The 2011 Intervention in Libya: Consequences of Enacting the ‘R2P’

Demonstrators with the Kingdom of Libya flag in Benghazi on February 28, 2011 (Picture: Tiago Petinga/EPA)
Demonstrators with the Kingdom of Libya flag in Benghazi on February 28, 2011 (Picture: Tiago Petinga/EPA)

Author: Louisa H. Poulsen - Edited by: Michael R. Zieniewicz and Giacomo Toffanello

The international intervention in Libya in 2011 was initially proclaimed to be a success and a model for future Western interventions, specifically because long-term dictator Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown. However, now four years later, the situation in Libya is far from stable with various armed groupings challenging the authority of the central government. Often considered in relation to the on-going civil war in Syria, scrutinising the Libyan case is as relevant as ever. In this article, Louisa H. Poulsen, a Master’s student in International Security and Law, will revisit the legal and political aspects of the 2011 intervention, and will discuss to what extent the intervention might set a precedent for future similar actions.

Continue reading “The 2011 Intervention in Libya: Consequences of Enacting the ‘R2P’”

Defining Terrorism: One Man’s Terrorist is Another Man’s Freedom Fighter

Finding a Definition: Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary entry on terrorism. (PHOTO: David Metz).
Finding a Definition: Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary entry on terrorism. (PHOTO: David Metz).

Author: David Metz - Edited by: Giacomo Toffanello

When discussing terrorism, everyone seems to have a clear image of terrorists and what they do. However, devising a generally accepted definition that meets the requirements of use in jurisprudence has proven to be rather difficult. Moreover, the changing face of terror over the centuries and the national interests of states further complicate matters. This article by David Metz, Master student in International Security and Law, seeks to offer an overview of the issues involved in finding a universally accepted legal definition of the term “terrorism” and suggests a way forward.

Continue reading “Defining Terrorism: One Man’s Terrorist is Another Man’s Freedom Fighter”

The Use of Human Shields in International Armed Conflicts

Dangerous and invisible: A little boy stands on a military pickup outside the Daymarudi camp just outside Mogadishu. (Photo: REUTERS)
Dangerous and invisible: A little boy stands on a military pickup outside the Daymarudi camp just outside Mogadishu. (Photo: REUTERS)

Author: Irnela Silnović - Edited by: Michael R. Zieniewicz and Giacomo Toffanello

Discrimination has a special place in International Humanitarian Law; unfortunately, though, the determination of whether a person is a combatant or a civilian, crucial to understand his targetability under the Laws of Armed Conflict, is not always clear. Moreover, the use of human shields makes the situation even blurrier. Civilian life is to be spared whenever possible, making the judgement difficult of whether attacking a military goal is legal when shielded by a civilian. In this legal analysis Irnela Silnović, Master student in International Security and Law, seeks to investigate the legal status of human shields and whether human shields should merely be seen as collateral damage in an armed conflict.

Continue reading “The Use of Human Shields in International Armed Conflicts”

The legality of Barrel Bombs: A short analysis

Deadly Blasts Rip Through Aleppo, Syria (by Robert Riches on November 14, 2012 via The Loquitur)

Author: Johannes Sender

The topic of specific weapons, not being weapons of mass destruction, get little coverage in popular media. In the past years, especially under the influence of the on-going civil war in Syria, one kind of weapon appears more regularly in international media: the so-called barrel bombs, often used by the Syrian armed forces of Bashar Hafez al-Assad. This article written by Johannes Sender, Master’s Student in International Security and Law,  will provide a short analysis of barrel bombs under International Humanitarian Law (IHL), including what has to be considered for a potential legal or illegal use.

Continue reading “The legality of Barrel Bombs: A short analysis”

The concept of Self-Defence against non-State Actors in International Law and the “Unwilling or Unable” Doctrine

Thick smoke from an airstrike by the US-led coalition rises in Kobani, Syria, as seen from a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Thick smoke, from an airstrike by the US-led coalition against ISIL militants, rises in Kobani, Syria, on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Author: Giacomo Toffanello

Over the last fifteen years, self-defence has been increasingly used by several governments as a justification to militarily intervene within the sovereignty of another state, especially to target non-state actors such as rebel groups or terrorist organisations; but how can these interventions cope with the prohibition of the use of force stated in the UN Charter? In this article Giacomo Toffanello, a Master’s Student in International Security and Law, will try to answer this question and to give a clearer picture of the legal framework that governs Self-Defence against Non-State Actors.

Continue reading “The concept of Self-Defence against non-State Actors in International Law and the “Unwilling or Unable” Doctrine”

Russia’s application of the Protection of Nationals Doctrine in Crimea in 2014

“Little Green Men” appearing in the streets of Simferopol, Crimea (Photo: AFP/GETTY)

Author: Michael R. Zieniewicz

Does Moscow have the right to intervene in other states in order to protect Russian speaking populations? Does the controversial doctrine of Protection of Nationals Abroad (PoN) really exist? In this article master’s student in International Security and Law, Michael R. Zieniewicz, examines whether international law leaves any space for the doctrine and whether the PoN has any place in the future of international relations.

Continue reading “Russia’s application of the Protection of Nationals Doctrine in Crimea in 2014”