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ICJ Rules on Kosovo Independence

The International Court of Justice today held that international law did not prohibit Kosovo’s declaration of independence, while sidestepping the larger issue of Kosovo’s statehood.  All of the opinions can be found here, but we are happy to host the opinion of the court on this JILP Forum, since the ICJ’s site has been difficult to access as of late.

In a way, as Chris Borgen notes at Opinio Juris, this result should not come as a surprise, since international law generally does not seem to have much to say about declarations of independence.  The Court sidesteps the trickier problem of the lex specialis created by S.C. Res. 1244 (and the subsequent Constitutional Framework adopted by UNMIK) by holding that the declaration did not constitute an act of one of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government.  This lays the groundwork for the Court to conclude that the declaration essentially took place outside the scope of S.C. Res. 1244 and the framework.  Preliminary thoughts after the jump.

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Implications of European De-Integration for International Law

By Matthew Turk

The G20 Summit

At the recent G20 Summit, European leaders butted heads with the Obama administration by opposing further stimulus spending and calling for greater fiscal “austerity.”  The move to fiscal tightening, even during unsteady economic times, reveals the profound affect that the Greek debt crisis has had on policymakers in other European countries.  In particular, it indicates a common concern that growing public debt poses near-term challenges to the continued viability of an economically integrated European Union.  The potential unraveling of the legal-institutional structures of European integration uproots assumptions about international law held by commentators across the ideological spectrum.

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Making Amends

Over at Opinio Juris this morning, my good friend and colleague Scott Paul introduced the Making Amends Campaign, which is led by the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC).  Scott and CIVIC are working to develop a general practice…

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Thoughts on the Targeted Killings Report

By Ben Heath

To continue the discussion of Professor Philip Alston’s report on targeted killings, I can imagine no better discussion on the self-defense rationale for drone strikes than that presented by Marko Milanovic at the EJIL blog.  (At Opinio Juris, Kenneth Anderson promises a response, which will most certainly provide for interesting debate.)

I also fully agree with Milanovic’s critique of Alston’s assertion that, outside of armed conflict, “the use of drones for targeted killing is almost never likely to be legal.”  This statement is unncessarily conclusory: there should be some limited room for these strikes in the law enforcement paradigm of human rights, provided that the target poses a significant danger, that no opportunity for capture exists, etc.  One imagines that this might be the case in countries where the government holds only loose control over wide swaths of territory.  But, to be sure, drone strikes on the New Jersey Turnpike are almost certainly illegal.

I would not presume to step further into such well-covered ground.  Instead, I will use this space to highlight some other aspects of the report, while recognizing that these are definitely sidenotes to the major issues.

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