Looting and pillaging have been an aspect of warfare for millennia. Art theft, antiquities looting, and artifact trafficking is both profitable and easy, especially in countries where much of the ancient world is not yet excavated. This trade has served to fund many syndicates around the world over the last century, most recently becoming the main monetary support for terrorism.
In this note, Victoria Maatta argues that the US should help to combat the artifacts trade stemming from ISIL activities. She surveys the current caselaw and finds the standards that art and antiquities purchasers must abide by are unclear and current legal treatment of these issues ultimately does nothing to thwart illicit art trafficking.
Instead, Maatta proposes a more focused legal approach to the issue that prioritizes due diligence on the part of the purchaser and has the primary goal of ensuring the protection and proper ownership of the antiquities.
While the international community generally considers mass migrant population flows across nation-states a primarily humanitarian crisis, Aaron Petty argues that it is often an intentional tool of aggression used by nation-states. The weaponization of migrants is the instrumentalization of population flows through both the threat and the actual migration of people into the territory of a target state. Use of migrants as a weapons system has a long history of being employed by nation-states as an act of aggression to obtain strategic foreign policy objectives.
In this article, Petty suggests that the weaponization of migrants is likely to increase against the United States and its allies, particularly where the current geopolitical environment of strategic competition between large powers is playing out below the level of armed conflict. Petty argues that weaponization of migrants could be deemed a violation of international law relating to armed conflict, and the United States should advocate that such tactics are not legally permissible and may justify legitimate retaliation to deter such weaponization.
Daragh Murray, Pete Fussey, Lorna McGregor, and Maurice Sunkin explore the international human rights law implications of state surveillance.
Today, state surveillance involves the large-scale collection and analysis of digital data—activities which allow for widespread monitoring of citizens. And while commentary on the legality of these bulk surveillance regimes has focused on whether this routine surveillance is permissible, the European Court of Human Rights has recently held that, subject to appropriate safeguards, surveillance of this type is legitimate, and sometimes necessary, for national security purposes in a democratic society.
In their analysis, the authors outline the types of oversight mechanisms needed to make large-scale surveillance human rights compliant. To do so, they break down state surveillance into its constituent stages—authorization, oversight, and ex post facto review—and focus their attention on the first two stages of the process.
First, they argue that effective oversight of authorizations requires increasing data access and ensuring independent judicial review. Second, they argue that effective oversight of ongoing surveillance requires improving technical expertise and providing for long term supervision. The authors conclude that a “court-plus” model of judicial officers and non-judicial staff would deliver enhanced judicial qualities to authorizations while also providing continuous engagement through ongoing review and supervision.