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Australian David Hicks has had his conviction for providing material support to terrorist organisations overturned in the US. AAP/Nikki Short

Hicks conviction overturned – is he owed an apology or assistance?

Based on the Abbott government’s stance to date, there seems little chance of David Hicks receiving an effective remedy – at least not voluntarily
The captain of the Costa Concordia has been sentenced to 16 years' jail after the ship ran aground off the coast of Italy two years ago. EPA/Luca Zennaro

If a company causes death at sea, don’t assume that means jail time

Late last week, an Italian court sentenced the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner, Francesco Schettino, to 16 years' jail after finding him guilty of multiple charges of manslaughter. On January…
The internet and cloud computing transcend borders. Now it’s time for international law to catch up. Data courtesy Marc Imhoff of NASA GSFC and Christopher Elvidge of NOAA NGDC. Image by Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, NASA GSFC.

A new legal framework for the age of cloud computing

Cloud computing, by its very nature, transcends location, geography and territorial boundaries. Data accessed in one country might be stored half way across the world, or even in servers in multiple countries…
The High Court decision on 157 asylum seekers detained at sea in 2014 – as well as recent legislative changes – raises concerns about the rights of asylum seekers. AAP/Lukas Coch

Australia can detain asylum seekers on the high seas, the High Court decides

On Wednesday, the High Court handed down an important judgment on the legality of the interception of asylum seeker vessels and the detention of those onboard on the high seas. It ruled, by a 4:3 majority…
At the Israeli separation barrier in Bethlehem, Palestinians watch a projection of Mahmoud Abbas speaking at the UN General Assembly before a November 2012 vote that paved the way for ICC membership. EPA/Abed al Hashlamoun

What admitting Palestine to the International Criminal Court means

2015 began with Palestinian leaders having submitted the paperwork to become signatories to the Rome Statute, the document that governs the International Criminal Court (ICC). Last week, United Nations…
Torture victims will soon be lining up to sue the US. What are their chances? EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

Explainer: can people tortured by the CIA now sue the US?

The US Senate’s report on the torture carried out by the CIA makes shocking reading. Questions will be asked about whether individual victims can sue for compensation for losses suffered, and where they…
No other minister has the same unchecked control over the lives of other people as the immigration minister has. AAP/Lukas Coch

New law gives Morrison unprecedented control over asylum seekers

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison now has unchecked power to decide the outcomes that will affect the lives of asylum seekers and refugees coming to Australia. Previous immigration ministers have had…
A ban on resettling asylum seekers from Indonesia calls into question the rationale of Australia’s resettlement program. EPA/Hotli Simanijuntak

Questioning the queue: blocking protection to asylum seekers in Indonesia

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has announced that asylum seekers residing in Indonesia while awaiting protection will no longer obtain resettlement in Australia. This move puts into serious question…
The new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, criticised Australia in his opening address to the UN Human Rights Council. EPA/Salvatore di Nolfi

Explainer: why is the UN reviewing Australia’s record on torture?

The Australian government is being examined on Monday evening by the United Nations Committee against Torture. Before the independent committee of experts, an Australian government delegation has to answer…
A carrier’s liability for damage, loss or delay of baggage is governed by a number of overarching international treaties. Adam Fagen

What to claim for lost, delayed or damaged bags on overseas flights

If you get on a plane and your baggage ends up being delayed, damaged or lost, who’s responsible: you or the airline? And what rules apply when you’re flying between different countries – even if you don’t…
Air strikes in Syria are the latest phase of the war against Islamic State, each stage involving a fresh set of moral judgements. EPA/US Air Force

Moral dilemmas of war against Islamic State lack easy answers

Every generation in recent memory has had seminal historical conflicts which demand that lessons must be learnt. The baby boomers had the Vietnam war. Their parents: the second world war. And our generation…
When Immigration Minister Scott Morrison talks of restoring integrity to the program, he isn’t fretting about meeting international legal obligations. AAP/Lukas Coch

Abandon all hope the doubly persecuted people who enter by boat

Whenever an immigration minister states that new laws will “restore integrity” to the immigration program it is clear what they mean is we have new ways of refusing cases and punishing the bad refugees…
Charting new waters. EPA/Alexey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/KREM

BRICS keep supporting Russia in bid to rebalance world power

While Western nations beef up economic sanctions and Nato discusses what stance to take toward Russia, the BRICS are maintaining tacit support for Moscow despite the Ukraine crisis. This is not entirely…
Does Tony Abbott’s justification for Australian involvement in Iraq amount to a legal basis for our commitment? AAP/Dave Hunt

Australia’s military involvement in Iraq is legal – for now

The humanitarian missions by the Royal Australian Air Force in Iraq are in accordance with international law, despite a confusing statement by Iraq’s ambassador to Australia, Mouayed Saleh. But continued…
Yes…but is it war? Inspecting weapons seized in east Ukraine. EPA/Tatyana Zenkovich

Explainer: when does a conflict become a war?

Is the conflict in Ukraine a war? This question has been raised in recent reports about a Russian invasion in Ukraine on the Caspian Sea. The USA and other NATO powers call it an “incursion”; the Baltic…
A coffin bearing the remains of a victim from flight MH17 arrives in the Netherlands. In determining compensation, the onus is on the airline to prove it wasn’t at fault or negligent. EPA/Bas Czerwinski

The loss of flight MH17: how much compensation – and who pays?

On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight 17 (MH17) – an international passenger flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur – crashed in eastern Ukraine. All 298 passengers and crew were killed. It appears…

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