Chapter 5 Use of Force against Sovereign Immune Vessels

Law Enforcement v. Humanitarian Law Paradigm

In: Hybrid Threats and the Law of the Sea
Author:
Alexander Lott
Search for other papers by Alexander Lott in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Open Access

In the previously discussed Kerch Strait incident of 2018, the Russian Federation arguably made use of legal uncertainty by operating in a grey zone for complicating decision-making for other States. It seized three Ukrainian naval ships, including two warships, and arrested their crew as they were entering the Kerch Strait under freedom of navigation. In the context of the annexation of Crimea and armed conflict in Donbas region, this incident has raised the question of whether Russia’s actions in the Kerch Strait should be considered as being undertaken in the legal framework of international humanitarian law.1 The annexation of Crimea has been referred to as an international armed conflict not only in the relevant literature, but also by, for example, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court,2 which has also pointed to the possibility that there apparently was a “direct military engagement between the respective armed forces of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, suggesting the existence of an international armed conflict in the Donbas region from 14 July 2014 at the latest, in parallel to the non-international armed conflict.”3

If the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal delivers its ruling based on a peacetime legal framework, then it will provide guidance for assessing the legality of similar hybrid naval conflicts also in the future. Conversely, should the Arbitral Tribunal find that the legality of the Russian Federation’s actions against the Ukrainian warships need to be assessed from the perspective of international humanitarian law, then it sends an equally significant signal for any State that intends to adopt similar measures against its adversary in the future.

5.1 In dubio pro jus in bello?

In the context of the laws of peace and war, hybrid naval conflicts are by their nature borderline cases. The Kerch Strait incident is not the first and will not remain the last of its kind. From that perspective, one may wonder if there is a need for developing a simplifying principle for addressing such borderline cases. For example, if after a proper consideration of the merits of the case one is in doubt over the nature of an inter-State conflict, should we categorize it first and foremost as an armed conflict rather than a peacetime incident? In other words – in dubio pro jus in bello. The development of a guideline of such sort would be reasonable if it contributes to decreasing the current uncertainty as to the legal classification of hybrid naval conflicts.

Such principle might also serve as a deterrence against those States that seek to employ means of hybrid naval warfare. After all, currently their practices are, to a significant extent, based on exploiting the ambiguous thresholds of naval warfare. If an aggressor State acknowledges from the outset of its planned grey zone operations that the measures it seeks to adopt amount to an armed attack and will trigger an armed conflict for which it has to bear international responsibility, then it might potentially decrease its willingness to actually launch such operations. Such understanding would also contribute to balancing the position of a State that falls victim of a hybrid naval offensive as it would be arguably in a more solid legal standing for invoking the right of self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter for countering the hybrid naval attack. For example, in this context, the Russian Federation’s measures against the Ukrainian warships in the Kerch Strait incident of 2018 can potentially be categorized as an armed attack.4

Nonetheless, it is unclear how such principle which relies inevitably to some extent on the subjective assessment of the targeted State would reconcile with the case law of international courts and tribunals. This is discussed below (infra Chapter 5.3 of Part 2) with a focus on the icj’s Oil Platforms judgment and the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal’s Guyana v. Suriname award. First, the significance of the Oil Platforms judgment for the contemporary naval conflicts is discussed in the context of the threshold of an armed attack under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

5.2 Threshold of an Armed Attack in a Hybrid Naval Conflict

For unriddling the legal quagmire pertaining to grey zone conflicts, hybrid naval warfare needs to be legally assessed through the lens of an armed attack and the accompanying right of self-defence. Chapter 6 of Part 2 and Chapter 8.1 of Part 3 elaborate on the mine attacks that were carried out in 2019 against commercial ships sailing through the Strait of Hormuz as well as the attacks against ships sailing through the Bab el-Mandeb in the on-going Yemeni armed conflict. Chapter 4.8 of Part 2 examines the missile attacks against neutral merchant ships in the Black Sea in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The above-mentioned incidents bear resemblance to mine attacks against international vessel traffic in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq armed conflict (1980–1988). In this context, the Yemeni and Ukraine-Russia armed conflicts resemble the Iran-Iraq armed conflict since in both cases ships of neutral States were targeted by parties engaged in hostilities.

The mine attacks that occurred near the Strait of Hormuz against neutral ships in 1987 and 1988 were at the centre of the icj’s proceedings in the Oil Platforms Case. In its judgment, the icj addressed the question of the threshold of an armed attack under Article 51 of the UN Charter in the context of what one may characterize in modern terminology as a hybrid naval warfare. Hence, that judgment serves as one of the primary sources for the subsequent legal assessment of the implications of modern hybrid naval warfare to international security law and State responsibility.

