International Law Articles

A French Senator casts his ballot in an urn supporting a motion, at left, during a vote on the recognition of a Palestinian state, at the French Senate in Paris, France, Dec. 11, 2014 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

Wave of Palestine Recognition as EU Figures Out Its Role in Middle East

By Maria Savel
, , Trend Lines

The recent groundswell of support across Europe for the recognition of a Palestinian state comes as EU relations with Israel are at an all-time low, peace talks between Israel and Palestine seem as unlikely as ever and the EU tries to figure out its role in the region. more

Diplomatic Fallout

U.N.’s Syria Cease-Fire Plan a Risky Gamble, but Worth It

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

Is the U.N. heading for another diplomatic humiliation in Syria? A proposal for a series of local cease-fires between the government and some rebel groups, beginning in Aleppo, has received some slight encouragement from the Syrian regime and a great deal of criticism from outside observers. more

In Context

U.S. Reform Agenda in Myanmar on Shaky Ground

By Maria Savel
, , Trend Lines

Yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Myanmar, where he will attend the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-ASEAN summit. The visit, two years after Obama’s first to the country, comes amid growing concerns over Rohingya minority rights and stalled constitutional reform. more

Justice Deferred: Rule of Law in Central America

By Michael Allison
, , Feature

One of the primary historical causes of political violence in Central America has been the absence of democratic rule of law. Since the 1990s, reformists have mobilized to strengthen institutions in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. However, these efforts have been for the most part unsuccessful. more

Waiting for Disruption: The Western Sahara Stalemate

By Jacob Mundy
, , Feature

The Western Sahara conflict is fast approaching its 40th anniversary with no end in sight. A web of geopolitical interests keeps the conflict in a permanent state of limbo. Therein lies the paradox: The peace process now exists to contain the conflict, but only a crisis will save Western Sahara. more

The Politics of Advocacy: Setting and Vetting the Global Agenda

By Charli Carpenter
, , Feature

A U.N. conference this year on fully autonomous weapons, or “killer robots,” raises the question: Why do some issues and not others attract global policy attention? This article explores the channels through which humanitarian concerns are guided from grassroots activism to the highest levels of the international political agenda. more

Global Insider

The Costs and Benefits of Trade Agreement Disputes

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Last month, Germany voiced concerns over the inclusion of an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada. In an email interview, Timothy Josling, senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, discussed the settlements and their role in international trade agreements. more

Nagorno-Karabakh’s Summer of Violence

By Laurence Broers
, , Feature

This year, while Europe commemorated 100 years since the beginning of World War I, a long-forgotten conflict on the edge of the continent rumbled on. Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a contest for control over Nagorno-Karabakh for more than 25 years. Following a particularly dismal stretch of the peace process over the past two years, tensions have come to a head in a summer of violence along the front line. Yet while front-line casualties have dominated the headlines, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has also become a formidable weapon for both Armenia and Azerbaijan to securitize politics, exclude opposition and explain away the absence of domestic reforms. more

With More Evidence of Assad War Crimes, Is Transitional Justice Possible in Syria?

By Frederick Deknatel
, , Trend Lines

Last week, a former Syrian military photographer appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee with thousands of photographs allegedly showing widespread torture and killing in Bashar al-Assad’s jails. Amid the geopolitical wrangling over the Syrian civil war, the photographs have reignited calls for transitional justice and accountability for atrocities committed there, whenever the fighting stops. more

Congressional Republicans Seize on Russia’s Missile Treaty Violation

By Eric Auner
, , Trend Lines

Last week, the State Department officially reported that Russia had violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty when it tested cruise missiles. Republican lawmakers expressed immediate dismay with the Obama administration; some even advocated U.S. withdrawal from the treaty. Even if Republicans shy away from that, the INF issue will continue to serve as a locus of anti-Russian sentiment. more

Safeguarding Cultural Heritage in Times of War

By Craig Forrest
, , Feature

How far have we come in protecting cultural heritage from the devastating effects of war? Over the past century, surprisingly far, and at the same time not quite far enough. International law to protect cultural heritage has developed reactively, responding to conflict and destruction after the fact in the hope that it will not be repeated. An understanding of this law, its strengths and its shortcomings, requires its contextualization within the conflicts of the past century. more