Groningen Journal of International Law

International Law Under Construction


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The Truth under Siege: Does International Humanitarian Law Respond Adequately to Information Warfare?

Vishakha Choudhary | vishakhac995@gmail.com

The significant threat posed by disinformation campaigns in armed conflicts is not a novel concern. Its first prominent manifestation can be traced back to a fabricated telegram alleging the sabotage of the cruiser USS Maine, which led to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. Arquilla and Ronfeldt, leading academicians on Cyber warfare, describe this phenomenon as ‘Netwar’, the process of “trying to disrupt, damage, or modify what a target population ‘knows’ or thinks it knows”.

As traditional methods of warfare invite increased scrutiny, resort to Netwar has become commonplace, fueled by the proliferation of media platforms. Fake news disseminated through Facebook was instrumental in inciting persecution of Rohingyas in Myanmar and information broadcasted over the radio fuelled hate crimes against Tutsis in Rwanda. Moreover, Russian cyber operations have reportedly led to a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf since 2017 and spurred an internal conflict in Ukraine. Pertinently, non-state actors have also turned to disinformation campaigns to advance their cause, as evinced by ISIS’s twitter operations. This post discusses the enforceability and fortitude of International Humanitarian Law (‘IHL’) norms against this form of information warfare. Continue reading


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Calling Out Collective Punishments in the Context of the Kashmir Situation (Part II)

Read the first part of this post here

Ishita Chakrabarty | ishita.chakrabarty24@gmail.com

India’s Violation of Customary IHL Principles

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts (AFSPA) and the Public Safety Act introduced the obligation of the prosecutor to obtain prior sanction from the Union Government before initiating prosecution against the police and the paramilitary forces. Various charges have been leveled against officials, ranging from the commission of extra-judicial executions to deliberate torture, the killing of detainees in custody and reprisal killing of civilians. In some cases, the State Police even refused to register the charges. For instance, in 2017, the video of a civilian tied to an army jeep showed the Government’s animosity towards its own citizens. The civilian was being used as a human shield to avert incidents of stone pelting. Continue reading


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Calling Out Collective Punishments in the Context of the Kashmir Situation (Part I)

Ishita Chakrabartyishita.chakrabarty24@gmail.com

Introduction

On 14 June 2018, the OHCHR released a report on the human rights violations committed by India in the Kashmir region. India reacted to the report by snubbing it as “fallacious, tendentious and motivated”. Despite identifying the human rights violations committed by India, the report contains no mention of the State’s constant transgression of International Humanitarian Law (‘IHL’) norms. In light of this omission, the present contribution intends to examine India’s violations of its IHL obligations in the context of the Kashmir situation with a special focus on State-inflicted collective punishments on the civilian population. Continue reading