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News Roundup – 29th January – 18th February

February 19, 2019

29th January – 4th February

Syria: Arrests, torture by armed group

Yemen government, Houthi rebels meet on UN ship to discuss truce

Libya’s El Sharara oilfield won’t reopen until occupiers leave – NOC

Afghan forces lose ground as peace efforts continue: Report

Central African Republic armed groups reach peace deal

A cold war in Myanmar and the dangers of a protracted ceasefire

Myanmar rebel groups consider alliance against government

Colombia: Five armed conflicts – what’s happening?

The unbearable hypocrisy of the ELN

Hezbollah’s backing of Maduro may shine light on links with Venezuela

5th February – 11th February

Daesh leader flees coup attempt by own fighters

Analysis: The budding insurgency in southern Syria

Zawahiri criticizes jihadists in Syria for clinging to territory under Turkey’s protection

Is HTS winning hearts and minds in Syria?

Yemen: Key pro-govt forces fighting rebels

Shabaab assassinates more high-ranking Somali military personnel

CAR peace deal calls for truth commission, joint patrols: AFP

The Central African Republic government and 14 armed groups sign milestone peace agreement

‘Overreacting to failure’: Facebook’s new Myanmar strategy baffles local activists

Colombia makes peace talks with ELN illegal, demobilization of armed groups virtually impossible

12th February – 18th February

Stop the war on children: Protecting children in 21st century conflict

Isis Briton Shamima Begum pleads to return to UK after giving birth

Analysis: Hay’at Tahrir al-sham and Hurras al-Din reach a new accord

Syria: Civilians face familiar threats in rebel-held areas

Aid agencies pull out of Idlib in face of new terror threat

Libya remains a battleground eight years after Gaddafi revolt

Libya: Civilians killed as Haftar prolongs fighting in Derna

Suicide attack kills 27 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard

Dozens killed in Indian Kashmir suicide bomb attack

Nigeria rebels threaten more attacks if Buhari is reelected

Engaging Armed Non-State Actors on the Protection of Health Care: Some Promising Steps

February 18, 2019

Attacks against health care in armed conflicts represent one of the greatest humanitarian challenges of our days. In a number of ongoing situations, medical workers are kidnapped, injured or killed, medical facilities and transports are bombed, shelled or looted, wounded fighters and patients are often under attacked and fighting takes place within or near health care facilities. Access to medical services has also been obstructed in a number of places. While the legal obligations of parties to armed conflicts seem to be straight-forward (although some deserve further analysis), implementing strategies specifically aimed at improving their compliance is still a challenge. This piece highlights three important and complementary steps now in place to address this situation, particularly with respect to armed non-State actors (ANSAs): i) the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2286, together with the UN Secretary General’s list of recommendations pursuant this Resolution; ii) the UN Secretary General’s list of actors that commit grave violations of children’s rights, which includes amongst them those perpetrating attacks against hospitals; iii) the new Deed of Commitment by Geneva Call on the protection of health care.

The Humanitarian Context

One of the latest ICRC reports recorded 2,398 incidents of violence against health care in 11 countries, from the beginning of 2012 to the end of 2014. In total, more than 4,000 people were victims of this type of violence. According to the ICRC, ANSAs were responsible for more than 700 of those incidents. Although many of these consisted of mere threats, ANSAs have also killed health care personnel and patients. Additionally, they have looted health care facilities and forced medical staff to provide free treatment and treat their own members before others (here, at 7-8). By occupying or using medical facilities, ANSAs have also put them at risk of attacks by other parties.

These behaviours have entailed different consequences, such as loss of life, injury, destruction, and deprivation of vital care. Besides their immediate impact, attacks against health care personnel and facilities can also paralyse the delivery of emergency services and disrupt access to health care for the wider civilian population, and even for wounded fighters. Attacks may also lead to health care staff leaving conflict areas, thus further exacerbating the trend. Finally, in the long term this could certainly affect the provision of medical care even after the fighting has stopped.

Conversely, ANSAs sometimes act as providers of health care, including treating their own wounded fighters. Some ANSAs have even developed their own ways to care for the populations living in areas under their control. Some examples include the EPLF in Eritrea, POLISARIO in Western Sahara, FARC-EP in Colombia, the LTTE in Sri Lanka and Hezbollah in Lebanon (Murray, at 258). Similarly, it has been reported that members of the Free Syrian Army have set up a secret hospital to care for individuals.

