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Last Year's List

Date Title Author Reference
***New***
February
Ukraine war: casualty counts from either side can be potent weapons and shouldn’t always be believed Lily Hamourtziadou The Conversation
1 February 2023
The war in Ukraine is shaping up to be one of the bloodiest of the 21st century, with both sides reported to be losing hundreds of soldiers each day as the conflict moves towards its first anniversary. But quite how many people are dying in this bitter struggle depends on who is doing the reporting.
Norway's defence chief, General Eirik Kristoffersen, claimed recently that Russia has suffered 180,000 casualties to Ukraine's 100,000, not counting 30,000 Ukrainian civilian casualties. The chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley, claimed that Russian casualties are "significantly well over 100,000 now". US intelligence has reportedly suggested this figure is around 188,000.
But truth is said to be the first casualty of war and it is certainly possible that Kristoffersen and Milley are downplaying the number of Ukrainian casualties while overestimating Russia's.
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January The Law of Immunity and the Prosecution of the Head of State of the Russian Federation for International Crimes in the War against Ukraine Miguel Lemos EIL Talk
16 January 2023
The debate on how to prosecute the international crimes linked to the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine is ongoing (for example, here, here and here). One of the most prominent aspects of the debate concerns the question of how to prosecute the persons who are allegedly most responsible for such crimes, particularly, the head of state of the Russian Federation and commander-in-chief of its armed forces, Vladimir Putin.
The prevalent view is that, apart from prosecution in their own country, heads of state may only be prosecuted in an international court. Underpinning such view is a decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Arrest Warrant case. In this case, the ICJ considered that – despite the fact that heads of state, heads of government and foreign ministers enjoy "full immunity" from foreign jurisdiction and inviolability – they can be prosecuted before "certain international criminal courts". Hence, the debate has so far focused on the possibility of his prosecution at an international criminal court or tribunal. The debate has been particularly alive in what concerns aggression, the "supreme international crime".
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January Russia's Crime and Punishment - How to Prosecute the Illegal War in Ukraine Oona Hathaway Foreign Affairs
17 January 2023
As the conflict in Ukraine is about to enter its second year, Ukraine and the West are accelerating efforts to ensure that Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t get away with his illegal war. That has meant the West supplying weapons that were previously off the table, but it has also meant renewed attention to accountability. In November, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made clear that justice is a key condition for peace. "This," he explained, "is what stokes the greatest emotions." But while there are courts where Russians can be prosecuted for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, a major piece is missing: there is nowhere to try Putin and other top Russian leaders for launching the war in the first place. For this, a special tribunal for the crime of aggression is needed.
Scholars and diplomats have pointed out the double standard they see in calls to create a special court to try the crime of aggression by Russia when no mention has been made of holding U.S. or British leaders to account for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which violated the UN Charter by launching a war without clear Security Council authorization. (The United States argued that the Security Council had authorized military intervention when it gave Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations," but few agreed. ) That war set off a cascade of cataclysmic events and contributed to the rise of the Islamic State (or ISIS) and the Syrian refugee crisis.
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January A Ukraine Special Tribunal with Legitimacy Problems? Kai Ambos Verfassuns Blog
6 January 2023
The call for a Special Tribunal for the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is necessary since the jurisdiction of the ICC in the case of a crime of aggression is limited to State Parties, so both the attacking State and the victim State must be parties to the Statute. It was of course already known before the Russian invasion of Ukraine that this jurisdictional regime is much too narrow – why should the victim State, which is also a territorial State, not have jurisdiction over a crime of aggression committed on its territory?
When the crime of aggression was included in the ICC Statute in the course of the first review conference in Kampala in 2010, a broader jurisdictional regime was politically not feasible. In fact, the existing jurisdictional straightjacket was also promoted by France, the United Kingdom and the USA, i.e., the very Western States which now feel compelled to demand a UkrTrib, albeit being unclear whether they will join a respective treaty at all or whether they will refrain from doing so for fear of setting a precedent which could later turn against them.
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January What killer robots mean for the future of war Jonathan Erskine and Miranda Mowbray The Conversation,
10 January 2023
You might have heard of killer robots, slaughterbots or terminators – officially called lethal autonomous weapons (LAWs) – from films and books. And the idea of super-intelligent weapons running rampant is still science fiction. But as AI weapons become increasingly sophisticated, public concern is growing over fears about lack of accountability and the risk of technical failure.
Already we have seen how so-called neutral AI have made sexist algorithms and inept content moderation systems, largely because their creators did not understand the technology. But in war, these kinds of misunderstandings could kill civilians or wreck negotiations.
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January Year Ahead – The Hurdles To International Regulation Of AI Tools Ashley Deeks Articles of War
January 5, 2023
In 2023, non-governmental organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Stop Killer Robots will continue their calls for a new international legal framework to regulate autonomous weapons systems. Some States and scholars are optimistic about the possibility. These optimists often analogize to nuclear weapons regulation to illustrate that States sometimes have been willing to limit their own flexibility in strategic and sensitive areas – such as the one posed by the AI "arms race."
However, this analogy is flawed. There are good reasons to be skeptical about the prospects that States will achieve a new, robust multilateral agreement that implicates development of lethal autonomous systems or other "national security AI."
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