Our blog mini-series, co-hosted with the ICRC, wraps up with a post by Associate Professor Rob McLaughlin, Co-Director of the ANU Centre for Military and Security Law. Dr McLaughlin shares his reflections on common article 2 and the important question of when IHL must be applied.
In March, the ICRC released an updated Commentary on the First Geneva Convention of 1949. This is the first instalment of six new commentaries aimed at bringing the interpretation of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977 to the 21st century. In this blog mini-series co-hosted with the ICRC, three authors will share their perspective on some of the fundamental obligations enshrined in the Geneva Conventions and the evolution of the application and interpretation of these important provisions.
Jean-Marie Henckaerts, ICRC’s Head of the Commentaries Update project, kicks off the mini-series with an examination of why the commitment by States to respect and ensure respect for IHL is more than just a “loose pledge”, and what measures States can take to fulfil this obligation.
“[D]estroying the mausoleums, to which the people of Timbuktu had an emotional attachment, was a war activity aimed at breaking the soul of the people of Timbuktu.” – (Witness P-431)
Last year, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture found that Australia’s offshore processing system of asylum seekers violates the international convention prohibiting torture.
In the post-9/11 zeitgeist, the ever-present fear of terrorism has reignited debate regarding whether a State has the right of self-defence against attacks by non-State actors. As Australia targets non-State actors such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda fighters in self-defence, the legality of such actions in international law must be questioned.
Whilst many dream of claiming their own island slice of paradise, few would have ever done so with the same verve as Alexander Francis Ure. In 1970, Ure claimed the islands of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs — some 80 miles north of Lord Howe Island — in order to exploit the substantial hydrocarbon deposits he believed to lie beneath.
On 11 September 2001, 3000 people were killed in co-ordinated terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.