Episode 25 – Aslı Bâli on Economic Sanctions and the Laws of War

In the last episode of Season 2, I speak with Aslı Bâli, Professor of Law at UCLA in the United States, and Co-Director of the Middle East Division of Human Rights Watch, among other things. She specializes in both international law as it relates to armed conflict and human rights, and on comparative constitutional law with a focus on the Middle East. We discuss the lawfulness of comprehensive autonomous economic sanctions, and the relationship they may have with the various regimes that govern the use of force and armed conflict. Economic sanctions are often viewed as a legitimate and effective alternative to the use of force in international relations. Yet comprehensive sanctions can and do cause the kind of humanitarian harm and economic disruption that in other circumstances could be unlawful under IHL, or constitute a use of force if caused by cyber operations or even naval blockade, and they are potentially in violation of human rights law. So aside from the ethical and strategic questions that they pose, economic sanctions raise legal issues, including issues at the intersection with the laws of war—which we explore in a fascinating conversation!

Materials:

– “Sanctions are Inhumane – Now , and Always,” The Boston Review, Mar. 26, 2020.

– Dapo Akande, Payam Akhavan, and Eirik Bjorge, “Economic Sanctions, International Law, and Crimes Against Humanity: Venezuela’s Referral to the International Criminal Court,American Journal of International Law, Apr. 29, 2021.

Recommended Reading:

– Joy Gordon, Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions (2010).

– Alex de Waal, Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine (2018).

– Nicholas Mulder and Boyd van Dijk, “Why Did Starvation Not Become the Paradigmatic War Crime in International Law?” in Ingo Venzke and Kevin Jon Heller eds., Contingency in International Law (2021).

– Tom Dannenbaum, “Encirclement, Deprivation, and Humanity: Revising the San Remo Manual Provisions on Blockade,” 97 International Law Studies 307 (2021).

Episode 24 – Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji on the ICC, the Concept of “Attack,” and More

In this episode, I speak with Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, Judge and President of the ICC until he stepped down earlier this year. He served as Judge on the ICC for almost ten years, and was President of the Court for three. Prior to that he was Legal Advisor to the UNHCR, and before that, a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Orignally from Nigera, Judge Eboe-Osuji is a Canadian, and he practiced law in Toronto prior to his international law career. He is soon to take up a new position at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Ryerson University in Toronto. In our conversation Judge Eboe-Osuji reflects on his role in the development of the ICC, and some of the criticisms of the Court, before turning to a more detailed discussion of the meaning of term “directing attacks” in the Rome Statute, through the lens of the Ntaganda case. This leads to a discussion of the relationship between so-called Hague Law and Geneva Law in IHL, and between war crimes and crimes against humanity within the Rome Statute, all within the context of the object and purpose of IHL, and the need for intelligibility and accessibility as a fundamental component of the rule of law – fascinating discussion!

Materials:

The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda, Appeal Chamber Decision, Mar. 30, 2021.

The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda, Trial Chamber Decision, Jul 28, 2019.

– Abhimanyu George Jain, “The Ntaganda Appeal Judgement and the Meaning of “Attack” in the Conduct of Hostilities War Crimes,” EJILTalk!, Apr. 2, 2021.

– Ronald Acala and Sasha Radin, “Symposium Intro: The ICC Considers the Definition of ‘Attack.'” Articles of War, Oct. 27, 2020.

Reading Recommendations:

– Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View (1969).

– Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: The Banality of Evil (1963).

– Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017).

Episode 23 – The Gaza Conflict

In this episode I discuss the legal issues raised in the Gaza conflict of May 2021, with Professors Janina Dill of the University of Oxford, Adil Haque of Rutgers University Law School, and Aurel Sari of Exeter University Law School. The discussion begins by placing the legal issues in context, and addressing the question of whether the narrow focus on technical legal aspects may serve to obscure the broader ethical issues, or even facilitate and legitimate injustice. The analysis turns to the the questions regarding the legal authority or justification for Israel’s use of force, and whether its use of force complies with the limiting principles of whichever legal regime may govern. Turning to the conduct of hostilities, and using the attack on the Al Jalaa Tower (which housed Al Jazeera and AP) as a case study, we discuss the extent to which IDF actions complied with the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precautions in attack, debate the legal effect of warnings, and what burden there may be on belligerents to disclose evidence in support of their claims of lawfulness. A deep and sophisticated analysis of the issues.

