Call for Papers: Revisiting the Role of International Law in National Security

Call for Papers: Revisiting the Role of International Law in National Security

We invite you to submit an abstract or draft of an article for discussion which aims to draw the international legal aspects of armed conflicts to the forefront of conversations in the U.S. A small number of papers will be selected for discussion at a workshop at Cordoza Law School. Papers are due for submission by April 8, 2016.

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ICRC President on Syria: "Time to End This Horrendous War"

ICRC President on Syria: "Time to End This Horrendous War"

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, has urged the parties to the Syrian conflict to allow aid deliveries to all people in need and to continue to work towards a political solution to end the suffering of millions of people. He said there needed to be a concerted effort by all those 'with influence' to bring to an end the devastating war which is entering its sixth year.

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Gender Perspectives on IHL

Gender Perspectives on IHL

Last week the ICRC's Director of Law and Policy, Helen Durham, participated in a podcast hosted by The Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action (ATHA) at Harvard University. The podcast brings together experts from diverse backgrounds to consider how the practical implementation and enforcement of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) affects men, women, girls and boys differently.

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A Reminder That Rejecting Torture is the Right Thing To Do

A Reminder That Rejecting Torture is the Right Thing To Do

The topic of torture and questions as to whether it works, whether it should be used, and whether techniques like waterboarding constitute ill treatment have started to resurface in recent days. Given the renewed rhetoric around this subject, we’ve decided to repost an opinion piece written by ICRC President, Peter Maurer, and originally published by the Huffington Post in December 2014.

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Even Wars Must Have Limits - An Op-Ed by ICRC's Director of Operations

Even Wars Must Have Limits - An Op-Ed by ICRC's Director of Operations

The Director of Operations of The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was recently in Washington D.C. for talks with U.S. officials on the ICRC's major humanitarian concerns in 2016. During his visit he also authored an opinion piece for CNN on five resolutions that those waging war and those with influence over global security can commit to that would truly make a difference in the year ahead.

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The Relationship Between Climate Change and Conflict

The Relationship Between Climate Change and Conflict

In December 2015, 190 countries were among 50,000 participants that came together in Paris to review the 1992 UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This convention set out a framework for action aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. In today's world, no discussion of climate change is complete without consideration for how the phenomenon affects people caught up in armed conflicts, many of whom are some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. To raise awareness of this topic, 65 Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners joined the discussions in Paris to talk about the relationship between climate change and conflict.

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International Review Series- Rewired Warfare: Rethinking the Law of Cyber Attack

International Review Series- Rewired Warfare: Rethinking the Law of Cyber Attack

In October, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) released a new edition of the International Review of the Red Cross titled Scope of the Law in Armed Conflict. This week we are highlighting an article from this issue titled Rewired Warfare: Rethinking the Law of Cyber Attack, by Michael Schmitt.  The article discusses the applicability of international humanitarian law on cyber, particularly the interpretation of the rules governing cyber 'attacks'. 

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No agreement by States on Mechanism to Strengthen Compliance with rules of War

No agreement by States on Mechanism to Strengthen Compliance with rules of War

After four years of extensive consultations, States have been unable to agree on a new mechanism proposed by the ICRC and the government of Switzerland to strengthen compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL). The decision was taken at the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which draws to a close today in Geneva.

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Autonomous Legal Reasoning? Legal and Ethical Issues in the Technologies of Conflict

Autonomous Legal Reasoning? Legal and Ethical Issues in the Technologies of Conflict

On October 23, 2015, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Temple University School of Law held an invitation-only, one day workshop to discuss how the development of autonomous systems impacts questions of international humanitarian law (IHL).  Militaries have emerged with new technologies in recent years, including cyber operations, remotely piloted vehicles, automated defensive weapons, as well as the potential future development of fully autonomous lethal weapons. All these technologies share similar characteristics, most importantly their ability to operate in the absence of direct human control.  This workshop sought to engender a cross-cutting dialogue by bringing together experts with different backgrounds.  

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Guest Post- A Better Way to Protect Civilians and Combatants than Weapons Bans: Strict Adherence to the Core Principles of the Law of War

Guest Post- A Better Way to Protect Civilians and Combatants than Weapons Bans: Strict Adherence to the Core Principles of the Law of War

This is the third installment in a  recent series between the ICRC and Maj. Gen. Charles Dunlap (Ret.), that raise interesting questions concerning the utility of banning specific types of weapons.  

