Keller published in the New York Times on March 16, 2013, Keller describes the high probability that “smart drones” will be introduced in the future, in which the aerial-borne…


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Attorney General Eric Holder offers legal justification for targeted killings of U.S. citizens abroad

On March 5, 2012, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder offered a legal justification for U.S. targeted killings directed against U.S. citizens abroad. For the text of the speech as prepared for delivery, see “Attorney General…


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International Law and the Use of Force: Drones and Real Anarchy Unleashed Upon the World

Recently a number of articles have been published that are of particular interest with respect to the development and use of drones. See William Wan and Peter Finn, “Global race on to match U.S. drone…


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UPDATE: Anwar al-Aulaqi: Targeted Killings, Self-Defense, and War Crimes

UPDATE The Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed suit against the Treasury Department for rules that require them to obtain a license before they can challenge the inclusion of…


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Targeted Killings: U.N. Special Rapporteur Alston Publishes Report to U.N. Human Rights Council

Today, Philip Alston, a highly distinguished human rights expert and U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, published a report addressing international law issues raised by the policy of “targeted killings”. See Philip…


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Targeted Killings by Drone Aircraft: A View From India, and Some Observations

….. Quotation “La guerre, c’est une chose trop grave pour la confier à des militaires.” “War is too serious a matter to just be handed over to some military men.” –Georges Clemenceau. ….. The following…