By Belachew Mekuria Fikre, Addis Ababa University Centre for Human Rights

It was very enlightening to read Terrence Lyons’ Article titled ‘Conflict-generated diaspora and transnational politics in Ethiopia.’ This is interesting partly because of the recent events in the country that have raised high levels of optimism and hope. These events, however, have been greeted with multiple feelings by the ‘locals’ and the ‘non-locals’, by those ‘fighting within’ and those ‘firing from afar.’ The scientific research findings suggest, as also alluded to by Terrence, that because of their traumatic past, the conflict-generated diaspora remain unflinching to compromise and usually demand for radical changes. This rigidity tends to protract conflicts, where they exist, or antagonise an already emboldened dictatorial regime. Read the rest of this entry »

By Jasper Doomen, Lecturer in Law, Leiden University

Enforcement is a crucial aspect of legislation. Once international legislation is inquired with this in mind, one is faced with several difficulties. One particular issue that merits attention is the meaning of the rules that parties are supposed to take into consideration in a state of war.

A traditional way to characterize the norms that govern the laws of war is that between ‘ius ad bellum’ (the right to engage in war) and ‘ius inbello’ (the law of armed conflict, i.e., the right which applies in a state of war). At first sight, these notions may seem unproblematic, at least semantically, as they would simply seem to refer to the rules that determine, respectively, the circumstances under which one is absolved from the accusation of belligerence and those that stipulate how one should act once a state of war is a reality. Serious problems emerge, however, once the status of these rules is critically examined.

In qualifying certain acts as conflicting with ‘ius inbello’, one wonders to what such a phrase amounts. ‘Ius in bello’ implies the possibility to judge whether the rules in a state of war have actually been observed, which, in turn, implies the existence of an authority that is to act as the court of justice. The problems with such a stance are twofold.

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By Dr Juan Garcia Blesa

Among all the legal questions posed by the Iraq Inquiry, the one that most urgently needs an answer relates to the way international lawyers should look at the interpretation of the purported legal basis used by the UK to attack and invade another sovereign state in 2003.

With regard to this critical issue, the different legal approaches to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions should be assessed by previously revisiting their legal nature as exceptions to a fundamental international rule.

This note was recently used for the purpose of the Surrey International Law Centre (SILC) submission to the Iraq Inquiry on the correct approach to the interpretation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions relevant to the UK’s military intervention against Iraq. The full document is available here.

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