As can be seen, ANSAs’ policies on health care can be varied, and while some of them have attacked health facilities, workers and patients, other groups have actively provided for health care. Interestingly, the consultation process carried out by the ICRC between 2012 and 2014 with 36 ANSAs indicates that there is generally a strong potential for ANSAs’ engagement on this issue. It is indeed affirmed that “[t]he vast majority of armed groups consulted agree with the need to respect and protect health care [and] [s]ome have acted on this commitment by integrating their obligations towards health care in their doctrine, education, training and sanctions” (at 15).

Compliance with International Law by ANSAs: Some Reflections

In order to understand the variation of ANSAs’ behaviours with respect to health care, it is important to briefly address their reasons to comply or not with international law. Generally, compliance has been defined as “behavioural conformity with existing norms and regulations”. In the context of ANSAs, “this means the observed match between behaviours of non-state armed groups and rules of IHL” (Jo, 65). Importantly, compliance should be seen as a spectrum, rather than as a two-way switch that is either on or off.  ANSAs, in this sense, are not entities that either violate or respect the whole international legal framework, but they may instead follow certain rules while disregarding others.

In this context, it shall not come as a surprise that while some of them have deliberately attacked medical personnel and facilities, others have attempted to evacuate and treat wounded fighters and civilians in an attempt to respect international law.  Generally, in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs), ANSAs’ respect can be linked to several factors, such as their lack of knowledge of the law, or the absence of an incentive to abide by the applicable rules. They may also deliberately decide to breach their international obligations. As affirmed by Krieger, “[a]ctual decisions to obey a legal norm result from a complex mixture of diverse motivations. Power relations as well as historical, political, social and anthropological conditions determine these motivations is that compliance is context-dependent” (at 4-5). ANSAs’ fragmented structures, their lack of a centralized command authority and their capacity to implement the law can also present important challenges for compliance (2017 Garance Talks Report, at 15). Furthermore, ANSAs may have different approaches to specific legal provisions throughout the conflict – a group going through a peace process, possibly looking for political legitimacy, may adopt a different attitude than a group whose main goal is to control the civilian population or to show its strength.

Some Promising Examples of Engagement

When dealing with engaging ANSAs on the protection of health care, an important step has been the UN Security Council Resolution 2286 (2016), the first-ever resolution to address attacks on health services in armed conflict. The UN Secretary General published a list of recommendations pursuant this Resolution, including some “measures to enhance the protection of and prevent acts of violence against the wounded and sick, medical and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, and their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities, and to better ensure accountability for such acts” (at 1). In particular, Recommendation 7, entitled “Promoting awareness and compliance”, affirms that in order to promote a culture of respect for IHL and human rights law, with a focus on the right to health care and the protection of medical care in armed conflict, member States and parties to conflict, with the support from the UN and relevant organizations, “should undertake training programmes for military personnel and members of non-State armed groups on the protection of medical care in armed conflict” (at 6). Recommendation 9 also encourages parties to take and enforce internal measures, such as command orders, dissemination activities, sanctions, etc., aimed at enhancing the protection of medical care in armed conflict (at 6-8).

Two complementary examples can be identified on engaging ANSAs on this issue. The first one leads us to examine ANSAs’ signing of so-called “Action Plans” established by the UN, and leading to the groups being successfully delisted from the UN Secretary General’s list of actors that commit one or more of five grave violations of children’s rights (as denial of humanitarian access to children does not trigger the listing process). Although these are mostly oriented to the protection of children, one specifically relates to attacks against schools and hospitals, and the UN Secretary General has been listing and examining parties’ behaviours, including ANSAs, that carried out attacks against health care facilities (here for the last report). Even though no listed parties have yet put in place measures specifically on this topic, there is nothing to prevent an “Action Plan” concluded between the UN and an ANSA on the protection of health care, in particular considering that several groups have signed these with respect to other violations (at 40-41).

The second example can be found in Geneva Call’s new Deed of Commitment for the protection of health care in armed conflict, launched in November 2018. This tool adds to the other three declarations already implemented on the prohibition of sexual violence and gender discrimination, the protection of children and the ban of anti-personnel mines. They all allow ANSAs to pledge to respect specific humanitarian norms and be held publicly accountable for their commitments.

The new Deed includes obligations for ANSAs not to attack health care personnel, facilities and medical transports (arts. 3, 4 and 5), and to give due warning in case they are “used outside their humanitarian functions to commit harmful acts, allowing them necessary time to remedy the situation or to safely evacuate” (art. 6). ANSAs also commit to “[e]nsure, maintain and provide access for affected populations to essential health care facilities, goods and services, without adverse distinction” in areas where they exercise authority (art. 8). Finally, a common provision to all Deeds affirms that ANSAs agree to take necessary measures in order to enforce their commitments (through internal orders, training, and sanctions) as well as to cooperate with Geneva Call to verify their compliance with them. Considering the success Geneva Call has had with respect to other thematic areas there are reasons to hope that it will be widely adopted.  

