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 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 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.

Season 2: Episode 15 – Michael Schmitt on Cyber Ops and the Laws of War

In this episode, the first of “Season 2”, I speak with Michael Schmitt, who is, among other things, Professor of International Law at the University of Reading, Francis Lieber Distinguished Scholar at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and Charles H. Stockton Distinguished Scholar at the US Naval War College.  He is also the Director of the International Group of Experts responsible for the Tallinn Manual 2.0 On the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations. We discuss the development of the Tallinn Manual, the reasons for a 3.0 that is currently underway, and the implications and significance of recent state declarations and statements on their understanding of how the jus ad bellum and IHL regimes apply to cyber operations. We also grapple with some of the difficult issues that arise in trying to apply these legal regimes to cyber ops, and, more importantly, how efforts to do so may threaten the integrity of the legal regimes themselves. Both a wonderful introduction for the uninitiated to how the laws of war apply to cyber ops, and a fascinating discussion of some of the more knotty questions for the experts.

Materials:

Tallinn Manual 2.0 On the International Law Applicable to Cyber Operations (2017).

“Israel’s Cautious Perspective on International Law in Cyberspace: Part II (jus ad bellum and jus in bello),” EJILTalk!, Dec. 17, 2020.

“France Speaks Out on IHL and Cyber Operations: (Parts I & II),” EJILTalk!, Oct. 1, 2019.

Reading Recommendations:

– Israel Ministry of Justice, “Israel’s Perspective on Key Legal and Practical Issues Concerning the Application of International Law on Cyber Operations,” 97 International Law Studies (2021).

– Ministère des Armées, Republique Français, International Law Applied to Operations in Cyberspace, Oct. 2019.

– Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of the Netherlands, Letter to the Parliament on the International Legal Order in Cyberspace (with Annexes), Jul. 5 , 2019.

Episode 13 – Douglas Guilfoyle on the Australian Inquiry into War Crimes in Afghanistan

In this episode, I speak with Douglas Guilfoyle, Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales, Canberra, in Australia. We discuss the recent report of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force on his investigation into war crimes – including murder and cruel treatment of civilians and detainees – alleged to have been committed by members of the Australian Special Forces deployed in Afghanistan. We discuss the impetus for the investigation, the nature of the findings and recommendations, and explore in some detail the report’s treatment of the issue of command responsibility, and its finding that no officers had sufficient knowledge of the misconduct so as to attract criminal liability. This includes a discussion of how the provisions on command responsibility in the Rome Statute were subtly but perhaps significantly adjusted when implemented in the Australian Criminal Code. This leads to the question of what influence the principle of complimentarity and possible ICC involvement may have had in shaping the government’s handling of the issues. Finally we discuss some of the structural, organizational, and cultural features of the Australian forces in Afghanistan that were said to have contributed to the unlawful conduct.

Materials:

“Australian War Crimes in Afghanistan: The Brereton Report,” EJILTalk!, Nov. 23, 2020.

– The Hon. PLG Brereton, Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry Report, Oct. 29, 2020.

– Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, “The Afghan Files,” The ABC, Jul. 10, 2017.

Reading Recommendations:

– Monique Cormier, The Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over Nationals of Non-State Parties, (2020).

– Jessie Hohmann and Daniel Joyce, eds., International Law’s Objects, (2019).

– Thomas Rid, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare, (2020).

Episode 11 – Catherine O’Rourke on the Rights of Women in Armed Conflict

In this episode, I speak with Catherine O’Rourke, Senior Lecturer in Human Rights and International Law, and Gender Research Coordinator at the Transitional Justice Institute, at Ulster University School of Law, Northern Ireland. We discuss her very recent book, The Rights of Women in Armed Conflict Under International Law, which examines the manner in which four specific regimes — IHL, international criminal law, human rights law, and the UN Security Council — have interacted in relation to the rights of women in armed conflict, not only in theoretical and doctrinal terms, but also in very practical terms on the ground in the armed conflicts in Colombia, Nepal, and the DRC. There are some surprises in terms of which regimes are strongest, and which institutions most effective, in protecting women’s rights. We discuss both the synergies and the conflicts among the different regimes, assessing how the various regimes fall short in protecting women’s rights, and ultimately, whether the multiplicity of regimes and fragmentation of law is, on balance, a benefit or an obstacle to the protection of women’s rights in armed conflict. Another fascinating discussion that will likely leave listeners clamoring for the book!

Materials:

The Rights of Women in Armed Conflict Under International Law (2020).

– “‘Geneva Convention III Commentary’ What Significance for Women’s Rights?” Just Security, Oct. 21, 2020.

Reading Recommendations:

– Gina Heathcote, Feminist Dialogues on International Law (2019).