In the 2003 Oil Platforms Case, the United States claimed that Iran attacked its vessels and lay mines in the Persian Gulf, thereby hampering international navigation.5 In particular, the United States alleged that Iran was responsible for a missile attack in 1987 against the United States-flagged tanker Sea Isle City, mining of two tankers (the United States-flagged Bridgeton and Panamian-flagged Texaco Caribbean in 1987), mining of the uss Samuel Roberts in 1988 and firing on United States Navy helicopters from gunboats and the Reshadat oil platform, while Iran denied responsibility for these acts.6 The United States, claiming the right of self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter, responded to these incidents by destroying first the Iranian Reshadat and Resalat oil platforms as well as later the Salman and Nasr platforms after it had issued a prior warning for allowing the evacuation of the platforms.7

The icj’s judgment in the Oil Platforms Case bears great significance for the legal regime governing contemporary hybrid naval warfare, particularly to the extent where the Court found that:

On the hypothesis that all the incidents complained of are to be attributed to Iran, and thus setting aside the question, examined above, of attribution to Iran of the specific attack on the Sea Isle City, the question is whether that attack, either in itself or in combination with the rest of the “series of … attacks” cited by the United States can be categorized as an “armed attack” on the United States justifying self-defence. The Court notes first that the Sea Isle City was in Kuwaiti waters at the time of the attack on it, and that a Silkworm missile fired from (it is alleged) more than 100 km away could not have been aimed at the specific vessel, but simply programmed to hit some target in Kuwaiti waters. Secondly, the Texaco Caribbean, whatever its ownership, was not flying a United States flag, so that an attack on the vessel is not in itself to be equated with an attack on that State. As regards the alleged firing on United States helicopters from Iranian gunboats and from the Reshadat oil platform, no persuasive evidence has been supplied to support this allegation. There is no evidence that the minelaying alleged to have been carried out by the Iran Air, at a time when Iran was at war with Iraq, was aimed specifically at the United States; and similarly it has not been established that the mine struck by the Bridgeton was laid with the specific intention of harming that ship, or other United States vessels. Even taken cumulatively, and reserving, as already noted, the question of Iranian responsibility, these incidents do not seem to the Court to constitute an armed attack on the United States, of the kind that the Court, in the case concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua, qualified as a “most grave” form of the use of force.8

This part of the Court’s reasoning in the Oil Platforms Case highlights the underlying legal premises because of which hybrid warfare has gained increasing momentum in international affairs. It demonstrates that the root causes that enable States to effectively employ methods of hybrid warfare lie in the laws defining State responsibility and an armed attack.

The United States Department of State legal adviser William Taft has reflected upon the icj’s judgment in the Oil Platforms Case and found that,

there is language in the opinion that might be read to suggest:

  1. that an attack involving the use of deadly force by a State’s regular armed forces on civilian or military targets is not an “armed attack” triggering the right of self-defense unless the attack reaches some unspecified level of gravity;
  2. that an attack must have been carried out with the intention of harming a specific State before that State can respond in self-defense;
  3. that self-defense may be directed only against targets of the attacking State that have been the subject of specific prior complaints by the defending State; and
  4. that measures taken in self-defense must be proportional to the particular attack immediately preceding the defensive measures rather than proportional to the overall threat being addressed.9

Taft came to the conclusion that if this interpretation of the judgment corresponds to the icj’s real intentions, then it would “undermine the ability of States to deter aggression and would therefore have the unfortunate effect of encouraging, rather than discouraging, the use of force.”10 Indeed, recent State practice shows that low-intensity armed conflicts between the armed forces of States have gained an increased momentum, e.g., the annexation of Crimea in 2014 or the alleged hybrid naval warfare between Iran and Israel in the waters around the Arabian Peninsula.

When occupying the Crimean Peninsula, the Russian Federation was cautious in avoiding any intensive fighting with the Ukrainian forces stationed in Crimea. Moreover, as in the conflict in the Donbas region, the Russian Federation ordered its troops in Crimea to remove their fixed distinctive emblems in order to conceal the direct control over its troops.11 Only months later the Russian Federation admitted that Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation’s forces,12 but has still denied any direct control over the armed troops in the eastern Ukrainian conflict. Allen, Hodges and Lindley-French have explained that the threat to the international legal order that accompanies such low-intensity warfare with the minimal war-fighting cost is that:

Over time adversaries become de-sensitized to low-level coercion and see it as ‘white’ noise, part of the new ‘normal’ in an engineered unstable relationship between Russia and its neighbours, affording Moscow the ability to apply pressure where and when it wishes across a whole swath of Europe. … Russian developments in artificial intelligence (ai), super-computing, and machine learning, as well as nano-technologies, drones, and other semi or fully autonomous delivery systems, are all designed to intimidate Europeans short of war, in what some rather unhelpfully call the ‘grey zone’. They are also effectively exploiting the emergence of new weapons systems for political effect. The result is the kind of imbalance upon which complex strategic coercion feeds. … Russia’s overall aim is to re-draw the political map of eastern and south-eastern Europe to re-establish a new/old sphere of influence therein, by applying a model of warfare across a mosaic of conflict that incorporates hybrid war, cyber war, and, in the worst case, high-end hyperwar.13