Materials:

– Adil Haque, “The IDF’s Unlawful Attack on Al Jalaa Tower,” Just Security, May 27, 2021.

– Aurel Sari, “Israeli Attacks on Gaza’s Tower Blocks,” Articles of War, May 17, 2021.

Recommended Reading:

– Ayel Gross, “The 2021 Gaza War and the Limits of International Humanitarian Law,” Just Security, Jun. 1, 2021.

– Eliav Lieblich, “Dispatch from Israel on Human Shields: What I Should’ve Said to a Dad on the Playground,” Just Security, May 18, 2021.

– Noam Lubell and Amichai Cohen, “Strategic Proportionality: Limitations on the Use of Force in Modern Armed Conflicts,” 96 International Law Studies 160 (2020).

Episode 22 – Srinivas Burra on India’s Apparent Shift on Self-Defense

In this episode, I speak with Srinivas Burra, professor of law at South Asian University, Faculty of Legal Studies, in New Delhi, India. Srinivas has written extensively on both jus ad bellum and international humanitarian law, often with a focus on India’s practice and position in relation to these legal regimes. We discuss first how India’s position regarding the doctrine of self-defense, as indicated in statements in the recent Arria-formula meeting of the U.N. Security Council, appears to have shifted quite significantly as compared to the posture it adopted in the context of strikes against non-state actors within Pakistan in 2016 and 2019. Srinivas interprets the recent statements to suggest that India accepts both anticipatory self-defense and self-defense against non-state actors, but surprisingly, views its rejection of the “unwilling or unable” doctrine as taking a more expansive and aggressive posture than that doctrine allows when it comes to defending against non-state actors in non-consenting states. Turning to international humanitarian law, we discuss why India has continued to hold out against ratifying the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions. Another fascinating discussion!

Materials:

– “India’s Decisive Turn on the Right to Self-Defence,” Opinio Juris, Mar. 22, 2021.

– “Use of Force as Self Defence against Non-State Actors and TWAIL Considerations: A Critical Analysis of India’s State Practice,” 24 Asian Yearbook of International Law (2018).

– “India’s Strange Position on the Additional Protocols of 1977,” EJILTalk!, Feb. 15, 2019.

Recommended Reading:

– B. S. Chimni, “The Articles on State Responsibility and the Guiding Principles of Shared Responsibility: A TWAIL Perspective,” 31 European Journal of International Law, volume 1211 (2020).

– Ntina Tzouvala, “TWAIL and the “Unwilling or Unable” Doctrine: Continuities and Ruptures,” 109 American Journal of International Law: Unbound  266 (2015).

– Frédéric Mégret, “From ‘Savages’ to ‘Unlawful Combatants’: A Postcolonial Look at International Humanitarian Law’s ‘Other’, in Anne Orford, ed., International Law and its Others, (2006).

Episode 21 – Yasuyuki Yoshida on Japanese Perspectives on the Jus ad Bellum Regime

In this episode I speak with Yasuyuki Yoshida, Professor of International Law at Takaoka University in Toyama Japan, and former Captain(N) in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force. We discuss Japan’s posture on various aspects of the jus ad bellum regime, and whether or how its position may have changed as a result of the “reinterpretation” of Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan. Article 9 famously renounces the threat or use of force, and has long been understood to prohibit any collective self-defense or use of force authorized by the UN Security Council, but in 2014 the government purported to “reinterpret” the provision to relax its constraints. We discuss how the new policy relates to the jus ad bellum, and what Japan’s position is on a number of the more controversial elements of the doctrine of self-defense. The discussion includes surprising insights on how Japan would view a Chinese incursion on the Senkaku Islands, whether Japan would help defend Taiwan, and whether the US could invoke collective self-defense of Japan for preemptive strikes on North Korea. Another fascinating conversation!

