News Archive 2010-2011

Should the Geneva Conventions apply in the war on terror? Dapo Akande appears on Iconoclasts on BBC Radio 4

Dapo Akande appears on the BBC Radio 4 discussion programme Iconoclasts, challenging established thinking.

Journalist Charlie Wolf argued that the Geneva Convention should not apply to the war against terrorism. His views were debated by a panel which also included Richard Norton-Taylor (Security Editor of The Guardian) and Dr Robert Barnidge (School of Law, University of Reading), and the discussion was chaired by Edward Stourton.

You can listen to the programme again here.

Rights and responsibilities in a post-Qaddafi Libya - Jennifer Welsh blogs on Rountable.

Jennifer Welsh blogs on the responsibilities of the internatinal community in the reconstruction of Libya in the Canadian International Council (CIC) blog Rountable.

You can view Jennifer's latest posts here.

Civilian Protection in Libya: Putting Coercion and Controversy Back into RtoP- Jennifer Welsh writes in Ethics & International Affairs

Jennifer Welsh writes on what the recent international response to the conflict in Libya means for the future implementation of the principle of the responsibility to protect. This article is part of a roundtable analysis on 'Libya, RtoP, and Humanitarian Intervention' published by the journal Ethics & International Affairs.

View the weblink here, or download the article here.

Dapo Akade blogs on the Libyan conflict and tensions between the AU and ICC on EJIL talk

Dapo Akande discusses some of the recent developments in Libya and the troubled relationship between the African Union and the International Criminal Court.

You can read the full text here.

Hugo Slim appointed to Editorial Board of the International Review of the Red Cross

ELAC Visiting Fellow Hugo Slim has recently been appointed to the Editorial Board of the International Review of the Red Cross.

This leading journal aims to promote reflection on humanitarian law, policy and action in armed conflict and other situations of collective armed violence. It endeavours to promote knowledge, critical analysis and development of this law and to contribute to the prevention of violations of rules protecting fundamental rights and values. The Review also offers a forum for discussion on contemporary humanitarian action and for analysis of the causes and characteristics of conflicts so as to give a clearer insight into the humanitarian problems they generate.

The Editorial Board of the Review advises the editorial team on the themes and editorial policy and plays a key role in the peer-review of articles.

You can view the Review website here.

Jennifer Welsh joins the Canadian Roundtable blog on international affairs

Jennifer Welsh has joined a panel of regular contibutors to the Canadian International Council (CIC) blog Rountable. A conversation between four commentators, she will discuss current topical issues in international relations along with Roland Paris, John Hancock and André Pratte.

You can read the latest posts here.

France Admits to Arming Libyan Rebels – Was this Lawful?
Dapo Akande blogs on EJIL talk

Dapo Akande discusses the latest developments in the Libyan conflict and difficult decisions for the international community on EJIL:Talk!, the blog of the European Journal of International Law.

You can read this recent EJIL talk blog piece here

Jennifer Welsh speaks on BBC World service The Forum about the Responsibility to Protect

Jennifer Welsh joined a panel on the BBC World service programme The Forum discussing our obligations to others on an international and individual level. The concept of the 'Responsibility to Protect’ was recently invoked when the UN passed a resolution authorising all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya. But why and how do we choose to intervene in some places but not others? And who should be the protector?

You can listen to the full programme from this link.

How to get Humanitarian Intervention Right: What Libya teaches us about Responsibility to Protect

Dr David Rodin (ELAC) and Prof Mervyn Frost (Head of the Department War Studies, King’s College, London) have co-authored a insight briefing on the wider implications of the Libyan conflict for the Oxford Martin School.

The Libya crisis of early 2011 represents a moment of considerable danger, but also of great potential for the international community and its nascent doctrine of Responsibility to Protect. Critics of the Libya operation often lump it together with the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions as “liberal interventionism.”

Yet there is a critical difference. While those interventions were explicitly aimed at regime change, this operation is conceived under a UN mandate that is strictly limited to one goal: civilian protection. If we can get the balance entailed by this limited mandate right, it could have a transformative effect far beyond Libya.

You can download the full briefing from this link.

What does UN Security Council Resolution 1973 permit? Dapo Akande blogs on EJIL talk

Dapo Akande discusses the recent controversy surrounding whether the coalition taking military action in Libya could arm the rebel forces to try and bring the fighting to a quicker conclusion.

He concludes that arming the rebels may be legally permitted under the UN resolution, but this must be in strict accordance with its purpose of 'the protection of civilians and civilian populated areas'. Therefore this would have to be for defence of rebel areas, not to allow advances against Gadaffi's forces or to move a stalemate situation - all admittedly politically 'incredibly messy'.

You can read his recent EJIL talk blog pieces here and here.

Is Operation Odyssey Dawn a ‘Just’ Intervention? Serena Sharma blogs on Politics in Spires

ELAC Research Associate Serena Sharma takes stock of the interactions between the cause and conduct of war in Libya in her blog piece 'Is Operation Odyssey Dawn a ‘Just’ Intervention? Assessing the Relationship Between Cause and Conduct'

You can read the full article here.

Politics in Spires is a collaborative blog between the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford and the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge.

ELAC on international military intervention in Libya

ELAC Directors Jennifer Welsh, Dapo Akande and David Rodin have commented on the unfolding situation in Libya in recent weeks on BBC News 24, the BBC World Service and other radio stations in the UK and Canada.

You can hear Jennifer Welsh's interview on Canadian radio station CBC here (see 04:00 minutes).

You can hear Dapo Akande's interview on BBC Radio Oxford here (see 1:27:00 minutes), on BBC Radio Scotland here (see 37:00:00 minutes), and on BBC Radio London here (see 16:00 minutes).

