International Law Articles

U.S. Struggles to Build Coherent Response to Ugandan Anti-Gay Law

By Matt Peterson
, on , Trend Lines

A panel discussion on Thursday organized by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the NYU School of Law discussed options for U.S. policy toward Uganda, after relations were ruffled by a new Ugandan law signed in February that imposes harsh legal penalties, including life sentences, for homosexual acts. The question is whether the Obama administration can produce an effective response to the new law. more

Renewed Push, Public Weariness Puts Closing Gitmo Within Obama’s Reach

By Ken Gude
, on , Briefing

Advocates working to end a sad chapter in American history were given new hope last year when President Barack Obama renewed his push to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. The diminished risks of closing the prison, combined with public war-weariness, mean that what seemed a hopeless and nearly forgotten project for Obama a year ago—closing Guantanamo by the end of his administration—now seems achievable. more

Unsafe Spaces: Trends and Challenges in Gender-Based Violence

By Janie Leatherman, Nadezda Griffin
, on , Feature

There is not sufficient evidence to determine whether the use of sexual violence in conflict is increasing or decreasing. However, evidence indicates it is widespread. Despite the prevalence of sexual violence in conflict today, we are no longer living in an era of silence and impunity. Nevertheless, the risks of sexual violence are shifting along with changes in the patterns of conflict and the spaces in which it takes place, requiring new approaches to support affected members of communities. more

Full-Spectrum Diplomacy: Crimea Crisis Shows That Norms Still Matter

By Heather Hurlburt
, on , Column

The Crimea crisis has given realists a field day for attacking the belief structures of rules-based internationalists. Ukraine just paid the price of giving up its nuclear weapons 20 years ago, we hear. Integrating Russia into international economic institutions proved meaningless. Human rights and the rule of law don’t matter when great power interests are at stake. The reality, however, is more complicated. more

Kagame’s Rwanda Presents South Africa With Delicate Balancing Act

By James Hamill
, on , Briefing

Relations between South Africa and Rwanda have suffered a sharp downturn with the murder and attempted murder in South Africa of two former high-level Rwandan security officers who had fled Rwanda for South Africa. While the Rwandan regime formally denied responsibility, the attacks have poisoned bilateral relations, which had been close until South Africa began providing safe haven for Rwandan exiles. more

Hopes and Fears: Trade Regimes and the Changing Shape of Sovereignty

By Philip Nichols
, on , Feature

Twenty years ago it was fashionable in academic circles to predict the end of sovereignty. It was also fashionable for people to take to the streets to protest the end of sovereignty. In both cases, trade occupied a central role. With the conclusion of NAFTA, the birth of the EU and the formation of the WTO, trade seemed to dominate the international agenda. Since then, the international trade regime has contributed to changes in the operation of sovereignty, but not as much as was once both feared and hoped. more

Unstoppable Court: The European Court of Justice and EU Sovereignty

By Gareth Davies
, on , Feature

No secular organization has ever peacefully deprived states of as much sovereignty as has the European Union, and the European Court of Justice has played a central role in that process. While at its outset, the court was expected to have a relatively marginal role in European integration, the ECJ has understood its role quite differently. It has become in substance one of the primary legislators of the EU, laying down rules and principles without which the EU would be quite a different creature today. more

Virtual Sovereignty: Governments, Stakeholders and Internet Governance

By Jovan Kurbalija
, on , Feature

The way the Internet is governed is of strategic importance to modern society. Yet current Internet governance is not robust enough to address the Internet’s critical relevance. Recent developments have led many governments, international organizations, think tanks and experts to search for a new governance formula. The main challenge is how to reconcile the tension between current Internet governance, led by nongovernmental players, and increasing demands for a stronger role for governments. more

Global Insider: Under Montreux Convention, Turkey Controls Black Sea Access in Wartime

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

Amid the crisis in Crimea, Turkey authorized a U.S. Navy destroyer to pass through the Bosphorus last week but noted that the legal agreement governing access to the Black Sea would not permit a U.S. aircraft carrier to make the same passage. In an email interview, James Kraska, an expert in maritime governance who is Mary Derrickson McCurdy visiting scholar at Duke University, discussed the terms of the Montreux Convention. more

