19 July 2014
On 16 July 2014, the District Court of The Hague issued a decision holding the Dutch State responsible with regards to the death of about 300 men, who were killed following their eviction from a compound near Srebrenica where Dutch peacekeepers of UNPROFOR (Dutchbat) were stationed before evacuating it in July 1995. (more…)
8 May 2014
In a decision of 2 May 2014, the British High Court of Justice held that the United Kingdom (UK) was responsible for the continued detention of an individual in Afghanistan, in violation of human rights law. The decision has already been commented on, notably here, here and here, focusing on the affirmation by the Court that the UK’s international human rights obligations applied to the non-international armed conflict in Afghanistan. This post will briefly address another important aspect of the decision, that of attribution of conduct.
The case was brought by Serdar Mohammed, an Afghan national who had been captured by British forces part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in April 2010 on the suspicion of being a member of the Taliban. He remained detained without charges until July 2010, when he was transferred to Afghan authorities. He claimed compensation from the UK for a breach of his right to liberty under Article 5 ECHR.
Apart from finding that the detention was in breach of applicable human rights obligations, the Court engaged in a relatively extensive discussion of whether the disputed conduct was to be attributed to the UK (paras 158–187, pp 47–55), thereby adding a new stone to the debate on allocation of responsibility in international military operations. (more…)
7 September 2013
On 6 September 2013, the Dutch Supreme Court confirmed that the Netherlands was responsible in relation to the death of three Bosnians in Srebrenica. Finding no ground for cassation, it upheld the 2011 decisions of the Court of Appeal of The Hague, concluding the last stage of proceedings in the important cases of Nuhanović and Mustafić. These cases are remarkable in that a remedy is finally provided to some victims, but also because they comport a number of important findings for the debate on the shared responsibility of States and international organizations for the conduct of peacekeepers. Notably, the Supreme Court unequivocally recognizes the possibility of multiple attribution, notably under the test of effective control (para 3.11.2). (more…)
26 January 2013
It has been almost two weeks since France began a military intervention to help the Malian army fight Islamist groups controlling the north of the country. The operation — code-named ‘Serval’ — was sparked by the ‘serious deterioration of the situation’ in Mali, after successful offensives by extremists who managed to take over the city of Konna, ‘a frontier town that had been the de facto line of government control’. The action of France, coming about after months of lengthy negotiations attempting to resolve the crisis in Mali, has been overall welcomed by the international community, and reportedly relatively successful in pushing back Islamists. In terms of international law, the military operation raises a number of issues, two aspects of which this blog post will address: the responsibility for maintaining peace, and the responsibility during the conduct of war. (more…)
18 November 2011
Yesterday in Amsterdam was the first day of the SHARES Conference on the Foundations of Shared Responsibility in International Law. The afternoon started by a non-exhaustive overview by Professor André Nollkaemper and Dov Jacobs of the ‘Concept Paper‘ they drafted for the SHARES Project and which serves as a theoretical guideline for the Project. Insisting on the Project’s interest in participants critical views on the Concept paper, they presented some of the main aspects developed in the paper. (more…)