Archive 8

Analysis of Autonomous Weapons: “Operationalising Meaningful Human Control”

A new post on the ICRC’s Humanitarian Law & Policy blog considers the ongoing lack of consensus surrounding a definition of “meaningful human control” in the context of autonomous weapons. The post suggests that the concept of meaningful human control is “not the only, or perhaps the most fitting, approach to analyzing (the effect of autonomous technologies […]

This post is adapted from a forthcoming article by Merel Ekelhof on meaningful human control as part of a broader empirical research project regarding the practice of targeting.

“Australia Faces Unprecedented Set of Security Challenges”

Albert Palazzo, Director of War Studies at the Australian Army Research Centre, recently wrote an article for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute identifying some of the key challenges facing the ADF at the level of strategic, operational and tactical warfare. Issues include the rise of China, the proliferation of anti-access and area denial (A2AD) systems […]

“Newest US Strategy in Afghanistan Mirrors Past Plans for Retreat”

The New York Times recently reported that the Trump administration is urging American-backed Afghan troops to retreat from sparsely-populated areas of the country, in a move that will likely ensure the Taliban retain control of large parts of Afghanistan.

A review of the American strategy in Afghanistan was flagged earlier last month, but suggestions of negotiation with the Taliban have been criticised by commentators.

New Cyber Security Centre for Australia

On 16 August, the government announced the opening of the new Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), as part of the Australian Signals Directorate. According to a press release, the ACSC will draw on expertise from ICT, law enforcement, defence, universities and security agencies, as well as international partners. It will operate as Australia’s central hub for cyber security information, advice […]

More information is available by calling 1300 CYBER1 (1300 292 371) or visiting

United States alleged to have committed war crimes through its role in Yemen

Foreign Policy has alleged that America is committing war crimes through its role in the ongoing Saudi-led war in Yemen. The ongoing conflict, which began in March 2015, continues to cause widespread civilian casualties.

Shifting the “Gender Agenda” Debate within the ADF

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has recently published a new article by Lisa Sharland critiquing the third progress report on the Australian National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security 2012–2018.   In particular, Sharland identifies a tendency to catalogue processes over outcomes in these reports: “We need to be wary of focusing on formal […]

More information on Women, Peace and Security in the ADF is available here.

Jurisdictional Immunities in Rukoro et al. v. Federal Republic of Germany

Between 1904 – 1908, Imperial German soldiers committed atrocities in Namibia which have subsequently been described as the first genocide of the 20th century.

A class action complaint against Germany is now being litigated by descendants of the victims in the New York Southern District court. The plaintiffs variously seek compensation and a declaration that their exclusion from the ongoing negotiations between Germany and Namibia on these issues violates international law.

On 31 July, both parties pleaded on the question of the Court’s jurisdiction. An EJIL: Talk! blog post by Richard Dören and Alexander Wentker examines these issues further, and considers whether Germany can successfully claim immunity from jurisdiction.

Coalition Airstrike on School Bus in Yemen Kills Scores of Children

An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen on 9 August was described as a “legitimate military operation”, but has drawn widespread condemnation from the UN and other commentators. As reported in the New York Times, the ICRC said that at least 29 children were killed when a school bus carrying students on a field […]

Joint Australia-US military exercise RIMPAC 2018 successfully completed

Exercise RIMPAC 2018 – one of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercises – has been successfully completed.

This year, the exercise took place between 27 June – 2 August, in Hawaii and off the coast of California. The Australian Navy reports that RIMPAC 2018 involved 47 surface ships, 5 submarines, over 200 aircraft and 25,000 military personnel from 25 countries. Navy Daily describes various gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air-defence exercises that were conducted, culminating in a major multi-national amphibious landing activity.

More images are available here. The exercise is also covered by the RAAF and Army newspapers.

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.