ICC Reluctance to Prosecute ISIS: Legitimate Jurisdictional Issue or a Lack of Institutional Backbone?

Jenny Elkin
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

The past few years have seen a dramatic rise of Islamic fundamentalism across the Middle East in the form of radical militant group ISIS. Responsible for targeted killings, rape, genocide, and destruction across huge swaths of land, ISIS fighters have steadily been establishing a dangerous stronghold in Iraq and Syria.[1] The international community, recognizing the need to stymie the spread of ISIS, has chosen to act in various ways. Some organizations have focused on assisting displaced persons, some countries have chosen military responses in the form of drone strikes, and still other groups have taken up arms locally.[2] Amal Clooney has recently made headlines by announcing that she plans to sue ISIS on behalf of her client, a woman horrifically injured by ISIS militants.[3] This has focused attention on another potential course of action against ISIS: prosecution by the International Criminal Court (the “ICC”). Continue reading

“Almost Like Ghosts”: Who is Responsible for Abandoned Refugees?

Salam Sheik-Khalil
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

On September 30, the Jordanian government finally agreed to a deal with the U.N. to resume humanitarian aid to 75,000 Syrians stranded on the Jordanian-Syrian border.[1] Living in a harsh desert no-man’s land known as “the berm,” some since July 2014, the Syrians had been refused entry to Jordan.[2] Conditions at the “berm” had become severe—water was scarce, aid organizations were denied entry, and the last food delivery (a 30-day supply) had been in early August.[3] A representative from Medicins San Frontiers (MSF, also known as Doctors without Borders) described the Syrians as follows: “They are not really even permitted to exist where they are so they are sort of being insidiously phased out of existence — almost like ghosts. They’re not seen and they are not recognized by any entity.”[4]

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Who Stands to Benefit from Strict Intercountry Adoption Policies?

Zoe Dixon
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

The age of globalization has allowed businesses to operate in the global economy at a level of interconnectedness not previously imaginable.[1] Increase in cross-border transactions brings continuous flows of capital, commodities, and technology to the furthest corners of the Earth.[2] It also brings ethical issues.[3] As the world’s economies become more interdependent, disparities in wealth and power grow larger, and the risk and potential consequences of a single economy’s movements affecting the rest vastly increase.[4] These phenomena bring support for the idea that because we are all participants in the international economy by sharing the Earth’s limited resources, all people are responsible for the wellbeing of all others who share the planet.[6]

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Technology Rising: Problems in Applying the International Laws of War to Cyber Attacks

Katie Cassidy-Ginsberg
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

As technology continues to become more sophisticated, the problems in the laws governing cyber attacks and cyber security correspondingly grow. In setting the law and policy governing cyber attacks, the problem has often been thought of as “fighting a cyber-war,”[1] in which such cyber attacks are analogized to war or attacks of war.[2] The application of the international laws of war, however, has serious flaws in its application to cyber security. The uncertainty regarding when a cyber attack constitutes an “armed attack” and the difficulties in attributing such attacks to state actors create loopholes within which hackers can strike. Continue reading

The United Kingdom as an Independent Member of the World Trade Organization: A Strategic Forecast?

Jose-Ignacio Saldana
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

On the eve of the historic referendum held in the United Kingdom (UK) to decide whether to leave the European Union (EU), Roberto Azevêdo, current Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), discussed the implications that an exit from the EU could have on the UK’s status as a member of the WTO. Mr. Azevêdo highlighted the potential challenges in the need to re-establish trade relationships with the EU Member States and the rest of the countries with which the EU currently has trade agreements. He pointed out that the UK would need to “re-establish its terms of trade with the WTO” after its exit from the EU. [1] A number of issues arise out of this scenario, including whether it could be possible for the UK to obtain a realistic projection of its future membership status within the WTO before leaving the EU, and decide whether to halt “Brexit” in view of these considerations, if possible.

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From North Dakota to Geneva: The Legal Battle Behind the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline

Katrina Fetsch
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

In recent weeks, a normally peaceable state has found itself rife with conflict as protests erupted over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota. The opposition began with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who opposed the pipeline on the grounds that its construction would result (and indeed has resulted) in the destruction of important historical and cultural artifacts, including ancestral graves, and that the pipeline’s proximity to the area’s water source poses a grave threat to the tribe’s drinking water. Continue reading

UN Accountability and the Haitian Cholera Epidemic

Stephanie Zable
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

On October 17th, a hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti accepted a patient with cholera. By October 22nd cholera was well-established along the Haitian coast,[1] and a Haitian laboratory had confirmed Haiti’s first case of cholera in over a century.[2] In the six years since, the death toll of the Haitian cholera epidemic has reached at least 9,200, though reports indicate it could be much higher.[3] Some suggest that the reason for the rapid spread and high death toll is that Haitians had no immunity to cholera, as it had never before been seen in Haiti.[4] The disease was introduced into the country by Nepalese peacekeepers working at a base for the United Nations Stabilization Mission for Haiti (MINUSTAH). The base, located only two kilometers from the first reported cases, dumped untreated sewage into the nearby river, which fed into one of Haiti’s main water supplies.[5] The humanitarian crisis caused by the rapid spread of the cholera was thus directly attributable to the UN presence.

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Russian Hacking and the U.S. Election: Against International Law?

Andrew Fletcher
Vol. 38 Associate Editor

There has recently been speculation by security experts and the Democratic Party that the Russian Government is using cyber-attacks to influence this year’s presidential election in the United States.[1] If true, the Russian Government could have the ability to shape America’s politics, while destabilizing its internal democratic system. Because of the threat that a cyber-attack potentially poses to a state’s democratic processes it is important to examine whether such an action is in violation of international law or norms and what, if anything, international law can do about it.

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Volume 37:2


James C. Hathaway
Special Feature Seventh Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law // pdf // repository

James C. Hathaway 
The Michigan Guidelines on Risk for Reasons of Political Opinion // pdf // repository

Catherine Dauvergne
Toward a New Framework for Understanding Political Opinion // pdf // repository


Sharon Bassan
Shared Responsibility Regulation Model for Cross-Border Reproductive Transactions // pdf // repository

Volume 37:1


S.I. Strong
Reasoned Awards in International Commercial Arbitration: Embracing and Exceeding the Common Law-Civil Law Dichotomy// pdf // repository

Charles W. Mooney, Jr. 
A Framework for a Formal Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism: The Kiss Principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) and Other Guiding Principles // pdf // repository

Odysseas G. Repousis
On Territoriality and International Investment Law: Applying China’s Investment Treaties to Hong Kong and Macao // pdf // repository


Jesse W. Stricklan
Testing Constitutional Pluralism in Strasbourg: Responding to Russia’s “Gay Propaganda” Law // pdf // repository