Weekly IHL Update


Monday, December 15, 2014

In the News

It’s that time of the year, when people take to the streets to protest. Certain protests receive significant media attention, like the ones in Hong Kong and the United States, but there are other protests worth keeping an eye on, like Mexico, Egypt, Turkey, Kenya, Pakistan . . .

NATO formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan after over 13 years of operation, although some NATO and American troops will remain to train the Afghanistan National Security Forces in the ongoing conflict with the Taliban. But separate suicide bomb attacks around Kabul suggest continued security concerns in Afghanistan.

Violence is intensifying in Nigeria, as can be seen in a map produced by the Council on Foreign Relations. With continuing hostilities, local vigilantes are intervening to prevent attacks on their communities. Boko Haram’s increasing attacks and escalating brutality in Nigeria even led NBC to compare it to the Islamic State (IS).

Around the Web

Does IHL Apply to Cyber Attacks? Although North Korea has described the upcoming Sony film, “The Interview,” as an “act of war,” the government continues to assert its non-involvement in the recent cyber attacks on Sony. However, as new means and methods of warfare develop, cyber espionage and cyber attacks conducted by cyber armies may invoke the application of IHL.

New Uses for Drones? We frequently talk about drones in terms of targeted military attacks, terrorist attacks, or spying. And the use of drones then leads to important conversations on whether drone warfare is acceptable. But there are also many creative uses for drones, like preventing wildlife poaching, delivering humanitarian aid, and even painting!

Myanmar. While Myanmar may be the “Destination of the Year,” the country continues to struggle with armed conflict, sexual violence, and human rights violations. Many reforms aim to improve the historically repressive government, however, certain conditions—like constitutional protections to prevent members of the military from criminal prosecution—suggest that democratic development is a continuing process.

On the Blog

Prosecuting War Crimes in Iraq and Syria. International criminal law punishes those that violate IHL during armed conflict, however, there are some limitations on prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Read up on the jurisdictional challenges the ICC may face when charging individuals in Iraq and Syria with war crimes.

Domestic Jurisdiction and IHL. A response to the post on Opinio Juris last week about al Warafi v. Obama, suggests that domestic misunderstanding of IHL may actually be more pronounced based on how the court classified the conflict. Check out our own Eric Sigmund as he discusses whether the situation in Afghanistan qualified as an international or non-international armed conflict and what that would mean for al Warafi.

Feedback! We want to know what you want to read about on our blog! Leave us a comment below and we’ll make sure that our posts are covering the IHL topics that interest you the most.


*Inclusion in our “Weekly IHL Update” does not mean that the American Red Cross endorses or agrees with the views and opinions expressed.*

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