From the Editors
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[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention, and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week]
"UN Expert Investigates US Drone Attacks, Targeted Killings that Involve Civilian Casualties," Associated Press
The AP reports on the special investigation by Ben Emmerson, the UN rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights, into the legality of drone warfare and targeted killings as used by the United States.
“State Department Defends Commitment to Closing Down Guantanamo Prison,” Julian Pecquet
The State Department has indicated closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility remains a priority for the Obama Administration, despite the recent reassignment of Daniel Fried, the Administration’s special envoy for the closure of the facility, to a position in the State Department related to sanctions policy.
“Iraqi Men Sentenced in Kentucky Terrorism Case,” Brett Barrouquere
Mohanad Shareef Hammadi and Waad Ramadan Alwan, two Iraqi men convicted of participating in a plot to send weaponry and funding to Iraqi insurgents, have been sentenced to life and 40 years in prison, respectively. Alwan’s lighter sentence was described by U.S. Attorney David Hale as a result of his cooperation with investigators. Hammadi’s lawyer is reportedly planning an appeal for his client.
“Israel Skips U.N. Review on Rights, a New Move,” Nick Cumming-Bruce
The New York Times reports Israel has become the first country to withdraw from cooperating in the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Period Review process, shunning efforts of the United Nations and United States to persuade it to participate.
"Abbas to Israel: Let in Palestinians Fleeing Syria," Reuters
Reuters reports on the efforts of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to persuade Israel to allow 150,00 Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria to settle in the West Bank--an effort Abbas dropped after the Israeli government requested Palestine relinquish the right of return.
"Former Libyan Spy Chief Could Face Execution Soon, Lawyer Fears," Marlise Simons
The lawyer of Abdullah al-Senussi, Muammar el-Qaddafi's intelligence chief, has contacted the International Criminal Court urging an intervention to prevent the execution of his client over concerns about the fairness of the trial. The ICC has responded by issuing an order for Libya to turn al-Senussi to the Hague for trial.
"U.S. Expands Aid to French Mission in Mali," Ernesto Londoño
The Washington Post reports on the Pentagon's announcement that it will expand US assistance for the French intervention in Mali by offering aerial refueling and transport planes, as well as reports that the assistance is legal because of France's assertion that the Mali government requested the intervention.
"Britain Lists Israel Next to Iran as Nation with Human Rights Record 'Of Concern,'" Phoebe Greenwood
The United Kingdom has included Israel alongside Afghanistan, Iran, and Zimbabwe as countries the government considers "of concern" with regards to enforcement of human rights, citing Israel's most recent military assault on the Gaza Strip and recent and plans to expand settlements in the West Bank as particularly unsettling violations.
"Gitmo Prosecutor's Rejected Memo Released," Josh Gerstein
Gerstein, of Politico, reports that a memo has leaked in which Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo military commissions, requests the convening authority for the commissions drop the conspiracy charge against detainees charged with plotting the 9/11 attacks.
"Why It (Formally) Matters Whether Palestine Ratifies the Rome Statute," Kevin Jon Heller
Heller writes on Opinio Juris that while Palestine has no obligation to ratify the Rome Statute in order for the ICC to investigate Israeli crimes in the West Bank and Gaza, such an investigation will be easier to open the investigation if Palestine has ratified the statute due to the lack of a required Pre-Trial Chamber authorization.
"NATO's Detainee Dilemma in Afghanistan," David Bosco
Bosco reports on his blog for Foreign Policy that NATO's policy of transferring captured Taliban and other combatants to Afghan jails while advocating reform of detention practices in said jails may end soon over concerns about torture and other rights violations.
"9/11 Defendants Seek to Preserve CIA Sites Where They Were Tortured," Spencer Ackerman
Ackerman, writing for WIRED's "The Danger Room", reports that defense lawyers for the 9/11 conspirators on trial are arguing for CIA "black sites" to remain open and unchanged from their conditions the conspirators were tortured under. One lawyer describes the counterintuitive move as an attempt to treat the "black sites" as crime scenes, revealing evidence about the treatment of the conspirators while detained there.