Introducing Ezequiel Heffes as co-editor and a reflection

February 18, 2019

I’m very pleased to announce that Ezequiel Heffes has joined the blog as an editor. Ezequiel is probably known to many for his work in the area of armed groups and international law.

Ezequiel is a Thematic Legal Adviser at Geneva Call, a humanitarian NGO that engages armed non-State actors in the respect of international law. He holds an LL.M. in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights from the Geneva Academy, and a law degree from the University of Buenos Aires School of Law. Prior to joining Geneva Call, Ezequiel worked as a field and protection delegate and as head of office for the ICRC in Colombia, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has participated in research projects and has published various articles and book chapters on armed non-State actors, including in the International Review of the Red Cross, the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law and the Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law. He will be writing on the blog in his personal capacity.

At the same time as Ezequiel joins the blog, Annyssa Bellal will step down from her position as editor. Thank you Annyssa for your contribution over the last couple of years!

As I write this post, it seems like a good time to reflect on the history of this blog. I set it up in 2012 when I was doing my PhD on armed groups and human rights law (for my book on the topic – see here). I’d just had my first child, and it was hard to travel or network in any meaningful way with a small baby at home. I set up this blog to find an online way to make connections with other researchers working on similar issues.

The two main purposes of the blog were and remain ‘information sharing’ and ‘community building’ between individuals and organisations working on issues related to armed groups. In addition to publishing analytical posts, the blog aims to provide updates on news stories and publicize academic journal articles and seminars, talks and conferences on issues related to armed groups.

During the blog’s lifetime, we have posted over 900 posts which have reached over 55,000 visitors from over 180 countries. We have posted literally hundreds of news roundups and nine legal roundups (for the most recent legal roundup see here), which we know are valued by our readers. All our posts are carefully tagged so that researchers can search the blog easily using our word could and search button. We have had guest posts from Cedric Ryngaert, Ido Rosenzeig, Marissa R. Brodney, Lily Rueda Guzman, Erik Zouave (see here, here and here), Jennifer Easterday, Nelleke van Amstel, Diana Contreras-Garduno and Dan Saxon.

Our most read posts remain those dealing with the organisation requirement for non-international armed conflict, the geographical scope of IHL and the unilateral declaration by the Polisario Front.

We have some exciting plans for the blog in the coming months – so please keep following the blog, and watch this space! Also, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to write a guest post or have a relevant publication that you think we should publicize.

Introducing Sam Jackson as news editor

February 15, 2019

Sam Jackson will take over posting the news roundups on the blog for the coming months. Sam did his LLM in Public International Law at Utrecht University in 2016/7, specialising in international human rights law and international humanitarian law. He wrote his thesis on the legal framework governing targeting in relation to child soldiers. He is currently looking for positions in the field of international humanitarian law and working as a student assistant on the blog, under the supervision of Katharine Fortin. 

Legal Roundup – 2018

February 5, 2019

Here is the legal roundup for 2018, that contains publications on issues related armed groups and international law, non-international armed conflict and the relationship between IHL and IHRL.

If you have a 2018 publication which you think should be included in this roundup, please do not hesitate to contact me at my address.

Thanks go to Sam Jackson and Ezequiel Heffes who have assisted with the compilation of this legal roundup. Please note that due to paywalls and your institution’s permissions, the given link may not always take you to the text of the article.

Armed Non-State Actors and IHL/ IHRL

Bellal, Annyssa, Welcome on Board: Improving respect for international humanitarian law through the engagement of armed non-State actors. Yearbook of international humanitarian law, Vol 19, 2016 (published 2018).

Burchardt, Dana. International counter-terrorism regulation and citizenship-stripping laws: reinforcing legal exceptionalism. Journal of conflict and security law, Vol. 23, issue 2, 2018, p. 203 – 228.

Carswell, Andrew; Somer, Jonathan. Comparing Experiences: Engaging States and Non-State Armed Groups on International Humanitarian Law. The Companion to International Humanitarian Law, Brill, 2018, pp. 39-55.

Fortin, Katharine. Armed groups and procedural accountability: a roadmap for further thought. Yearbook of international humanitarian law, Vol 19, 2016 (published 2018)

Gal, Tom. The international legal status of armed groups: can one be determined outside the scope of an armed conflict?. Israeli law review, Vol. 51, no. 2, 2018, p. 321 – 335

Hoover Green, Amanda. The Commander’s Dilemma. Violence and Restraint in Wartime. Cornell University Press, 2018.

