Aggression, from Cyber-Attacks to ISIS: Why International Law Struggles to Adapt

Albi Kocibelli
Vol. 39 Editor In Chief

Ius ad bellum and the notion of aggression have been a ‘yin yang’ for centuries.[1] Nevertheless, international law did not prohibit states from engaging in aggression until the conclusion of the Kellogg-Briand Pact.[2] Even then, the term was not defined.  In the aftermath of World War II, the act of aggression was equated with ‘waging of war’ by the Nuremberg Tribunal.[3] Twelve defendants were convicted of that crime.[4] The trial constitutes the fundamentals of the modern understanding of aggression. The term is used twice in the UN Charter. Paragraph 1 of Article 1 lists as one of the Charter’s purposes “the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace.” Article 39 empowers the Security Council to determine which acts constitute aggression. However, aggression is nowhere defined in the Charter. Instead, it imposes a general prohibition on the use of force in Article 2(4)[5] and exceptions under Article 51[6] and Chapter 7.[7]  Continue reading

South Korean and Japanese Diplomatic Crisis over Comfort Women Statue

Andrew Fletcher
Vol. 39 Production Editor

In January 2017, Japan recalled its ambassador to South Korea. This latest setback in the tense relationship between Japan and South Korea centers on a dispute over a statue located in front of the Japanese consulate in Busan. The statue depicts a ‘comfort woman,’ a reference to the thousands of women, many Korean, who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial government to be used by the Japanese military during World War II. This historical issue has created enormous tension between Japan and South Korea. In 2015, South Korea and Japan signed an agreement that was intended to put the issue to rest. When a civic group in Busan erected a ‘comfort women’ statue next to the Japanese consulate in Busan, the Japanese government claimed that South Korea had broken its agreement and violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Continue reading

From Compulsion to Cooperation: The Importance of the Local in a Global World

Lakshmi Gopal
Vol. 39 Managing Online Content Editor

Trends in electoral politics in nations across the world have given political expression to a rhetoric of nationalism that presents itself as a “turn away” from international cooperation.[1] As the global community experiences the resurgence of nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric, public discourse on the future of international law remains increasingly focused on the tension between nationalism and the demands of international cooperation. While the international community bemoans these tragedies of the national commons, as it continues to articulate models for humanity’s shared future, it also important to contextualize these changes in the broader context of global change. Continue reading

Water, Water, Everywhere, and Not a Drop to Drink: Transboundary Freshwater Management and Climate Change

Stephanie Zable
Vol. 39 Articles Editor

Mexico City is sinking.[1] So concludes a New York Times article detailing the implications of climate change for Mexico City. But the article also notes the most severe and immediate consequence of climate change for cities all over the world: the effect on fresh water resources. In many places, climate change will cause longer and more frequent droughts, while increased heat will cause an increase in evaporation of groundwater and a decrease in river-feeding snowpack.[2] Critically, these effects will vary place-to-place, so changes will occur in not only water quantity but also water distribution. The result is that the world is about to see a massive shift in water-wealth and -poverty that will have drastic and potentially devastating effects on freshwater resources around the globe.[3] Continue reading

Seeking Reform of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Alejandra Salmeron
Vol. 39 Managing Editor

Family law permeates many major contemporary international issues, yet it is rarely discussed alongside international law. Issues at this cross-section are full of complexities and curious combinations of international law and domestic custody law.[1] Custody disputes under The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“Convention”) are a particularly relevant and increasingly prevalent example of this intersection between family law and international law.[2] Cases brought under the Convention bring to light the difficulties that institutions face when applying laws, crafted at the international level with a broad mission to the domestic and local levels.[3] Though helpful in the fight against child abduction, the Convention is not without its limitations. A stronger scholarly movement for review and reform is necessary. Continue reading