Archive 9

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Impending Idlib Offensive in Syria may spark “humanitarian catastrophe”

This is the warning of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, delivered on Wednesday last week as reported by UN News. A statement issued by the Secretary-General’s Spokesperson called on the Syrian government and all other parties to exercise restraint and prioritise the protection of civilians in the conflict. The statement also “once again reaffirms that any use […]

2018 Cluster Munition Monitor Report Released

UN News reports that the 2018 Cluster Munition Monitor report was released last Thursday.

A total of 289 new cluster munitions casualties were recorded in 2017, with the highest numbers in Syria (187) and Yemen (54). Other countries recording casualties included Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam. According to the report, civilians accounted for 99 per cent of all casualties recorded in 2017.

In an interview with UN News, Mary Wareham, one of the report’s editors, stresses that the Convention on Cluster Munitions is working, despite their ongoing use in conflicts around the world:

The Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted in Dublin on 30 May 2008 and entered into force on 1 August 2010. It currently has 104 States Parties and 16 Signatories. The Eighth Meeting of States Parties (8MSP) to the Convention on Cluster Munitions is currently taking place in Room XVIII at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Conference documents are available on the UNOG and CCM websites.

The 2018 Cluster Munition Monitor report is available in full here.

UN Report Recommends Genocide Charges for Myanmar Military Leaders

On Monday, UN-appointed investigators concluded that Myanmar military (Tatmadaw) leaders should face genocide charges for the killing of Rohingya Muslims. The events have previously been described by outgoing High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

See the video here

Specifically, the Independent International Fact-finding Mission recommended that Tatmadaw leaders be investigated for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The development has received heavy media coverage, with the New York Times suggesting that Rohingya survivors have enough raw footage on their mobile phones to make out a case before the International Criminal Court.

Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights online syllabus collection

The Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights is pleased to provide an online Collection of Syllabi on Gender, Armed Conflict, Security and International Relations. This collection of syllabi has been gathered from faculty and institutions both in the United States and internationally, and covers a wide range of topics related to gender and war. […]

ISIS continues to present “serious challenge” to global security

On Thursday last week, Under-Secretary-General of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov briefed the United Nations Security Council on continuing threats posed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL). Voronkov was presenting the Secretary-General’s seventh report on threats posed by ISIS. A statement released by him observes: “ISIL continues to present a serious challenge, […]

Trump Administration Not Required to Disclose Legal Basis for April 2017 Syrian Airstrikes

On Tuesday last week, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the US government was not required to disclose its legal basis for ordering the April 2017 airstrikes on Syria under freedom of information legislation. A full background of the case is provided by the Lawfare blog here.

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The April 2017 missile strike on Syrian airfields represented the first direct US military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and were launched in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on civilians. At the time, President Trump stated that “it is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

ANALYSIS: China and ASEAN agree on Single Negotiating Text for Code of Conduct in South China Sea

A recent article by Lee Yinghui for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyses the announcement earlier this month by China and ASEAN of a single text to negotiate the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. Lee suggests that China is now pursuing a two-pronged strategy in the region, as it moves from a purely military approach […]

“The Human Nature of International Humanitarian Law”

A new blog post on the ICRC’s Humanitarian Law & Policy blog by Professor Eric Talbot Jensen considers the role of human decision-making in IHL. In the developing context of autonomous weapons, machine learning and artificial intelligence, Professor Jensen asks a foundational question about legal standards in IHL: “Is the law regulating armed conflict designed to provide the […]

49th Pacific Islands Forum and Related meetings

The 49th Pacific Islands Forum and related meetings will be hosted by Nauru this year between 3 – 6 September. The government of Nauru has chosen the theme “Building a Strong Pacific: Our Islands, Our People, Our Will” as the theme for this year’s forum.

Key topics will include regional peace and security, as detailed further on the Secretariat’s website.

It is currently unclear whether Australia will still attend the Forum, following this week’s Liberal leadership spill. The ABC has already been banned from covering the meetings, with the Government of Nauru citing “blatant interference” in domestic politics and harassment of its president by the Australian media organisation.

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.