Jo, Hyeran; Niehaus, John. Through rebel eyes: rebel groups, human rights, and humanitarian law. Law and contemporary problems, Vol. 81, 2018, p. 101 – 120

Krieger, Heike. International Law and Governance by Armed Groups: Caught in the Legitimacy Trap? Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, Vol. 12, issue 4, 2018, pp. 563-583.

Onishi, Kosuke. Rethinking the permissive function of military necessity in internal non-international armed conflict. In: Israeli law review, Vol. 51, issue 2, 2018

Klamberg, Mark. The legality of rebel courts during non-international armed conflicts. Journal of international criminal justice, Vol. 16, no. 2, 2018, p. 235 – 263

Mao, Xiao. Are “unlawful combatants” protected under international humanitarian law?. Amsterdam law forum, Vol. 10, no. 2, 2018. P. 62 – 71

Murray, Daragh. Engaging armed groups through the development of human rights obligations: incorporating practice, motivation and ideology to promote compliance with international law. Yearbook of international humanitarian law, Vol 19, 2016 (published 2018).

Martinez, Jose Ciro; Eng, Brent. Stifling stateness: the Assad regime’s campaign against rebel governance. Security dialogue, Vol. 49, issue 4, 2018, p. 235 – 253

Revkin, Mara R. When terrorists govern: protecting civilians in conflicts with state-building armed groups. Harvard national security journal, Vol. 9, issue 1, 2018, p. 100 – 145

Rodenhauser, Tilman. Organizing rebellion: non-state armed groups under international humanitarian law, human rights law, and international criminal law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018

Rodenhauser, Tilman. Armed groups, rebel coalitions, and transnational groups: the degree of organization required from non-State armed groups to become party to a non-international armed conflict. Yearbook of international humanitarian law, Vol 19, 2016 (published 2018).

Roskam, Holde, D. Crime-based targeted sanctions: promoting respect for international humanitarian law by the Security Council, Yearbook of international humanitarian law, Vol 19, 2016 (published 2018).

Somer, Jonathan. Armed Groups. The Companion to International Humanitarian Law, Brill, 2018, pp. 179-182.

Smith, Crispin. Independent without independence: the Iraqi-Kurdish Peshmerga in international law. Harvard international law journal, Vol. 59, no. 1, 2018, p. 245 – 277

Zamir, Noam, The classification of armed conflicts between occupying states and non-state armed groups in cases of belligerent occupation. Cambridge International Law Journal, Vol. 7, issue 1, 2018, pp. 145-163.

International Humanitarian Law / International Human Rights Law (general)

Bartels, Rogier, The relationship between international humanitarian law and the notion of State sovereignty, Journal of conflict and security law, Vol 23, issue 3, 461-486

Berkes, Aantal, The standard of due diligence as a result of interchange between the law of armed conflict and general international law, Journal of conflict and security law, Vol 23, issue 3, p433-460

Casalin, Deborah, A green light turning red? The potential influence of human rights on developing customary legal protection against conflict-driven displacement. Human rights and international legal discourse, Vol. 12, no. 1, 2018, p. 62-78

Clapham, Andrew. Human rights in armed conflict: metaphors, maxims, and the move to interoperability. Human rights and international legal discourse, Vol. 12, no. 1, 2018, p. 9 -22

Dijk, Boyd van. Human rights in war: on the entangled foundations of the 1949 Geneva conventions. American journal of international law, Vol. 112, issue 4, 2018, p. 553, 582

Ford, Christopher, M., Williams, Winston, S., Complex Battlespaces: The Law of Armed Conflict and the Dynamics of Modern Warfare. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Henckaerts, Jean-Marie and Nohle, Ellen. Concurrent application of international humanitarian law and international human rights law revisited.  Human rights and international legal discourse, Vol. 12, no. 1, 2018, p. 23-43.

Hill-Cawthorne, Lawrence, Rights under International humanitarian law, European Journal of International Law, Vol 28, No. 4 (2018).

Jorritsma, Remy, Where general international law meets international humanitarian law: attribution of conduct and the classification of armed conflicts, Journal of conflict and security law, Vol 23, issue 3, p405-431.

Longobardo, Marco, The contribution of international humanitarian law to the development of the law of responsibility regarding obligations erga omnes and erga omnes partes, Journal of conflict and security law, Vol 23, issue 3, p383-404.