– Judith Gardam, “Feminist Interventions into International Law: A Generation On,” 40 Adelaide Law Review 219 (2019).

– Judith Gardam and Michelle Jarvis, Women, Armed Conflict and International Law, (2001).

Episode 5 – Eric Talbot Jensen on Human Judgment and Autonomous Weapons

In Episode 5, I speak with Eric Talbot Jensen, Professor of Law at BYU Law School. Eric discusses his recent law review article, in which he argues that the law of armed conflict does not require human judgment to be involved in targeting decisions, and that therefore autonomous weapons are not per se unlawful. What is more, he goes further to argue that because autonomous weapons are not unlawful, and may in fact comply with the rules of IHL better than humans, there should be no limitation on the research and development of such weapons. We discuss some of the strong ethical counter-arguments to his position.

Materials:

“The (Erroneous) Requirement for Human Judgment (and Error) in the Law of Armed Conflict,” 96 Int’l L. Stud. 26 (2020).

Reading Recommendations:

– Paul Scharre, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War (2018).

– United States Department of Defense, “Directive No. 3000.09, Autonomy Weapons Systems,” Nov. 1, 2012 (as revised).

– Chris Jenks and Rain Liivoja, “Machine Autonomy and the Constant Care Obligation,” ICRC Humanitarian Law & Policy, Dec. 11, 2018.

Episode 3 – Adil Haque on the Use of Force, Aggression, and Self-Defense

In this episode, I speak with Adil Haque, Professor of Law and Judge Jon O. Newman Scholar at Rutgers Law School. Our discussion focuses primarily on two recent blog posts on Just Security, in which Adil explores the relationship between the use of force, aggression and self-defense. Based on extensive research into the travaux preparatoire for the U.N. Charter, Adil suggests that self-defense is not exactly an exception to the prohibition on the use of force in Art. 2(4) of the Charter, but rather is an exception that only the U.N. Security Council may authorize the use of force to deal with aggression. What is more, self-defense is then understood as being in response to aggression, and that an “armed attack” as used in Art. 51 of the Charter must be understood in these terms. As Adil explains, this both reinforces some of the standard views on self-defense, but also alters and challenges some of those views. It is a conversation that will likely have you questioning your understanding of the relationship! We also briefly discuss his book, Law and Morality at War, at least enough to make you want to read it.

Materials:

“The United Nations Charter at 75: Between Force and Self-Defense – Part One,” Just Security, Jun. 24, 2020.

The United Nations Charter at 75: Between Force and Self-Defense – Part Two,” Just Security, Jun. 24, 2020.

“‘Clearly of Latin American Origin’: Armed Attack by Non-State Actors and the UN Charter,” Just Security, Nov. 5, 2019.

Reading Recommendations:

– Craig Forcese, Destroying the Caroline: The Frontier Raid that Reshaped the Right to War (2018).

– Tadashi Mori, Origins of the Right of Self-Defence in International Law: From the Caroline Incident to the United Nations Charter (2018).

– Janina Dill, “Toward a Moral Division of Labour Between IHL and IHRL during the Conduct of Hostilities,” in Z. Bohrer, J. Dill, & H. Duffy eds, Law Applicable to Armed Conflict (2020).

Episode 1 – An Introduction by Host Craig Martin

I am Craig Martin, the host of this podcast. In this introductory episode, I explain briefly the objectives, scope, and format of the podcast. I also provide an overview of the main legal regimes that comprise “the laws of war,” namely the jus ad bellum and jus in bello regimes – which, respectively, govern the conditions under which states may use force against other states, and govern the conduct of armed forces within armed conflict. I also refer to their relationship with some other regimes that affect armed conflict, including international human rights law, and constitutional war powers provisions in domestic law.

While this episode is aimed primarily at the non-expert, to provide background that may be helpful in understanding the issues raised in subsequent episodes, it also highlights many of the areas of controversy and debate that we will address in episodes to come, and so may be of interest to the expert listeners as well.

Supplementary Material:

I include below some links to my own writing on these issues, as these articles include sections that summarize the legal regimes discussed in this episode, which some may find helpful; and they will also give a sense of where I stand on some of the more controversial issues:

– “Challenging and Refining the “Unwilling or Unable” Doctrine,” 52 Vanderbilt J. Trans. L. 245 (2019).

A Means-Methods Paradox and the Legality of Drone Strikes in Armed Conflict,” 19:2 Int’l J. Human Rights 142 (2015).

Taking War Seriously: The Case for Constitutional Constraints on the Use of Force, in Compliance with International Law,” 76:2  Brooklyn L. Rev. 611 (2011).

The rest of my writing can be found on my webpage.