Archive 7

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US to establish “Space Branch” of armed forces by 2020

In a speech to the Pentagon on 9 August, Vice President of the United States Mike Pence announced that the US Department of Defence will establish a sixth branch of the armed forces – the US Department of the Space Force – by 2020. Various affiliated command and joint organisations will also be created. The announcement follows a seven-week review by the Department of Defence, and comes as Russia and China develop sophisticated new weapons capable of operating in outer space.

Increased News Chatter as Coalition Closes In on ISIS

Various sources and news outlets are currently reporting on the likely last stand of ISIS and predicting a hard-fought final battle for the province of Idlib, in eastern Syria.

Foreign Policy suggests that the US-led coalition is set to launch a final fight against the group. More than 1,000 Islamic State fighters are currently dug in at the city of Hajin near the Iraqi border, including a number of foreign fighters.

War on the Rocks also reports that an estimated 2.5 to 3.5 million people – at least 1.2 million of whom are internally displaced – are currently located in this region, and warns that civilians will suffer if any military campaign is launched.

73rd Anniversary of Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki Commemorated

On 9 August, the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki was commemorated. At a Peace Memorial Ceremony in Japan, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described Nagasaki a “global inspiration” for peace, but also sounded a warning that the threat of nuclear war still prevails today. Towards the close of WWII, the United States detonated […]

New Book Published: Internationalized Armed Conflicts in International Law by Dr Kubo Mačák

This book provides the first comprehensive analysis of factors that transform a non-international armed conflict (NIAC) into an international armed conflict (IAC). It examines the historical development as well as the current state of the relevant rules of international humanitarian law, and is grounded in contemporary case law from twentieth- and twenty-first century armed conflicts.

According to OUP, the book is split into three key sections:

  • In Part I, the book puts forward a thorough catalogue of modalities of conflict internationalization that includes outside intervention, State dissolution, and recognition of belligerency. It then specifically considers the legal qualification of complex situations that feature more than two conflict parties and contrasts the mechanism of internationalization of armed conflicts with the reverse process of de-internationalization.
  • Part II of the book challenges the conventional wisdom that members of non-State armed groups do not normally benefit from combatant status. It argues that the majority of fighters belonging to non-State armed groups in most types of internationalized armed conflicts are in fact eligible for combatant status.
  • Finally, Part III turns to belligerent occupation, traditionally understood as a leading example of a notion that cannot be transposed to armed conflicts occurring in the territory of a single State. By contrast, the book argues in favour of the applicability of the law of belligerent occupation to internationalized armed conflicts.

For a 30% discount on all orders from the OUP website, quote promotional code ALAUTHC4 (valid until 31st August 2019, up to 10 copies per transaction). See Dr Mačák’s website for more details here.

Dr Kubo Mačák is a senior lecturer in law at the University of Exeter. He has worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and is currently serving as a core expert on the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations project.

100 Year Anniversary of “Der Schwarze Tag”

8 August 2018 marks the centenary of Germany’s “Black Day” or “Schwarze Tag”, a decisive battle in WWI in which the Australian Corps played a key role.

The British Fourth army, with French support attacked the German forces astride the Somme River on the Western Front. The Australian Corps was in the centre of the British advance, and the offensive was commanded by Lieutenant Sir John Monash.

The event is commemorated by leading Australian military Peter Pedersen on the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s website.

Armed Conflict Taking Place in a New Ebola Outbreak Zone in DRC

According to UN News, a new Ebola outbreak is currently taking place in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The longstanding conflict in the region – involving over 100 armed groups – is complicating the task of containment for the World Health Organisation.

Military Commission pretrial proceedings in the 9/11 Case

Between July 23 – 26, the military commission in United States v Khalid Sheikh Mohammad et al reconvened for pretrial proceedings. The Commission covered a wide range of topics, including competing theories of “hostilities” under the laws of war. The proceedings are summarised in more detail by the Lawfare blog here. The case concerns the trial of five alleged Al-Qaeda members […]

Suicide Attack in Afghan Mosque May Amount to War Crimes, according to UN

According to the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the attack – which took place inside a mosque during Friday prayers and killed 48 people – may amount to war crimes.

“This attack targeting civilians has no possible justification”, said UNAMA chief Tadamichi Yamamoto.

“Such attacks directed against congregations and places of worship are serious violations of international law that may amount to war crimes”.

New UNAMA figures reveal that more civilians were killed in the first six months of 2018 – 1,692 deaths – than at any comparable time over the last 10 years since records began.

The Asia-Pacific Centre for Military Law is operated by the University of Melbourne and it is not an agent of, nor affiliated with, or part of, the Australian Government or the Department of Defence.