Macak, Kubo. Internationalized Armed Conflicts in International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Mantilla, Giovanni. Forum isolation: social opprobrium and the origins of the international law of internal conflict. In: International organization, Vol. 72, Spring 2018, p. 317 – 349

Nahlawi, Yasmine. Forcible displacement as a weapon of war in the Syrian conflict: lessons and developments. Armed conflict and forcible displacement: individual rights under international law. London; New York; Routledge, 2018, p. 191 – 220

Park, Ian. The Right to Life in Armed Conflict. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018

Richemond-Barak, Daphne. Underground warfare. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Rodiles, Alejandro. Law and violence in the global south: the legal framing of Mexico’s ‘Narco War’. Journal of conflict and security law, Vol. 23, issue 2, 2018, p. 269 – 281

Samit D’Cunha, The Notion of external NIACs: Reconsidering the intensity threshold in light of contemporary armed conflicts. Yearbook of international humanitarian law, Vol 20, 2017 (published 2018).

Sari, Aurel, Legal Resilience in an Era of Gray Zone Conflicts and Hybrid Threats, Exeter Centre for International Law, Working Paper, 201/1.

Todeschini, Vito, The impact of international humanitarian law on the principle of systemic integration, Journal of Conflict and Security Law, Vol 23, issue 3, p359-382.

Vedel Kessing, Peter, Soft law instruments regulating armed conflict. Are international human rights standards reflected? Human rights and international legal discourse, Vol. 12, no. 1, 2018, p. 79-98.

Yip, Ka Lok, What does the jurisdictional hurdle under IHRL mean for the relationship between IHRL and IHL? Human rights and international legal discourse, Vol. 12, no. 1, 2018, p. 99-119.

Sources of International Law

Bellal, Annyssa; Heffes, Ezequiel. ‘Yes I do’: binding armed non-state actors to IHL and human rights norms through their consent. Human rights and international legal discourse, Vol. 12, no. 1, 2018, p. 120 – 136

Fortin, Katharine, How to cope with diversity while preserving unity in customary international law? Some insights from international humanitarian law, Journal of conflict and security law, Vol 23, issue 3, 2018, p337-358

Hiemstra, Heleen; Nohle, Ellen, The role of non-State armed groups in the development and interpretation of international humanitarian law, Yearbook of international humanitarian law, Vol 20, 2017 (published 2018), 3-35.

Kleczkowska, Agata, Armed Non-State Actors and Customary International Law. Non-State Actors and International Obligations, Brill, 2018, pp. 60-85.

Kassoti, Eva. Ad Hoc Commitments by Non-State Armed Actors: The Continuing Relevance of State Consent. Non-State Actors and International Obligations, Brill, 2018, pp. 86-106.

Jus ad Bellum

Hakimi, Monica, “The Jus Ad Bellum’s Regulatory Form.” American Journal of International Law, Vol 112, issue 2 2018, pp.151-90.

Dannenbaum, Tom. The Crime of Aggression, Humanity, and the Soldier, Cambridge University Press, 2018

Dannenbaum, Tom. The Criminalization of Aggression and Soldiers’ Rights. European Journal of International Law. Vol. 29, no. 3, 2018, pp. 859–886

Brunee, Jutta. Self-defence against non-state actors: are powerful states willing but unable to change international law?. International and comparative law quarterly, Vol. 67, issue 2, 2018, p. 263 – 286

International Criminal Law

Adams, Alexandra, The legacy of the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and their contribution to the crime of rape, European journal of International Law, Vol. 29, issue 3, pp. 749-769.

Bartels, Rogier, The interplay between IHRL and IHL during international criminal trials, Human rights and international legal discourse, Vol. 12, no. 1, 2018, p44-61

Bartels, Rogier, A fine line between protection and humanisation: the interplay between the scope of application of international humanitarian law and jurisdiction over alleged war crimes under international criminal law. Yearbook of international humanitarian law, Vol 20, 2017 (published December 2018), p. 37-74.

Chehtman, Alejandro, Revisionist just war theory and the concept of war crimes. Leiden journal of international law, Vol. 31, no 1, 2018, p. 171 – 194

McCarthy, Amy H., Erosion of the rule of law as a basis for command responsibility under international humanitarian law. Chicago journal of international law, Vol. 18, no. 2, 2018, p. 553 – 593

Targeting and Detention

Boogard, van den, Jeroen & Vermeer, Arjen, Precautions in attack and urban and siege warfare, Yearbook of international humanitarian law, Vol 20, 2017 (published December 2018), p163-198.

Boogaard, van den, Jeroen, Knock on the roof: legitimate warning or method of warfare? Yearbook of international humanitarian law, Vol 19, 2016 (published 2018)

Dworkin, Anthony. Individual, not collective: justifying the resort to force against members of  non-state armed groups. International law studies, Vol. 93, 2017, p. 476 – 525

Gaggioli, Gloria. Targeting Individuals Belonging to an Armed Group. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 51, Issue 3, 2018, pp. 901-917.