In Context: China Unveils New Antarctic Base

By Matt Peterson
, on , Trend Lines

China’s unveiling of its fourth research base in Antarctica this weekend has produced a flurry of interest in the Chinese polar program. The broad consensus among analysts is that Beijing's intent is more about gaining sway over long-term rule-making than furthering science. As Lily Kuo writes in Quartz, “China’s Antarctic aspirations are likely for status and more importantly, leverage over a distant future when the region opens up.” more

Latin America’s Dangerous Shift to Aerial Shootdown Policies in War on Drugs

By Adam Isacson
, on , Briefing

This month, the Honduran Congress passed a law empowering the defense minister to order the air force to shoot down suspected smuggling planes flying over the country’s Caribbean coast. Aerial trafficking is a real concern in the Americas, but so is the spread of shootdown policies; with them comes a real risk that innocent people may die. Moreover, the response might be disproportionate to the threat. more

Responsible for Verifying Iran Nuclear Deal, IAEA Lacks Reliable Support

By Jessica C. Varnum
, on , Briefing

Last week’s session of the IAEA board of governors, convened primarily to secure emergency funding for enhanced safeguards activities in Iran, provided a reminder of both the IAEA’s importance and its precarious finances. The international community chronically fails to provide the IAEA with enough resources to fulfill its central role in nuclear nonproliferation and security, and the stakes could not be higher. more

Strategic Posture Review: Kenya

By Jon Rosen
, on , Report

After winning Kenya’s March 2013 presidential election, President Uhuru Kenyatta inherited the difficult task of leading East Africa’s most significant diplomatic and economic actor while simultaneously awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court. Meanwhile, his coalition government assumed oversight of Kenya’s growing role in the maintenance of regional security. Though tensions with Kenya's traditional partners in the West over the ICC trial now seem to be easing, Kenya’s numerous security threats, compounded by deep ethno-political divisions, will pose obstacles to its economic ambitions and efforts to play a stronger role in regional leadership. more

ASEAN Single Aviation Market Would Be Major Step Toward Better Integration

By Jennifer Meszaros
, on , Briefing

ASEAN’s Single Aviation Market (SAM) seeks to liberalize air services under a unified air transport market by 2015. SAM is a logical next step for a region where relaxation of market restrictions, low tariffs and a combined total trade of more than $200 billion has already attracted foreign investors. But the move toward integration is slow, as ASEAN members have yet to treat themselves as a common market. more

Global Insider: Israel’s Voluntary Return Efforts for Asylum-Seekers Find Little Success

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

This month, thousands of African migrants to Israel, many seeking asylum, marched in Tel Aviv to demand more rights and protections from the Israeli government. In an email interview, Dov Waxman, associate professor of political science at Baruch College and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, as well as the co-director of the Middle East Center for Peace, Culture and Development at Northeastern University, explained Israel’s immigration policy. more

While Ratifications Languish, Nontreaty Cooperation on Nuclear Issues Bears Fruit for U.S.

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

With the Obama administration moving toward its sixth year, the traditional nuclear arms control process—which has for the past several decades been driven in large part by a series of bilateral and multilateral treaties—appears to be lagging as nuclear threats and fears shift and as the U.S. political scene remains gridlocked. The administration is seeking alternatives. more

Flap Over Diplomat Complicates U.S.-India Relations

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

Earlier this month, U.S. Marshals arrested Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who was serving as the deputy consul general at the Indian Consulate in New York City. She was accused of committing visa fraud to bring a domestic worker into the United States and of paying her less than the minimum wage. more

From Paper to Peace: The Role of Guarantees in Peace Agreements

By Stefan Wolff
, on , Feature

At its most basic, a peace process comprises three phases: the negotiation, implementation and operation of an agreement. Yet the successful conclusion of a peace process is by no means a foregone conclusion—they can, and do, fail. This is why one of the most important sets of political and legal approaches to achieving sustainable peace is the use of guarantees as part of the settlement process. While guarantees cannot replace agreements, they can help parties to implement agreements and make them work. more

New Trilateral Water-Sharing Deal a Rare Cause for Optimism in the Middle East

By Russell Sticklor
, on , Briefing

Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators struck a deal earlier this week outlining new water-sharing arrangements for this perpetually water-stressed region. Facilitated by the World Bank, the deal promises to bolster water supply to Jordan, the West Bank and southern Israel while enhancing cross-border water sharing through new desalination plant construction, increased water transfers and new water sales arrangements. more