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Showing posts from June, 2015

Cyber war and IHL

The word “war” probably brings up images of a battlefront. Guns pointed at the ready. Men in uniform standing with grim expressions. Tanks. Bombs. Grenades. Covering fires. Firing. Trenches. Hiding. Escaping. Running. Some dead. Some alive. Some just barely around the corner.
While you’re thinking that this is perhaps the sole form of war that’s been ubiquitous throughout much of the world’s history, war has also evolved with technology. I don’t mean the on-field weaponry and artillery – but the very battlefield itself that has transformed into a bloodless, weapon-less hub of warfare: the Internet.
States in the world face a very real threat in this day and age in the form of cyber attacks. With the world becoming increasingly dependent on computers and computer networks at every level, and paperwork increasingly going digital, war has also made a shift to the realm of cyberspace. Hostile states, non-state actors and individuals have not only taken to the internet as a means of expre…

A War Crimes Tribunal for Bangladesh

The process of building a society from scratch in the aftermath of any conflict must necessarily involve a judicial intervention. Justice is the surest way to sustainable peace. One may argue that nothing can truly restore losses - but justice offers a way to ensure that those who committed crimes cannot come back to harm the society because they have already been sentenced.
One of the places that most needs a judicial process to try past war crimes is Bangladesh. The birth of the nation involved a harsh struggle that claimed too many lives - as a crime of genocide was allegedly the handiwork of 195 Pakistani military officials who haven’t been tried thus far. Some of the people that even collaborated with the conduct of the war crimes became active politicians and served in governmental posts. In the light of the crimes that unfolded in Bangladesh, a war crimes tribunal is a necessary element in ensuring the delivery of justice that has been long overdue.
The promise of a war crimes tr…

Peace or Justice?

I’ve been doing this brilliant course under Professor Michael Scharf of Case Western Reserve University on International Criminal Law. My second module, specifically the part which lightly touched on the question of peace and justice and the trade-off between the both of them got me thinking. Angelina Jolie, in a short speech at an event by the Council of Foreign Relations explained that there can be no enduring peace without justice.
At first, it threw me off gear to know that there were situations where there was actually a trade off between the two. As the lecture proceeded, examples of exile-for-peace incidents were offered, revealing that leaders with blood on their hands were offered complete amnesty in exchange for their immunity from trial. When war rips a country apart by destroying its social, economic and political life, it impacts the last human being living there. He faces a complete deprivation of what he knew to be his normal life. Access to food and clean water become…