Jennifer Welsh has also written a piece for the Canadian Globe and Mail on UN Resolution 1973 (2011) questioning the goal of international intervention, and warning that the resolutuion contains 'ambiguities ...which could come back to haunt its drafters and split apart the international consensus'. You can read the full article here.

Dapo Akande Panellist on Africa Have Your Say

Dapo Akande was a panellist on the BBC World Service programme Africa Have Your Say. The programme discussed issues relating to the ICC and the pursuit of peace and justice.

The programme can be accessed here.

Dapo Akande Discusses Possible No Fly Zone in Libya on Five Live

Dapo Akande disscusses the legal implications of events unfolding in Libya and the international response to the violence on BBC Five Live's Up All Night.

The interview can be accessed here (see 11:00 minutes).

David Rodin Honoured by World Economic Forum

Dr David Rodin, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC), has been selected as a Young Global Leader 2011 by the World Economic Forum. Dr Rodin was chosen because of his exceptional professional achievements, proven leadership experience and willingness to serve society at a global level. The Young Global Leader Forum has established a comprehensive selection process for identifying and selecting the most exceptional leaders 40 years of age or younger. Every year, thousands of candidates from around the world are proposed through a qualified nomination process and assessed according to rigorous selection criteria. Only the best candidates are selected and invited to join the Forum. As a Young Global Leader, Dr Rodin will attend the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. He is looking forward to the opportunity this will afford to strongly advocate a greater emphasis on ethics among business and political leaders.

The full press release is available on the WEF website here

The Security Council has gone as far as it can. Will Western countries dare to go it alone?

Jennifer Welsh writes for the Oxford Martin School blog on the response by the UN to the situation in Libya. This considers that while that the unanimous passing of Resolution 1970 was greatly significant, the Security Council is not likely to go further at present despite some Western calls for the imposition of a 'no-fly zone' or a humanitarian military mission.

The full piece can be read on the Oxford Martin School website here

Middle East: Days of Protest - Jennifer Welsh on BBC World Service

Jennifer Welsh speaks to the BBC World Service on the current unrest in Libya, the response by the UN Security Council to the mounting crisis and the responsibility to protect.

The interview can be accessed here (see 34:50 minutes).

ELAC/Chatham House Workshop on Classification of Armed Conflicts
ELAC co-hosted a workshop on the "Classification of Armed Conflicts" with the International Law Group at Chatham House on the 18 and 19 February. The workshop is part of a project led by Elizabeth Wilmshurst (Chatham House) which is examining whether some of the problems in the application of law of armed conflict or international humanitarian law (IHL) are caused by difficulties of classifying armed conflicts as international or non-international for the purposes of IHL. The participants in the project (which include Dapo Akande, ELAC Co-Director) are leading academics working in IHL, current and former members of the military as well as staff of the ICRC. The group is examining a number of recent conflicts in order to gain an overview of the current practice on classification of conflicts and to provide an analysis of the problems of classification and its relevance. It is anticipated that the papers prepared by the group will be revised and published as an edited volume by a leading academic press. Further information about the working group can be found here

Immunities of State Officials, International Crimes and Foreign Domestic Courts

Dapo Akande gave a seminar for Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR - hosted by the University of Oxford Centre for Socio-Legal Studies) on the 'Immunities of State Officials, International Crimes and Foreign Domestic Courts'.

OTJR have made the podcast of this seminar available. See their podcasts webpage here

Cécile Fabre on Cosmopolitanism and War

ELAC Research Associate Cécile Fabre speaks to Philosophy Bites on Cosmopolitanism and War. The long history of just war theory concentrates on nation states rather than individuals. In this podcast Cécile Fabre discusses how moral cosmopolitans, those who foreground individual rights, can approach questions of war. See the link to the podcast here.

The Philosophy Bites website publishes podcasts of top philosophers interviewed on bite-sized topics. You can reach their homepage here:

Implementing the Responsibility to Protect: Where Expectations Meet Reality

Jennifer Welsh writes in the latest edition of the journal Ethics & International Affairs (Winter 2010) reviewing recent books on the principle of the 'responsibility to protect' (R2P), the international community's role in responding to the commission of mass atrocities - such as genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. Summarising these she concludes that scholars of RtoP need a much deeper understanding of both how norms evolve and the competing normative commitments that drive those who remain sceptical of endowing the international community with a responsibility to protect. You can read the full text here.

Dapo Akande comments on WikiLeaks discosures

Dapo Akande comments in The Guardian newspaper on the latest disclosures from the WikiLeaks website. Leaked US Embassy cables revealed that US diplomats were asked to gather intelligence UN staff and foreign diplomats, including biomentric data and passwords. Dapo Akande considered that this violates international law. You can read the full article here.

Tensions between the African Union and the ICC over the arrest warrant for Omar Al-Bashir

In 2009 and 2010 the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide during the conflict in Dafur. He is the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC. Since then, the African Union (AU) has repeatedly called for the UN Security Council to defer proceedings, which they consider undermine efforts to ensure peace and stability in the region. However, these requests have effectively been ignored. This has resulted in a lack of coorporation by AU member states in respect of the arrest and surrender of Bashir.

Dapo Akande has co-authored a paper on this complex and controversial issue for the influential Institute for Security Studies based in South Africa. Entitled 'An African expert study on the African Union concerns about article 16 of the Rome Statute of the ICC' it examines the law and politics surrounding the case, and AU calls to amend the article to allow the UN General Assembly to make requests for deferrals of ICC investigations and prosecutions.

This paper will be launched at the next meeting of the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC Statute in December 2010, and has generated considerable interest. You can read more about the continuing debate here, and commentary by William Schabas here. Dapo Akande's blog article summarising the paper on EJIL:Talk! is available here.


News from the Oxford Martin School