US attack on Syria: Use of Force and Norm Creation

by Sujoy Sur

The United States of America fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at an air base in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun on 6th April. This was 2 days after chemical weapons were used in the same Syrian town, which killed over 80 people, including at  least 20 women and 30 children. However, the question arises whether USA’s act can in any manner be held a) a legitimate response, b) a valid act in itself.Read More »


Extending the IHL applicable in IACs to NIACs: Re-examining the Tadić and its aftermath

by Shriya Maini*

(This post is part of a series of posts on contemporary issues of international criminal law and human rights.)

In the decades following the adoption of rights by the Geneva Conventions, there is evidence of an inclination towards the application of the rules and principles regarding International Armed Conflicts (hereinafter “IACs”) to Non International Armed Conflicts (hereinafter “NIACs”). This may be seen in the nascent tendency to either ‘apply, or call for the application of’ IHL in situations of armed conflict, without drawing the distinction as to which ‘type’ of conflict (IAC or NIAC) exists and accordingly, which ‘type’ of law is applicable. Prior to highlighting if, how and why International Tribunals have made the laws of IACs applicable to NIACs, I set out three basic facts to be kept in mind while reading this essay.Read More »

Are Drone Attacks lawful?

By Sakshi Pawar/ Rishika Mendiratta*

drones_lawful_international_Law_usaThe legality of drone attacks has been a hot topic and a subject of countless debates in international law. US has time and again been accused of using the predatory drones to the disadvantage of the other non-state and state thus raising the question of fairness, proportionality of these attacks. The countries which are being subject to the attack have often questioned the ease with which a man sitting on the other side of the globe can destroy several lives without having to face the danger or the repercussions that come with putting your own troops in battle. The victims of such attacks have questioned the morality and cowardice portrayed by the US in deploying such predator drones. It began with the killing of Anwar Al- Awlaki who was a high ranking Taliban militant. He was the first American citizen killed abroad by drones and this sparked outrage and various debates in the past few years and the clash points have been based on two principles, jus in bellum and jus ad bello.Read More »

The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Non-International Armed Conflict in Syria and Iraq (Part I)


By Devaditya Chakravarti*


In recent months, a good swathe of armed combatants fighting against the supposedly oppressive Assad regime in Syria has matured itself into a fighting force increasingly able to challenge the state’s control of the country and to strike at strategic targets. This has coincided with it unifying under a single command of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (hereinafter ISIS) which has very understandably assumed the ability to mount co-ordinated military operations and as a result, has captured vast swathes of lands both in Syria and Iraq. There is credible evidence to suggest that the ISIS has managed to exist under a parallel economy altogether, what with them controlling key oilfields and exporting the produce to nearby countries, like Turkey and other countries in North Africa and the Near East along with having a broad extortion racket. This has positioned the ISIS as the biggest threat to Western states since 9/11, proving itself as a daunting challenge and bringing misery to those under its oppressive rule.

Iraq's Shi'ite paramilitaries and members of Iraqi security forces hold an Islamist State flag which they pulled down in Nibai, in Anbar province
Iraq’s Shi’ite paramilitaries and members of Iraqi security forces hold an Islamist State flag which they pulled down in Nibai, in Anbar province, May 26, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

The situation caused by the ISIS has proven to be a great legal hurdle for leading academicians and international law experts with respect to use of armed force and devising an appropriate response to such groups. Also, the states fighting the ISIS both from inside the Middle East and from the West treat the ISIS as merely belligerents and are not particularly keen on recognizing them as Non-State Armed Groups, which will be highlighted in greater detail in subsequent paragraphs.
Read More »

Sordid tale of the Rohingya refugees & the “disturbed” principle of Non-refoulment

By Jashim Ali Chowdhury*

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Article 3; European Convention on Human Rights

“Get them back.”

–  Tony Blair in Youseff v Home Office [EWHC (QB) 1884] at 15

Courtesy: Greg Constantine
Courtesy: Greg Constantine

Two States and a Stateless People

The origin of Rohingya’s is in dispute, artificially though. In Burmese military perception, they are virtually all immigrants from Bangladesh or what later became Bangladesh. Rohingya peoples on the other hand claim that they are the descendants of Muslims who came to this part of Burma long ago, perhaps of Persian and Arab traders, and are not Bengalis.[1] The cruel reality however is that Rohingyas are now living in limbo, even though they lived in Burma’s Rakhine State for generations. The Burma Citizenship Law of 1982 has denied their right to a nationality, and thereby removed their freedom of movement, access to education and services.[2] In addition, they are subject to frequent forced labor, arbitrary taxation and sexual violence and land confiscations.[3]Read More »