International law

1 April 2024News in Brief

On 13 February, South Africa asked the international court of justice (ICJ) to order Israel to stop attacking the southern Gazan city of Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians have fled.

The world court refused to impose any new measures, saying that it had already made provisional orders on 26 January for Israel to stop killing civilians and to ‘enable the provision’ of desperately needed aid (PN…

1 February 2024News

World Court’s legally-binding order to Israel is a historic first, but still has flaws

Three Palestinian human rights groups issued a joint statement on 26 January welcoming the World Court’s decision to consider whether Israel’s war in Gaza is genocidal, and to order Israel to stop killing Palestinians in Gaza, among other measures.

Al-Haq (based in Ramallah, in the West Bank) and Al Mezan and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (both based in Gaza City, Gaza) described the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ, also known as ‘the World Court’) as ‘a…

2 December 2023Blog

An art exhibition and a music performance in York raised awareness about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by the UN in 2017.

On 26 November, CND and Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists gathered in York as part of a global day of action to call for an end to nuclear weapons and to bring attention to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The event took place at the start of the second Meeting of States Parties (MSPs), a gathering of countries who have ratified…

28 September 2020News

The Baghdad airport massacre is part of a pattern of US assassinations

On 3 January, a US drone strike destroyed two vehicles driving through Baghdad airport, killing 10 men, including Iranian general Qassem Suleimani and a senior Iraqi military official, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

US commentator Noam Chomsky described the Suleimani assassination to the Hindustan Times as ‘at least international terrorism, arguably worse.’

As well being aggression against the territory of Iraq, the assassination was the latest in a long line of acts of…

1 August 2015Feature

The case against airstrikes on Syria

US F-15E Strike Eagles returning from the first US airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, on 23 September 2014. Photo: US air force

On 26 June, Seifeddine Rezgui, a 23-year-old student, murdered 38 people at a beach resort in Sousse, Tunisia. 30 of the dead were British nationals. Subsequent news reports have noted Rezgui received training at an Islamic State (IS – also known as ISIS) base in western Libya.

Speaking to the BBC a few days later, David Cameron argued…

14 May 2012Blog

Review of Human Rights Watch's report 'Unacknowledged Deaths: Civilian Casualties in NATO’s Air Campaign in Libya', published May 14, 2012.

Human Rights Watch published its findings today on civilian casualties resulting from NATO's air strikes against Libya in 2011 in a report entitled 'Unacknowledged Deaths: Civilian Casualties in NATO’s Air Campaign in Libya', concluding that at least seventy-two civilians were killed as a result of the strikes, of which a third were children.

The seventy-six page report is based on extensive field investigations…

1 March 2011News

A new book, Trident and International Law: Scotland’s Obligations was launched on 1 February. The launch took place at the Scottish parliament and was hosted by Bill Kidd MSP. Edited by Rebecca Johnson and Angie Zelter, the book is a project of the Acronym Institute, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre and Trident Ploughshares. The eminent judges and lawyers writing in the book, review the arguments for the illegality of nuclear weapons and support Scotland’s right to demand the disarmament…

1 December 2009News

The two-day (1-2 September) “Citizen and the Law of Armed Conflict” conference at Friends House, London, was organised by a coalition of organisations concerned with the need to develop better dialogue with MPs and decision-makers on law and peace issues.

The first day consisted of talks from a wide range of lawyers, MPs, academics and activists while the second day enabled participants to discuss techniques on how to empower citizens. We are now planning the way forward after…

1 December 2009News

At CND’s International Conference on 10 October, the UK branch of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN-UK) launched its new website (see end of article).

ICAN-UK, which has nine core members, including Medact, CND and the World Court Project UK, aims to abolish nuclear weapons through a nuclear weapons convention (NWC). A NWC would prohibit the development, testing, production, stockpiling, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons, as well as the…

1 July 2009Feature

The declaration of a semi-closed, semi-open, no-blame inquiry into the Iraq war is said to be part of British prime minister Gordon Brown’s strategy to secure his position as leader of the Labour party.

Interestingly, the announcement also hampers any thoughts the Conservatives may have of initiating their own inquiry with a broader remit if they win the next general election (the most likely outcome at this point) .

More important than these power games is the opportunity…

1 May 2006Review

Edinburgh University Press, 2005; ISBN 0 7486 2075 3; 250 pp; £16.99

For a number of reasons, and this book explores some of them, “just war” theory has come under various kinds of strain in recent years.

As a result, some would seek to jettison it altogether, arguing that it is no longer relevant because the world has changed in too many ways since the theory was developed and formulated. Some try to patch it up on the basis that having something is better than having nothing, but without any real commitment to it. Some, however, continue to insist…

3 March 2006Comment

No Sweat is an activist,campaigning organisation, fighting sweatshop bosses, in solidarity with workers, worldwide. Sweatshop labour is modern global capitalism stripped bare. From the small, back-street sweat-shop to some of the biggest corporations in the world - child labour, forced overtime, poverty wages, unsafe conditions, harassment of women workers and intimidation of trade unionists are commonplace.

No Sweat stands for workers' solidarity. We are for:

A living wage Safe…

1 December 2004Review

Hurst, 2004; ISBN 1 8506 5737 8; Pb 288pp; £16.50

This book, published in association with Médecins sans Frontiéres, lacks a precise focus, but is principally concerned with international responses to intranational conflict and the problems they pose to humanitarian organisations.

It begins with an excellent and incisive introduction by Jean-Hervé Bradol who outlines three basic types of international response: intervention, involvement and abstention. A large part of the book is dedicated to case…

1 December 2004Feature


What is it?

In his report to the 2000 General Assembly, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan challenged the international community to forge consensus around the so-called “right of humanitarian intervention”: the question of when, if ever, it is appropriate for states to take coercive - in particular military - action, against other states for the purpose of protecting people at risk in that other state. It was in response to that challenge that the International Commission…

1 December 2003News

In October a US jury found 19 peace activists not guilty after their trial for trespassing at a depleted uranium weapon maker's headquarters.

On 2 April 2003, 28 activists walked into AllianceTech System's Edina office to deliver a letter to CEO, Paul David Miller, urging the company to take responsibility for the damages caused by depleted uranium to protest against the use of radioactive waste in weapons' production.

A higher power?

In a rare case where an international…