Greenawalt, Alexander K.A., Targeted capture. Harvard international law journal, Vol. 59, no. 1, 2018, p. 1 – 57

Kingah, Stephen. Legal treatment of Boko Haram militants captured by Cameroon. Revue africaine de driot international et compare = African journal of international and comparative law, T. 26, no 1, 2018, p. 44 – 63

McCormack, Tim. International Humanitarian Law and the Targeting of Data. International law studies, Vol. 94, 2018, p. 222 – 240

Olasolo Héctor and Tenorio-Obando, Felipe. Are the targets of aerial spraying operations in Colombia lawful under international humanitarian law? Yearbook of international humanitarian law, Vol 20, 2017 (published December 2018), p229-252.

Patrik Holterhus,Till.  Targeting the Islamic State’s religious personnel under international humanitarian law, Yearbook of international humanitarian law, Vol 19, 2016 (published 2018), p199-228.

Rodenhauser, Tilman. Strengthening IHL protecting persons deprived of their liberty: Main aspects of the consultations and discussions since 2011. International review of the red cross, IRRC No. 903, 2018

Schmitt, Michael N; Highfill, Chad E. Invisible injuries: concussive effects and international humanitarian law. Harvard national security journal, Vol. 9, issue 1, 2018, p. 72 – 99

Sivakumaran, Sandesh. Armed conflict-related detention of particularly vulnerable persons: challenges and possibilities. International law studies, Vol. 94, 2018, p. 39 – 74

Teferra, Zelalem Mogessie. National security and the right to liberty in armed conflict: The legality and limits of security detention in international humanitarian law. International review of the red cross, IRRC No. 903

Tominaga, Yasutaka. Killing two birds with one stone? Examining the diffusion effect of militant leadership decapitation. International studies quarterly, Vol 62, issue 1, 2018, p. 54 – 68

Weapon Technologies

Agwu, Fred Aja. Armed drones and globalization in the asymmetric war on terror: challenges for the law of armed conflict and global politic economy. New York ; London : Routledge, 2018

Boothby, William. Dehumanization: is there a legal problem under article 36?. In: Dehumanization of warfare: legal implication of new weapons technologies. Cham : Springer, 2018

Dickinson, Laura A. Drones, automated weapons, and private military contractors: challenges to domestic and international legal regimes governing armed conflict. New technologies for human rights law and practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018, p. 93 – 123

Frau, Robert. New weapon systems as a challenge to international humanitarian law. Journal for international law of peace and armed conflict, issue 1-2, 2018, p. 5 – 18

Grimal, Francis; Sundaram Jae. Combat drones: hives, swarms, and autonomous action?. Journal of conflict and security law, Vol. 23, no. 1, 2018, p. 105 – 135

Heinsch, Robert. Modern drone warfare and the geographical scope of application of IHL: pushing the limits of territorial boundaries? Research handbook on remote warfare, Cheltenham: Northampton: E. Elgar, 2017, p. 79 – 109

Heintschel von Heinegg, Wolff; Frau, Robert; Singer, Tassilo. (eds.). Dehumanization of warfare: legal implications of new weapon technologies. Cham : Springer, 2018

Heintschel von Heinegg, Wolff; Frau, Robert; Singer, Tassilo. Meaningful human control – and the politics of international law. In: Dehumanization of warfare : legal implications of new weapon technologies. Cham : Springer, 2018

Homayounnejad, Maziar. Autonomous weapon systems, drone swarming and the explosive remnants of war. London: Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, 2018

Kolossa, Stephan. Cyberspace as a chance, a threat and a weapon?. Journal for international law of peace and armed conflict, issue 1-2, 2018, p. 151 – 169

Mathur, Ritu. Human rights as a new standard of civilization in weapons control?. Alternatives: global, local, political, 2018, p. 1 – 17

Stadlmeier, Sigmar. CPU and Keyboard: Weapons of Mass Disruption?. In: Dehumanization of warfare: legal implications of new weapon technologies. Cham : Springer, 2018

Foreign Fighters

Murray, Alexander. Terrorist or armed opposition group fighter?: the experience of UK courts and the implications for public international law. In: International community law review, Vol. 20, no. 3-4, 2018, p. 281 – 310

International Responsibility

Eatwell, Tatyana. State Responsibility, ‘Successful’ Insurrectional Movements and Governments of National Reconciliation. Non-State Actors and International Obligations, Brill, 2018, pp. 388-405.

