Armed Groups and International Law Blog – six months!

About the author(s):

Katharine Fortin is an Associate Professor at Utrecht University where she teaches IHL and IHRL. Before joining Utrecht University, she worked at the ICTY, ICC and Norton Rose Fulbright. She is the author of The Accountability of Armed Groups under Human Rights Law (Oxford University Press, 2017) which won the 2018 Lieber Prize. She has written widely about the framework of law that applies to armed groups in non-international armed conflicts and is one of the editors of the Armed Groups and International Law blog.

 Yesterday, it was six months since the Armed Groups and International Law blog began. We’d like to take this opportunity to share our progress with you and invite feedback on what you like about the blog, what you don’t like and what you’d like to see in the months to come. 

Visits to the blog

We are happy to report that in the last six months the Armed Groups and International Law blog has had over 8,200 views from 108 different countries. These include many countries which are experiencing or have recently experienced armed conflict involving armed groups or internal unrest, for example Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Myanmar/Burma, Colombia, Pakistan and Nigeria. If the statistics are arranged by ‘top views by country’, we can see that the four countries which provide the blog with the greatest number of visitors are The Netherlands, the US, the UK and Switzerland. 

The site statistics show that the number of visits to the blog is steadily rising month by month. It has increased from 362 in July (the blog’s first full month) to 2,310 in November (the blog’s latest full month). 

Since we started, we are pleased to see an increasingly high number of outgoing clicks on the blog. These are instances where viewers click on one of the blog’s links to see the document or news story being referred to and, as such, are a good indication that viewers are finding the content of the blog useful.  

Analytical posts

Since the blog began, Rogier and I have written analysis on topics as diverse as the protection of cultural property in Mali (see here), the ‘organisational requirement’ as applied to the Syrian conflict (see here, here and here), the relevance of ceasefires to the application of international humanitarian law (see here), the outstanding arrest warrants against Bosco Ntaganda in the DRC and the M23 rebel group (see here and here ) and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court’s recent finding that there is a reasonable basis to believe that Boko Haram has committed crimes against humanity in Nigeria  (see here).

We have also been very pleased and honoured to be able to post guest articles from Dan Saxon on the ethical and legal obligations of journalists in situations of armed conflict (see here) and Diana Contreras-Garduno on the topic of the ICC Trial Chamber’s decision on reparations in the Lubanga case (see here).

The four most popular articles on the blog so far are as follows:- 

Syria and the geographical scope of international humanitarian law: moving towards a localised approach? by Katharine Fortin 

The organisational requirement for the threshold of non-international armed conflict applied to the Syrian opposition by Rogier Bartels 

Guest post by Dan Saxon: “Covering Syria: Ethical and Legal Obligations of Journalists” 

Guest post by Diana Contreras-Garduno: “Passing the buck: the ICC Trial Chamber’s approach in Lubanga Reparations decision” 

Legal Roundups

We have posted two legal roundups of academic publications, legal developments and blog discussions on legal issues relating to armed groups and international law, which we hope will be interesting for academics as well as and practitioners working in this field (see here and here).

What we would like to arrange in the coming months 

Top of our list for the coming year is the task of arranging more guest posts, as we are sure that you would like to hear more voices than just ours. If you are a regular reader of this blog, please consider contributing a guest post – short or long – on an issue relevant to the blog’s theme. 

We are going to try to install an option on the blog which will allow individuals who have signed up ‘by email’ to choose whether they receive (i) analytical posts and/ or (ii) news roundups. This requires a bit of wordpress wizardry that we don’t yet possess, so bear with us until we figure out how/whether this is possible. 

If have any suggestions as to what you would like to see on the blog or any general feedback, please do not hesitate to let us know by replying to this post or by contacting us. We will be not be posting between 22nd December and 7th January (unless there is an imperative reason to do so) so we would like to take this opportunity to already wish you a happy holiday!

All the best,

Katharine and Rogier

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