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International Review Series: Interview with Brigadier General Richard C. Gross

International Review Series: Interview with Brigadier General Richard C. Gross

This week we are highlighting an interview with Brigadier General Richard C. "Rich" Gross, Former US Army Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  This interview is from the Scope of the Law in Armed Conflict issue, which broadly discusses where, when and to whom International Humanitarian Law (IHL) applies. In the interview, Brigadier General Gross discusses the role that IHL plays in his then position, current trends in armed conflicts, standards of detention and more.

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Syria: Vienna talks must focus on respect for International Humanitarian Law

Syria: Vienna talks must focus on respect for International Humanitarian Law

As major powers gather in Vienna for fresh talks to try to end the conflict in Syria, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called on states to intensify efforts to ease the Syrian people’s suffering by increasing respect for International Humanitarian Law.

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On the Utility of Weapon Bans and Restrictions - Anti-personnel Mines, Cluster Munitions and Blinding Lasers

On the Utility of Weapon Bans and Restrictions - Anti-personnel Mines, Cluster Munitions and Blinding Lasers

A recent series of posts by distinguished legal scholar and Retired U.S. Air Force Major General Charles Dunlap on the Just Security blog raise interesting questions concerning the utility of banning specific types of weapons.  The ICRC takes this opportunity to outline its perspective, drawn from many decades of operational experience, on what the bans on anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions, and blinding lasers have meant for the victims of armed conflict.  

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Stop the violence. Protect health care.

Stop the violence. Protect health care.

In the last few months, a number of attacks against health-care workers, medical transports and facilities have taken place in several countries, like Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen to mention a few. These incidents are taking place in countries with fragile health-care systems that are already struggling to treat the numbers of people affected by the ongoing conflicts there. In some cases, the situation is made yet worse by the restrictions placed on aid workers, preventing them from getting to the people who need them.

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World at a turning point: Heads of UN and Red Cross issue joint warning

World at a turning point: Heads of UN and Red Cross issue joint warning

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, have issued an unprecedented joint warning about the impact of today's conflicts on civilians and appealed for urgent and concrete action to address human suffering and insecurity.

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The Obligation to Prevent Violations of International Humanitarian Law

The Obligation to Prevent Violations of International Humanitarian Law

Contemporary armed conflicts – like those in Syria, South Sudan or Ukraine, to name but a few – illustrate how lack of respect for the law has become one of the biggest challenges facing IHL today. It is against this backdrop that the obligation to “respect and ensure respect” in all circumstances, enshrined in Common Article 1 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and Article 1 of the 1977 Additional Protocol, becomes of critical importance. In a recent article in the International Review of the Red Cross, we discussed this legal obligation in detail; this blogpost provides a snapshot of our argument.

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Joint Series - Direct participation in hostilities: what are the issues and where are the controversies?

Joint Series - Direct participation in hostilities: what are the issues and where are the controversies?

Throughout the month of September, Intercross, along with two other blogs - Lawfare and EJIL:Talk! -  is running a series of articles following up on this summer’s 3nd annual Tansatlantic Dialogue on International Law and Armed Conflict, which took place in Oxford in July.  This edition discusses Direct participation in hostilities (DPH),  a central concept of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).  It makes the difference between conduct that amounts to a war crime – deliberately targeting a civilian – and conduct which is perfectly lawful – deliberately targeting a civilian while s/he directly participates in hostilities.

 

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What You Need to Know about Aiding Civilians Trapped in Conflict

What You Need to Know about Aiding Civilians Trapped in Conflict

Consider the following dilemma. Thousands of people are trapped inside a city that is running out of food, water and other basic aid. An armed conflict has engulfed the broader country for years. Government military forces outside the city have blocked humanitarian convoys to this city for months to starve fighters inside. These were the types of scenarios and questions that more than thirty experts discussed at a closed door roundtable convened by the ICRC Washington delegation and InterAction this past April. The roundtable sought to identify what policymakers, militaries, humanitarians and other actors should consider as they contemplate interventions to protect and assist civilians` at-grave risk.

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Are the Geneva Conventions still relevant?

Are the Geneva Conventions still relevant?

Today marks the 66th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions.  On this occasion, we have chosen to re-post an article by Knut Dörmann, Head of the ICRC's Legal Division, in which he weighs in on the challenges facing the rules of war today and on the organization's ongoing efforts to ensure that the Conventions continue to stand the test of time.

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International Review- Reflections on Nuclear Weapons 70 Years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki

International Review- Reflections on Nuclear Weapons 70 Years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Today, August 6, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and, three days later, Nagasaki. Earlier this year, ICRC President Peter Maurer and Tadateru Konoe, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and of the Japanese Red Cross, visited Hiroshima together and later reflected on the human cost of nuclear weapons in an interview featured in an upcoming edition of the International Review of the Red Cross.

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