Fortin, Katharine. The Relevance of Article 9 of the Articles on State Responsibility for the Internationally Wrongful Acts of Armed Groups. Non-State Actors and International Obligations, Brill, 2018, pp. 371-387.

Transitional Justice

Blázquez Rodríguez, Paloma. Does an Armed Group have an Obligation to Provide Reparations to Its Victims? Construing an Obligation to Provide Reparations for Violations of International Humanitarian Law. Non-State Actors and International Obligations, Brill, 2018, pp. 406-428.

Villacampa, Carolina. Human trafficking for criminal exploitation and participation in armed conflicts: the Colombian case. Crime, law and social change, No. 69, 2018, p. 421 – 444

Olasolo, Hector. The colombian integrated system of truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition. Journal of international criminal justice, Vol. 15, issue 5, 2017, p. 1011 – 1047

Druckman, Daniel; Wagnar, Lynn. Justice matter: peace negotiations, stable agreements, durable peace. Journal of conflict resolution, Vol. 63, issue 2, 2019, p. 287 – 316

Marshall, Michael C. Foreign rebel sponsorship: a patron-client analysis of party viability in elections following negotiated settlements, Journal of conflict resolution, Vol. 63, issue 2, p. 555 – 584

Lawther, Cheryl. The truth about loyalty: emotion, ex-combatants and transitioning from the past. International journal of transitional justice, Vol. 11, issue 3, 2017, p. 484 – 504

Parra, Tatiana Sanchez. The hollow shell: children born of war and the realities of the armed conflict in Colombia. International journal of transitional justice, Vol. 12, issue 1, 2018, p. 45 – 63

Druckman, Daniel; Wagner, Lynn. Justice matters: peace negotiations, stable agreements and durable peace. Journal of conflict resolution, Vol. 63, issue 2, 2019, p. 287 – 316


Chatham House, Proportionality in the Conduct of Hostilities: The Incidental Harm Side of the Assessment (author: Emanuela-Chiara Gillard), 2018

ICRC. The Roots of Restraint in War, 2018.

Geneva Call, Culture under Fire: Armed Non-State Actors and Cultural Heritage in Wartime, 2018.

Geneva Call, Administration of Justice by Armed Non-State Actors. Report from the 2017 Garance Talks, 2018.

Legal Resilience in an Era of Hybrid Threats

January 31, 2019

A while back, we published a call for papers for the forthcoming conference at Exeter Centre for International Law on ‘Legal Resilience in an Era of Hybrid Threats’.

Registration for the conference is now open, and I’ve been asked to post the following announcement below inviting registration.

The Exeter Centre for International Law is delighted to invite you to a conference on “Legal Resilience in an Era of Hybrid Threats” on 8–10 April 2019 at the University of Exeter. The aim of the event is to explore the legal challenges presented by lawfare, hybrid threats and gray zone conflict and to develop the notion of legal resilience as a framework for countering these challenges more effectively. Confirmed speakers include Professor Jutta Brunnée (Toronto), Brigadier General (ret) Richard Gross, Professor Melissa de Zwart (Adelaide), Marlene Mazel (Israel, Ministry of Justice), Professor Geoffrey Corn (South Texas), Professor Charlie Dunlap (Duke).

The event is held in collaboration with the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and the Lieber Institute of the United States Military Academy.

Further details, including the draft conference programme, are available at The full conference rate includes accommodation and all meals, including the conference reception and dinner. A reduced rate is available to students enrolled full-time on higher education programmes.

News Roundup – January 2019

January 31, 2019

Thanks to student assistant Sam Jackson for the preparation of this monster news roundup for January. In general, we plan to keep doing weekly news roundups, as we know that they they are much easier to read than monthly roundups!

1st January – 7th January

War-weary Syrians in Kurdish-held Manbij wait to learn fate

Turkish-backed rebels pushing for further mass displacement from Afrin: Monitor

Syria rebel-jihadist clashes intensify, 50 dead

Documenting the death of 976 individuals due to torture in Syria in 2018

Clashes between ‘radical’ fighters and rebels ‘leave 31 dead in western Aleppo’

Next round of Yemen talks could be in Amman: rebels

Iraq’s ‘ISIS families’ are a recipe for future conflict

Egypt, Israel in close cooperation against Sinai fighters: Sisi

Yemen: Houthi rebels’ food aid theft only tip of iceberg, officials say

Two killed as Tunisian security forces storm armed group hideout

Yemen govt reports Hodeidah rebel ‘attacks’ to UN

In Yemen, Iran-aligned rebels tighten their grip through fear and intimidation

13 killed in intercommunal violence in Burkina Faso

Algeria shuts southern borders to Syrians over security fears

Somalia: Al Shabaab parades 13 soldiers defected from Jubaland

Attack on UN compound in Somalia may be ‘violation of international humanitarian law’

