Tag Archives: International Humanitarian Law

ISIL as Salesmen? The Roles of Due Diligence and the Good Faith Purchaser in Illicit Artifact Trafficking

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.

Migrants as a Weapons System

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.  

Fighting in the Unknown: Lawful Measures to Neutralize Subterranean Threats

Subterranean operations have been an aspect of warfare since the beginning of recorded history. No longer just the complex tunnel networks facing U.S. forces during the Vietnam conflict, in today’s modern society, infrastructure to support megacities such as subway systems and sewers provide a third dimension for military planners to consider in conflicts.

The need to neutralize such threats is highlighted by Michael Meier as he explores the lawful measures that can be taken to conduct these operations. Meier’s contribution to this understudied subject first sets the stage by reviewing the subterranean domain, then looks at applicable law for subterranean operations, and then finally applies the law to the various methods for neutralizing and destroying tunnels and other subterranean systems.

This overarching summation of the ways to neutralize subterranean threats highlights the extent to which the legal issues in particular require careful consideration by commanders and legal advisors.