Materials:

Cabinet Decision on Development of Seamless Security Legislation to Ensure Japan’s Survival and Protect its People, July 1, 2014.

Reading Recommendation:

– Sheila Smith, Japan Rearmed: The Politics of Military Power (2019).

Episode 20 – Rebecca Ingber on Legally Sliding into War

In this episode I speak with Rebecca Ingber, Professor of Law at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law, and formerly a lawyer in the Office of Legal Advisor in the U.S. Department of State. We discuss a recent essay in which Rebecca examines how international and domestic law operate together to facilitate the incremental moves by which the U.S. initiates, expands, and extends armed conflicts. The process involves legal justifications and rationales for each step towards war, with legal interpretations that, while made in good faith, are often strained and even beyond the pale. What is more, Congress and the courts tend to look to the international law principles as limitations on executive branch conduct, but then there is little check on how the executive branch lawyers interpret and expands such principles — and all of this focus on legal justification displaces a necessary and deeper policy analysis of the reasons for engaging in armed conflict. In exploring these issues, we also talk about whether legal scholars are fulfilling their role of keeping the government honest in its interpretation of international law, where exactly within the government such decisions get made, and why and how different areas of law get conflated and confused in the justifications for war!

Materials:

– “Legally Sliding Into War,” Just Security, Mar. 15, 2021.

– “International Law as Executive Power,” 57 Harvard Int’l Law J. (2016).

Recommended Reading:

– David Luban, “Complicity and Lesser Evils: A Tale of Two Lawyers,” Georgetown J. Legal Ethics, (forthcoming, 2021).

– Monica Hakimi, “The Jus ad Bellum‘s Regulatory Form,” 112 American J. Int’l L. 151 (2018) [See Episode 6!].

– E. M. Forester, The Machine Stops (1909).

Episode 19 – Sarah Holewinski on the Mitigation of Harm to Civilians in Armed Conflict

In this episode I speak with Sarah Holewinski, the Washington Director at Human Rights Watch, and formerly the Director of CIVIC (Civilians in Conflict). In between those two roles she served under then U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, and as special advisor on human rights in the Chairman’s Office of the Joint Staff in the Department of Defense. We begin by discussing an essay Sarah published in Foreign Affairs in 2013, in which she argued that the U.S. could do much more to mitigate harm to civilians in the armed conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that it had ethical and strategically self-interested reasons for doing so. She revisited the issue in a very recent blog post in Just Security, in which she argued that little has changed. Drawing on her experience in the Pentagon, we explore how and why the U.S. has failed to establish either formal policy or leadership positions within DoD to ensure greater protection for civilians; as well as why there is a tendency in the military to deny any and all claims of civilian harm, and a general failure to adequately investigate such claims or accept outside evidence in support of them. Finally, we discuss a simulation that she designed which revealed a rather disturbing tendency on the part of government officials to take positions on issues that they think are expected of their role, rather than positions that they personally think are right.

Materials:

– “The Progress Not Made on Protecting Civilians,” Just Security, Feb. 2, 2021.

– “Do Less Harm,” Foreign Affairs, Jan./Feb. 2013.

Reading Recommendations:

– Hugo Slim, Killing Civilians: Method, Madness, and Morality in War (2010).

– Jessica Mathews, “Present at the Re-Creation? American Foreign Policy Must be Remade, Not Restored,” Foreign Affairs, Mar./Apr., 2021.

– The DSR Network, Deep State Radio – Podcast.