Armed attackers kill 37 Fulani civilians in Mali

Sudanese opposition groups issue declaration for regime change

‘Bandits’ kill 10 troops along Niger-Nigeria border

Colombia Farc: 85 ex-rebels killed since peace deal

An ordinary Kashmiri’s appeal for peace

Thousands flee clashes between Buddhist group and Myanmar army

Death toll hits a new peak in Indian Kashmir

Two killed in bombing in troubled south Philippines

8th January – 14th January

Syria’s Idlib province seized by HTS militants after deal with rebels

HTS offensive could draw in Syria and Turkey

Rebels regroup in northern Syria following truce with HTS militants

Syrian jihadists press attack on Turkish-backed rebels

Two ‘American IS fighters’ captured by Syrian militia

UN experts warns of growing influence of Sudanese armed groups in Libya

Yemen soldiers killed in Houthi drone attack on base

Libya’s militias should not run prisons: UN chief

Houthis have no intention of implementing Swedish agreement, says coalition

UN: Human trafficking worsens as children used as sex slaves

Kenya’s new security conundrum after ousting al-Shabab

Armed groups postpone Darfur peace talks in support of Sudan’s uprising

12 civilians killed in jihadist attack in Burkina Faso

Up close with Gafaranga, a child soldier who escaped a militia group

Colombia: Missing Farc leader Ivan Marquez reappears on video

Violence skyrocketing in Colombian municipality

Funeral held for Kashmir rebel leader killed in clash

EU, UN urges armed actors in Rakhine to spare civilians

Thailand: Insurgents bomb school, attack hospital

Myanmar army to launch ‘crackdown’ on Rakhine rebels

15th January – 21st January

The weaponization of artificial intelligence

Syria’s Kurdish fighters ready to help set up ‘safe zone’

‘Yemen’s Houthi militia using Iranian-made drone aircraft’: Arab coalition

Ashrawi of PLO: Trump administration is Israel’s partner in targeting UNRWA and Palestinian refugees

Sadr urges technocrats as armed factions look beyond the border

Armed groups in Sabha, Murziq reject joining Haftar’s forces

Libya: Civilians under threat from militias

Two days of clashes near Libya capital leave 10 dead

Iraqi airstrike kills three Islamic State terrorists in Kirkuk

East Libyan forces heading south to secure oil sites

Kenyans face up to ‘homegrown’ threat after hotel attack

10 UN peacekeepers killed in attack on Mali’s Aguelhoc camp

Thousands flee as militants kill more than 100 soldiers in northeast Nigeria: aid agencies

UN: Sudan, armed groups violate international sanctions

Why is Kenya an al-Shabab target?

Canada ‘appalled’ by killing of its national in Burkina Faso

Several killed in attack on upscale Nairobi hotel complex

Sudan’s al-Bashir mocks armed groups over delay of Darfur peace talks

In eastern Burkina Faso, local grievances help militancy take root

Bogota blast blamed on one-armed bomb expert linked to rebel group

Fleeing crisis, some Venezuelans are recruited by rebel forces fighting in Colombia

For enduring peace, Colombia must protect advocates for rights and prosecute war crimes

Myanmar army kills 13 in attack on Rakhine rebels

UN rights expert calls for civilian protection as fighting escalates between military and armed group

Thailand: Insurgents kill Buddhist monks

Over 1000 Rohingya flee India for Bangladesh fearing crackdown

Villagers escape armed group

Four arrested over Northern Ireland car bomb, New IRA suspected

22nd January – 28th January

Preparing for the future: Insurgents get a vote

Cease-fire in Syria’s Idlib province is at risk after extremists take over

KSrelief strongly condemns the Houthi’s indiscriminate shelling of Shalilah IDPs camp in Hajjah governorate in Yemen, killing eight people and wounding 30

OIC calls for ‘end to Israel’s assaults on Palestinian prisoners’

CAR unrest: Govt and rebels hold talks in Sudan

Saudi envoy says Hodeidah deal make-or-break for Yemen peace efforts

Libya militias agree to end clashes south of capital

Scores of Afghan troops killed in suicide bombing claimed by Taliban

Nigeria: Armed conflict continues to uproot thousands, driving up humanitarian need

Colombia’s ELN rebel commanders in Havana deny role in blast

Colombia pressures Cuba to turn over ELN rebel leaders

Islamic State claims responsibility for the Philippines church bombings that killed at least 20 people

Twin explosions kill 20 people at Philippines cathedralIs the southern Thailand insurgency ramping up again?