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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.

  • Robots and Rights

    November 16, 2017

    Recently, an intelligent and human looking robot named Sophia made global headlines when Saudi Arabia granted the humanoid robot Saudi citizenship. According to the headlines, Saudi Arabia became the first country to grant a robot citizenship. The news caused quite a stir – the female looking robot was not wearing a hijab, she was not accompanied by a male guardian and the robot was awarded citizenship, which made it look like a humanoid intelligent robot was given more rights than women and migrants living in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is known for its restrictive policy concerning women’s rights and Saudi women have only recenly been given the right to drive a car. Perhaps it is a bit premature to give an AI humanoid robots like Sophia citizenship rights. Was it a publicity stunt? Yes.

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  • Key Connecting Factors in International Child Abduction Cases

    November 10, 2017

    One of the main problems in international child abduction cases is to determine which country’s courts should decide a case and which legal system should apply. The subject of this blog is to give some insights in the main connecting factors in international child abduction cases, with an emphasis on the “habitual residence” of very young children as connecting factor. The main question is whether the parental intentions or the physical presence of a child in a state is primordial to establish habitual residence.

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  • The Washington Naval Treaty: Averting the Allied Arms Race

    November 2, 2017

    The 1916 US Naval Act and its 1918 proposed expansion triggered a Naval Arms Race between it and it’s allied nations of Great Britain and Japan.
    Finally, the United States Government invited the principal naval powers to a conference to discuss the situation and end the Naval Arms Race.
    A bold opening suggestion from the US government resulted in the scrapping and halting of most naval capital ships.
    The Washington Naval Treaty signed on the 6th of February 1922

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  • Targeted Killing of European Foreign Terrorist Fighters in Syria and Iraq

    October 25, 2017

    In recent years, a significant number of European nationals have travelled to Syria or Iraq to train and fight with terrorist groups such as the Islamic State (IS). This flow of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) has posed serious security concerns for Europe, in particular with regards to the threat posed by FTFs returning to Europe to carry out terrorist attacks. In this context, it appears that a number of States have resorted to targeted strikes against their citizens in Syria and Iraq.

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  • Book Review: War, Peace and International Order?

    October 12, 2017

    This book attempts to assess the history and on-going relevance of the 1899 and 1907 Hague peace conferences, the conventions they brought into being, the institutions they established and the precedents they set. The exact legacies of the two conferences remain unclear. On the one hand, diplomatic and military historians, who cast their gaze to 1914, traditionally dismiss the events of 1899 and 1907 as insignificant footnotes on the path to the First World War. On the other, experts in international law posit that The Hague’s foremost legacy lies in the manner in which the conferences progressed the law of war and the concept and application of international justice.

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  • Breakthrough in the Debate about the Nature of the EU

    October 5, 2017

    In January 2013, PM David Cameron delivered a speech on Europe in which he announced his decision to give the people a say on British membership of the EU. His address, which triggered a series of blogs on this website about the nature of the EU, contained a remarkable dichotomy. In the ensuing debate, the EU proved to be unable to defend itself against the accusations of its opponents that it forms a ‘Fourth Reich’, a modern Leviathan or even the reincarnation of the medieval Golem of Prague.

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  • Catalonia’s Referendum for Independence

    September 29, 2017

    June 9, 2017, Catalonia’s regional president, Carles Puigdemont, announced an independence referendum will be held on 1 October. Voters would be asked: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent country in the form of a republic?” Spain’s central government continues to say it will block the referendum using all the legal and political means at its disposal. Although the Catalonia regional government has insisted the unilateral poll will go ahead on Sunday, the Spanish government has vowed to stop the vote, which it says is a clear violation of the constitution. Spain’s constitutional court has suspended the legislation underpinning the referendum while it rules on its legality.

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  • Hurricane-Irma_Jose

    Natural Disasters and International Law

    September 14, 2017

    Natural disasters like the hurricanes Irma and Jose took a deadly path through the Caribbean and Florida, causing widespread destruction. Over the last decade, major natural disasters, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, have focused world attention on the importance of having adequate national legal frameworks in place for disaster prevention and response. Legislation plays a crucial role in promoting and supporting disaster risk reduction as well as in guaranteeing the speed and effectiveness of disaster response. This blog explains in short the role and importance of international disaster response law.

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  • The Martens Clause: A New Library Special

    August 31, 2017

    The Martens clause is named after the Russian diplomat and international law professor Fyodor Fyodorovich Martens (1845-1909), the Russian delegate at the The Hague Peace Conferences in 1899. The Martens clause came into existence as a diplomatic statement made by diplomat Martens who wanted to come up with a solution for a disagreement between large occupying forces and smaller states. Martens, who was of the opinion that international law should illuminate and set normative standards, created the clause to fill a legal vacuum and help alleviate the horrors of war. The clause serves as a reminder that an act is not just yet permissible when an act of war is not expressly prohibited by international law or customary law.

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  • China’s Ascendency as Vanguard of Traditional Knowledge in International Law Fora

    August 24, 2017

    The People’s Republic of China has made great strides towards a commercial rule of law in regard to intellectual property law. International law has helped raise the bar for the protection and enforcement standards of intellectual property law in China. Now, that China has realized the potential of intellectual property law for innovation, culture and commerce it has become a vocal advocate in international law fora to reform intellectual property law in line with their ideas about Traditional Knowledge.

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