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International Humanitarian Law

Defending Israel's Attacks on Civilians -- A Harbinger for Clinton's Presidency?

Stephen Zunes | Posted 06.01.2016 | Politics
Stephen Zunes

A fight is brewing as Democrats prepare to debate U.S. policy on Israel at their national convention in July. Bernie Sanders' appointees to the platform committee Cornel West and James Zogby plan to challenge the party establishment's uncritical support for Israel.

Should Israel Flatten Beirut -- Again?

Halim Shebaya | Posted 02.29.2016 | World
Halim Shebaya

Flattening Beirut has been done before. Flattening Gaza has been done before. And both may be done again if Israel's license to kill with impunity is left unchecked.

Stigmatize and Prohibit: New UN Talks on Nuclear Weapons Start Today

Beatrice Fihn | Posted 02.21.2016 | World
Beatrice Fihn

By stigmatizing nuclear weapons -- declaring them unacceptable and immoral for all -- the international community can start demanding and pressuring the nuclear-armed states and their military alliances to deliver what they've actually promised: a world free of nuclear weapons.

Hillary Clinton's strident opposition to the International Criminal Court

Stephen Zunes | Posted 01.19.2017 | Politics
Stephen Zunes

This article originally appeared in NCR Today, January 18, 2016 Supporters of international law have expressed consternation that the leading candid...

Stop the New Arms Race Before It's Too Late

Beatrice Fihn | Posted 01.06.2017 | Politics
Beatrice Fihn

If nuclear war happened today, it wouldn't be two blocks of states challenging each other in a deadly arms race, but also the "new kids on the nuclear block," such as India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

Republican Candidates Defend Killing Civilians to Fight Terrorism -- and so do Democrats

Stephen Zunes | Posted 12.31.2016 | Politics
Stephen Zunes

For a number of years now, prominent Democrats have also been advocating very dangerous ideas, with Democratic leaders also defending the large-scale killing of civilians in the name of "fighting terrorism."

A Silent Battle of Power

Beatrice Fihn | Posted 11.09.2016 | Politics
Beatrice Fihn

The United Nations General Assembly adopts countless resolutions on nuclear weapons, every year. But this year something was different. At the UN headquarters in New York, a significant battle over nuclear weapons took place.

Where Is the Humanity?

Ban Ki-moon | Posted 10.31.2016 | Politics
Ban Ki-moon

Protecting civilians in wartime is a cornerstone of the international system and the United Nations. Indifference will only make our world far less secure. Our continued failure to act is a disgrace and a stain on the conscience of the world. Even war has rules; it is time to enforce them.

Medical Treatment by Brute Force

M. Gregg Bloche, M.D., J.D. | Posted 01.31.2015 | Politics
M. Gregg Bloche, M.D., J.D.

Force-feeding started at Guantanamo in response to fear that self-starving captives would stir anti-American ire. It would be ironic were this response itself to rouse worldwide outrage, making allies less likely to collaborate with us and stiffening our enemies' resolve.

150 Years After the First Geneva Convention, Switzerland and the ICRC Call for Greater Respect for International Humanitarian Law

Didier Burkhalter | Posted 10.23.2014 | Politics
Didier Burkhalter

150 years ago to the day, the first Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field was adopted, declaring that even in times of war, a certain degree of humanity must be preserved. We are now calling for stricter compliance with this principle.

While Syria Burns

Donna McKay | Posted 09.16.2014 | World
Donna McKay

More than three years after peaceful protests were met with deadly force by security forces and the situation devolved into a civil war, the suffering of Syrians across the political spectrum has been prolonged because politics trumped peace and security, impunity prevailed over justice, and a system of international governance and its leadership failed.

Tensions Rise Between the United States and Sri Lanka Over Human Rights

Ronak D. Desai | Posted 04.28.2014 | Politics
Ronak D. Desai

Allowing these war crimes allegations to go unaddressed would undermine important international legal norms while rendering true reconciliation in the country an even more remote prospect.

Killer Robots and the Rule of Law

A View from the United Nations | Posted 09.14.2013 | World
A View from the United Nations

By Angela Kane United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs A new type of arms race is underway and its outcome will shape the future o...

What America Can Learn From El Salvador in Ending Gang Violence

Rep. Mike Honda | Posted 03.05.2013 | Politics
Rep. Mike Honda

Earlier this year the government in El Salvador negotiated a groundbreaking deal with the Salvadoran MS-13 and a rival gang, Calle-18. In a bold move, mediators in El Salvador essentially extended the framework of humanitarian engagement to gang warfare.

GIs Welcome, Or Welcome to Leave?

Frank Jannuzi | Posted 12.25.2012 | World
Frank Jannuzi

What Senators Biden and McCain understood in 1995 is still true today: the overall effectiveness of U.S. troops depends not only on their skill at arms, but also upon their sense of honor and their respect for human rights.

Nuclear Insecurity

Helen Young | Posted 11.12.2012 | Crime
Helen Young

Sister Megan Rice, the 82-year-old Roman Catholic nun under federal indictment for what the New York Times recently called "the biggest security breach in the nation's atomic complex" is facing some stiff prison time: up to 16 years. But it's not a fact she's dwelling on.

Peace vs. Justice: The Diminishing Importance of Diplomacy with the Emergence of International Justice

Kip Hale | Posted 09.01.2012 | World
Kip Hale

While the case-by-case circumstances of each conflict always matters, the question remains what standard playbook should the global community employ when confronted with the mass perpetration of international crimes?

ICC Turns Ten: A Measure of Justice

Kip Hale | Posted 07.30.2012 | World
Kip Hale

In this tenth year of the ICC, it is an appropriate time to take stock of the Court's progress in its primary mission: end impunity through the just rule of law.

The Road to Effective PMC Regulation Is Pitted With Good Intentions

David Isenberg | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
David Isenberg

A governance gap (i.e. absence of national or international accountability) has emerged whereby PMCs are increasingly violating international humanitarian law ("IHL") and are rarely being held accountable.

Thinking Outside the Nationalist Box: PMC and International Humanitarian Law

David Isenberg | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
David Isenberg

It may be hard to believe, given all the attention paid to the issue of legal accountability of private military contractors in recent years that ther...

Cluster Bombs Treaty becomes int'l law: Years of campaigning reap results

Louis Belanger | Posted 05.25.2011 | World
Louis Belanger

By Anna MacDonald - Head of Oxfam's Control Arms Campaign Treaties take a long time to develop and negotiate. The ones being negotiated under the hel...

Human rights abusers put on notice as States move closer to arms trade deal

Louis Belanger | Posted 05.25.2011 | World
Louis Belanger

Civil society says treaty must be "bulletproof" to protect lives Diplomats emerged Friday (July 23) after spending half of the time allocated for the...

Fitting a Square PMC Into a Round IHL

David Isenberg | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
David Isenberg

As I have noted previously, trying to apply International Humanitarian law (IHL) to private contractors is often extremely difficult. There is, of c...

Narrowing PMC Legal Ambiguity

David Isenberg | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
David Isenberg

For many years both supporters and critics of private military and security contractors have agreed that PMC legal status is ambiguous. As they are ne...

Drones Use Smaller Bombs But Still Raise Big Concerns for Civilians

Chris Rogers | Posted 05.25.2011 | World
Chris Rogers

Efforts to minimize civilian casualties by any warring party are welcome. But we must not make the mistake of thinking technology is a substitute for transparency and accountability.