Archive 28


‘5 Myths about the Geneva Conventions as they Turn 70’

This ICRC article examines and rebuts the following five ‘myths’ about the GCs, and explains why they continue to remain relevant today:  1) There are no limits to human suffering in war;  2) Some groups cannot or should not be engaged with;  3) The Geneva Conventions are out of date;  4) We are unable to act together to solve the threats that face us;

‘Hospital Bombings: Empirical and Theoretical Fallacies of Those Rejecting a Ban’

This EJIL: Talk! blog post explains and provides further detail on the argument contained in a recent academic article by Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini titled:‘Hospital Shields and the Limits of International Law’.

Outcome Statement from Fifth Commonwealth Red Cross/Red Crescent Conference on IHL published

This event took place in Rwanda earlier this month. A summary of proceedings and the official Outcome Statement are available here.

Outcome statement

ICRC Customary IHL Database updated

The ICRC’s Customary IHL Database contains the 161 rules identified in the ICRC’s 2005 Study, the underlying practice, and regular updates. The latest update contains new practice from South Africa. See here.

‘The Longest Wars: Richard Holbrooke and the Decline of American Power’

This Foreign Affairs article by George Packer discusses the life and career of celebrated US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, through the prism of ongoing conflict in Afghanistan:

One of the most celebrated diplomats of his generation, Richard Holbrooke helped normalize U.S. relations with China; served as U.S. ambassador to a newly reunified Germany and then to the United Nations; and, most famously, negotiated the 1995 Dayton peace agreement that ended the war in Bosnia. But he began and ended his career struggling with how to resolve two American wars: first in Vietnam, then in Afghanistan.”

Packer has recently published a new biography of Holbrooke, in which he charts Holbrooke’s life and achievements against the broader context of major US foreign policy successes and challenges during the past half century:

‘The International Security Echo-Chamber: Getting Civil Society Into the Room’

This recent Just Security article observes the common absence of meaningful roles for civil society organisations (CSOs) in international policymaking and conflict prevention, noting that: “External interventions carried out in the name of security often end up undermining peace and security”. The author suggests that governments often fail to consider alternative ways of thinking about security and foreign […]


This blog post by recently-retired ADF Lieutenant Colonel Greg Rowlands examines the potential use of machine intelligence on future battlefields. The author argues that drones may likely come to hold a position of primacy in such conflicts:

UN Security Council Programme of Work for August

What’s in Blue has prepared this informational article summarising key events in the UN Security Council’s programme of work for the month of August 2019 (with Poland as president). Highlights include: an open debate on the annual report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict; the scheduled renewal of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNFIL) mandate; and […]

China’s New Defence White Paper Released

Entitled China’s National Defense in the New Era, the English version of this Paper is available here. The Center for Strategic and International Studies has a (US-centric) published analysis which highlights some of the papers main points here.

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