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).