"Droning On…" Stephen Walt
Walt responds to a recent NOVA documentary on drone warfare, praising the documentary for delving into the moral concerns of the use of drones. He also writes that the United States' use of drones with impunity amounts to a "recipe for perpetual war" and argues that, though the program is often described as a success, the United States has ultimately failed to achieve all of its military objectives in recent wars in the Middle East.
"Would It Be Lawful For European (or other) States to Provide Arms to the Syrian Opposition?," Dapo Akande
Akande examines four arguments for the legality of Western states providing Syria's opposition with weapons on the European Journal of International Law Talk! blog, concluding none "provide a very strong basis" for the legality of such an action and that international law is often too underdeveloped to support even the strongest pro-arms arguments.
"Making History in Bab Al Shams," Abbas Sarsour
Sarsour, a Palestinian activist from Ramallah currently living in the United States, provides a first-hand account of the establishment of the Bab Al Shams protest encampment and the Israeli military's subsequent lockdown and encirclement of the area on Electronic Intifada.
"Continental Shift," Gordon Adams
Adams argues in Foreign Policy that the United States' military involvement in Mali and Algeria's hostage crisis is endemic of a broader trend in the US focusing on military engagement where it once focused on development, governance, and other humanitarian interests. Adams holds this shift holds dire consequences for the region, writing: "when security takes the lead, too often, governance and development step aside."
"Report from Beit Lahiya: Israel Continues to Break the Ceasefire in Gaza," Jenny Linnell
Mondoweiss reports that, while not a single rocket has been fired from Gaza since the 21 November 2012 ceasefire with Israel, four Palestinians have been killed and 80 have been injured at the hands of the Israeli military since then. Jenny Linell warns that even in this context, any possible violence from Palestinians in the future will be viewed "in a vacuum" despite Israel's escalation.
"An Iraqi Massacre, a Light Sentence and a Question of Military Justice," Charlie Savage and Elisabeth Bumiller
Savage and Bumiller detail the collapse of the prosecution of a Marine responsible for a massacre of civilians in Hadith, Iraq, blaming prosecution errors for the surprising acquittal in addition to difficulties inherent in collecting evidence and locating key witnesses, and what Eugene R. Fidell of Yale Law School calls "an unwillingness in some cases of military personnel to convict their fellow soldiers in a battle space".
"Military Tribunals and International War Crimes," Charlie Savage
Savage, writing in The New York Times' Opinion Pages, details Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins' dispute with the Department of Justice over the charging of 9/11 conspirators on trial with offenses not recognized under international law, namely that of "conspiracy," stressing the potential of the dispute's outcome to set an international legal precedent.
"France in Mali: The Long Durée of Imperial Blowback," Mark LeVine
LeVine writes for Al-Jazeera's Opinion Page that the current Malian crisis is a consequence of blowback from previous European interventions in Africa, and that the present intervention is likely to generate a great deal of its own blowback, prolonging a duration of violence likely to claim the lives of many.
"We Were Too Afraid to Stay on Our Farmlands," PCHR
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights issues a report on the vast economic hardships faced by Palestinian farmers displaced from their lands by fear of attack by Israeli military forces, even following the ceasefire agreement of 21 November 2012.
"Embargoes and International Sanctions: Between Legality and Reality"; 1 February 2013; Faculté Libre de Droit, d'Economie et de Gestion de Paris; Contact here for information.
"Minorities: Between Marginality and Participation in the Middle East"; 8 May 2013; Oxford University; Submit proposals here.
"Parallel Walks in al-Khalil: A Photo Essay," Isis Nusair
"BADIL Proudly Announces the Release of its Report on Palestinian National Identity," Jadaliyya Reports
"Infographic: Born at Qalandia Checkpoint," Visualizing Palestin
"Ramallah’s Bubbles," Kareem Rabie
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