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Library blog

These blogs are written by the librarians of the Peace Palace Library. All blogs are dealing with subjects on International Law. Every blog contains links and references to the collection of the Peace Palace Library.

  • Should Police Officers Wear Body Cameras? The Mike Brown Law

    August 21, 2014

    On 9 August the unarmed, afro-american 18-year-old boy, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a 28-year-old caucasian police officer, Darren Wilson, in a working-class neighborhood in Ferguson, Mo. The shooting happened after police officer Wilson stopped Brown because he was jaywalking.

    Unfortunately both the police and the eyewitnesses tell a different story about what happened that evening. Eyewitnesses saw that Brown was shot while he trying to surrender but police officer Darren Wilson stated that Brown assaulted him just before the shooting. FBI has opened an investigation. 3 Autopsies have been performed. According to an independent autopsy, Brown was killed by at least 6 bullets which all came from Wilson’s gun.

    The shooting has provoked intense racially charged protests and riots. In some occasions police officers used fire rubber bullets and tear gas on participants. The feelings of fear, anger, injustice, racial mistrust in the criminal justice system are clearly visible when one looks at footage portraying the situation in Ferguson in the last few days. The shooting of Michael Brown has led to worldwide discussions about race relations, segregation, and the use of force by the police in the United States of America.

    How should police officers deal with violence when they are at work? When should the police refrain from using force and when is the use of force justified and proportional? And how can a tragedy similar to the shooting of the unarmed Michael Brown be prevented in the future?

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  • Ebola and the Questions It Raises

    August 14, 2014

    On August 8, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan declared the West Africa Ebola crisis a “public health emergency of international concern,” saying “our collective health security depends on urgent support for containment in the affected countries”, triggering powers under the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR). The Ebola outbreak raises a number of questions. Has the WHO responded to Ebola as swiftly as it should have? Since 1976 more than 15 Ebola outbreaks have erupted in sub-Saharan Africa, so why hasn’t it been eradicated already? And what about ethical questions?

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  • ICC to Investigate War Crimes in Gaza?

    August 8, 2014

    On July 23, Navi Pillay, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, suggested that attacks on civilians by both Israel and Hamas may have violated international law “in a manner that could amount to war crimes.” Senior British lawyers have written to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, urging it to investigate “crimes” committed in Gaza, including the destruction of homes, hospitals and schools. The lawyers say that it is within the ICC’s jurisdiction to act because the government of Palestine made a declaration in 2009 accepting the court’s role and the UN has since acknowledged Palestine as a non-member observer state.

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  • Warsaw Uprising 70th Anniversary, 1944-2014

    August 1, 2014

    Today it is exactly seventy years ago the Warsaw Uprising began on Godzina W at 17.00 hours. It was part of a greater resistance operation Akcja Burza meaning Operation Tempest but often referred to in English as Operation Storm. The idea of national armed rising was there from the moment the Armia Krajowa the largest organisation in the Polish Resistance, formed after the German Occupation of Poland in 1939. The Polish resistance movement, consisting of the Armia Krajowa and affiliated organisations even became the largest underground resistance movement in Europe.

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  • The Destruction of the Cathedral of Reims, 1914

    July 23, 2014

    On 20 September 1914, German shellfire burned, damaged and destroyed important parts of the magnificent Cathedral of Reims. The destruction of the Cathedral was generally regarded as an act of sheer vandalism. At the time, it was generally admitted by writers on international law that if the military commander of a besieged place used a church or other building whose immunity had been established, as a stronghold, a storehouse, or an observatory, the besieger might bombard the site without being held responsible for damages caused in consequence of their proximity to other buildings which are liable to bombardment. Even the French war manual itself admitted this.

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  • Hague Academy Model United Nations on Drone Warfare and International Law

    July 17, 2014

    Directed energy weapons, drones, self targeting bullets, mobile tactical high energy lasers, military robots, spy weapons, weapons undetectable under an x-ray scan, remote controlled insect armies, self driving tanks, robotic mules, thermal camouflage, surveillance technologies and autonomous unmanned systems are some examples of the high tech weapons and military technology that are now used during warfare. The use of this state of the art military technology raises serious ethical and legal questions: (when) is the use of drones acceptable?

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  • The Rights of Women and Elimination of Discrimination

    July 11, 2014

    On Monday the 18th of August 2014 the Centre for Studies and Research in International Law and International Relations will start. The Centre is a programme of The Hague Academy for International Law. Each year the Academy proposes a different research programme. This year’s programme is the Rights of Women and Elimination of Discrimination and the main focus will be on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the key international agreement on women’s human rights.

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  • Suárez: FIFA Showing Teeth?

    July 4, 2014

    Internationally renowned sports law experts gathered this week at the Asser Institute in The Hague to follow a week-long educational programme on international sports law. The timing is excellent as of course the World Cup in Brazil is going on and in one of the most remarkable sports moments of years to come Uruguayan striker Luis Suárez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on his shoulder.The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has banned Suárez for nine official matches and from taking part in any kind of football-related activity for a period of four months. Let’s look at the FIFA decision.

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  • A Supreme Offence against International Morality and the Sanctity of Treaties: William II of Hohenzollern and the Treaty of Versailles

    June 27, 2014

    Early during World War I, jurists and statesmen in both France and Great-Britain, such as Larnaude and Lapradelle, had advocated the German Emperor William II to be arrested and brought to trial. The principle that military officers should be held personally responsible for orders in violation of the laws and customs of war, if pushed to its logical limits, would render commanders-in-chief, that is heads of State, liable for illegal acts for which they are responsible, directly or indirectly. And in Germany, there was one commander-in-chief: the Emperor William II.

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  • Iconography of Bertha von Suttner

    June 20, 2014

    Baroness Bertha von Suttner, the Austrian 1905 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, has been an icon since the enormous success of her book “Lay down your arms”, published in 1889. As her fame grew internationally, she turned into a “modern day celebrity”. Stamps and coins bear her image, streets, schools and squares are named after her. Films and books about her life are mementos for her achievements. Here we present some images of Bertha von Suttner, showing her change from an Austrian countess, dressed for a ball in Viennese aristocratic circles to the formidable warrior for peace, the lady in the long black dress. Her face mirrors the struggles , the battles she fought to promote her ideals.

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