Episode 18 – Mary Ellen O’Connell on the Invalidity of Imminence

In this episode, I speak with Mary Ellen O’Connell, the Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School. We discuss her recent focus on that the concept of “imminence” and the doctrine of self-defense in international law, through the lens of the killing of Iranian General Qassim Soleimani. Starting with just war theory and the natural law foundations of international law, right through to the text and intent of the UN Charter and current state practice, O’Connell argues that anticipatory self-defense is not lawful, that the concept of imminence has no place in the doctrine of self-defense, and moreover that it has undermined the narrow exceptions to the prohibition on the use of force. In doing so, however, she makes a broader argument that our approach to security must be more holistic and comprehensive, and it should reject the purely realist and positivist assumptions that have driven recent policy.

Materials:

– “The Illusory Standard of Imminence in the International Law of Self-Defense: The Killing of Qassim Soleimani” (unpublished, SSRN)(2021).

Reading Recommendations:

– Christine Gray, International Law and the Use of Force (4th ed., 2018).

– Olivier Corten, The Against War: The Prohibition on the Use of Force in Contemporary International Law (2nd ed., 2021).

– Judith Gardam, Necessity, Proportionality and the Use of Force by States (2004).

Episode 17 – Nessa Interviews Martin on Climate Change and the Jus ad Bellum Regime

In this episode, I relinquish the hosting to  Jasmin Johrun Nessa of Liverpool University Law School, and she interviews me on my recent work on how the climate change crisis may implicate the jus ad bellum regime. Jasmin is finishing up her doctorate on the doctrine of self-defense in jus ad bellum, and teaching international law among other things, at Liverpool Law School. She is also a co-general editor of the Journal on the Use of Force and International Law’s “Digest of State Practice.” We discuss my recent article on the climate change crisis and the jus ad bellum regime, in which I argue that as the climate change crisis deepens, and not only the consequences but the causes of climate change are viewed as threats to both national security and international peace and security, there will be pressure to relax the jus ad bellum regime to allow for the threat or use of force against “climate rogue states.” This will include a relaxation of the conditions for permissible self-defense, as we have seen in response to other novel threats, and pressure for a new exception to the prohibition on the use of force, along the lines of humanitarian intervention. I suggest that these arguments will be persuasive but dangerous, not only increasing the likelihood and incidence of war, but also being counterproductive to the climate change crisis effort itself — and so we must begin to discuss the issues now, and contemplate how to resist such developments, before the pressure mounts.

Materials:

– “Atmospheric Intervention: The Climate Change Crisis and the Jus ad Bellum Regime,” 45 Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 331 (2020).

Recommended Reading:

– Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro, The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World (2017).

– John Fabian Witt, Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History (2012).

– Ray Moore and Donald Robinson, Partners for Democracy: Crafting the New Japanese State Under MacArthur (2002).

Episode 16 – Terry Gill on the Use of Force Against Non-State Actors

In this episode, I speak with Terry Gill, the Professor of Military Law at the University of Amsterdam, Center for International Law, and the Netherlands Defence Academy, and also the Director of the Netherlands Research Forum on the Law of Armed Conflict and Military Operations (LACMO). We discuss his recent article (co-authored with Kinga Tibori-Szabó) on the use of force against non-state actors (NSAs) within the territory of states that that are not substantially involved with, or exercising significant control over, the NSA, but which also do not consent to the use of force against the NSA within their territory – a familiar but still hot subject of ongoing debate. Terry explains why a strict understanding of the principle of necessity should be at the center of the analysis of these issues, and thus offers some perspectives on the so-called unwilling or unable doctrine that are quite different from others who support the right to use force against NSAs. We also revisit his much earlier work on the Nicaragua v. USA judgment of the ICJ, and how its formulation of attribution should be understood in this context.

Materials:

“Twelve Key Questions on Self-Defense Against Non-State Actors,” 95 International Law Studies 468 (2019) (with Kinga Tibori-Szabó).

Reading Recommendations:

– Kinga Tibori-Szabó, Anticipatory Action in Self-Defence (2011).

– Sir Humphrey M. Waldock, “The Regulation of the Use of Force by Individual States in International Law,” 81 Hague Academy of International Law Lectures (1962).

– Jack Vance, Suldrun’s Garden: Lyonesse Trilogy Vol. 1 (1982).