In this context, it becomes increasingly important to acknowledge the limits of an armed conflict, as provided in, e.g., the Tadić test (see supra Chapter 3.2 of Part 1). The Tadić test does not mention the gravity threshold which had a significant role in the icj’s judgment in the Oil Platforms Case. The Tadić test uses the broad expression ‘whenever there is a resort to armed force’. Another authoritative definition of an armed conflict is developed by the International Law Association that concluded that:

[A]s a matter of customary international law a situation of armed conflict depends on the satisfaction of two essential minimum criteria, namely:

  1. a.the existence of organized armed groups
  2. b.engaged in fighting of some intensity.14

The International Law Association’s report refers to a ‘fighting of some intensity’. It does not appear to imply a strict gravity threshold that would serve as a criterion for qualifying an aggression against another State to reach the level of an armed conflict. The icrc has explained in its commentaries on Common Article 2 of the Geneva Conventions that:

For international armed conflict, there is no requirement that the use of armed force between the Parties reach a certain level of intensity before it can be said that an armed conflict exists. Article 2(1) itself contains no mention of any threshold for the intensity or duration of hostilities. … Even minor skirmishes between the armed forces, be they land, air or naval forces, would spark an international armed conflict and lead to the applicability of humanitarian law. In the decades since the adoption of the Conventions, there has been practice and doctrine in support of this interpretation. Some States, for example, have considered that an international armed conflict triggering the application of the Geneva Conventions had come into existence after the capture of just one member of their armed forces. The lack of a requirement of a certain level of intensity has also been endorsed by international tribunals, with, for example, the icty holding that ‘the existence of armed force between States is sufficient of itself to trigger the application of international humanitarian law’. This view is also shared by a significant number of academic experts. There are compelling protection reasons for not linking the existence of an international armed conflict to a specific level of violence. This approach corresponds with the overriding purpose of the Geneva Conventions, which is to ensure the maximum protection of those whom these instruments aim to protect.15

The icrc’s above-cited commentary found support in the case law of the icty in downplaying the ‘gravity threshold’. Nonetheless, it should be mentioned that although the icty’s Tadić test affirms the existence of an armed conflict “whenever there is a resort to armed force between States”, the same decision still embraces the criterion of intensity of fighting. After defining the threshold of an armed conflict, the icty found in relation to the disputed events in the former Yugoslavia that:

These hostilities exceed the intensity requirements applicable to both international and internal armed conflicts. There has been protracted, large-scale violence between the armed forces of different States and between governmental forces and organized insurgent groups.16

However, three years later, the icty unequivocally distanced itself from the ‘gravity threshold’ when it found in relation to the threshold of an international armed conflict that:

[T]he existence of armed force between States is sufficient of itself to trigger the application of international humanitarian law … In its adjudication of the nature of the armed conflict with which it is concerned, the Trial Chamber is guided by the Commentary to the Fourth Geneva Convention, which considers that “[a]ny difference arising between two States and leading to the intervention of members of the armed forces” is an international armed conflict and “[i]t makes no difference how long the conflict lasts, or how much slaughter takes place.17

In 2007, that position was adopted by the International Criminal Court that also referred to the same quote of the icrc’s Commentary to the Fourth Geneva Convention.18

By contrast, Greenwood observes that both case law (the icj’s judgment in the Nicaragua Case) and State practice often do not treat isolated incidents between States - especially if they occur in the maritime domain - as an armed conflict.19 On the other hand, Dinstein notes that an international armed conflict may be a minor episode, which is commonly understood as a ‘short of war’ situation, e.g. attacks by naval units against ships of another State.20 Ruys concludes that “the idea of a general de minimis threshold, in the sense of a minimum gravity that must be attained before forcible acts can qualify as a use of force, is not supported by state practice and must be dismissed.”21 In the context of the divergence of views on that matter, it is significant that the icj has not ruled out that the use of force against “a single military vessel might be sufficient to bring into play the ‘inherent right of self-defence’”.22 This statement somewhat balances the otherwise restrictive approach of the icj to the limits of an armed attack under international law, as illustrated by the judgment in the Oil Platforms Case.

In the relevant legal literature, it has been even argued that “forcible action by a coastal State against a foreign fishing vessel may be considered an armed attack should the action result in casualties or major property damage and consequently, lead to the exercise of the right of self-defence.”23 By drawing an analogy from the icj’s judgment in the Oil Platforms Case, it is questionable whether the use of force against a single fishing vessel can amount to an armed attack. After all, a fishing vessel is a commercial vessel, whereas, as recognised by the itlos, “a warship is an expression of the sovereignty of the State whose flag it flies.”24 This does not exclude the possibility that a systemic use of force against fishing vessels of a concrete flag State can amount to an armed attack. Heintschel von Heinegg has concluded that:

[D]isproportionate or otherwise illegal measures, including disabling fire (i.e., shots into the rudder or bridge) or the sinking of a foreign merchant vessel, cannot be considered a use of force by a State against the flag State. This may, however, be different if the measures are taken not against individual ships only but against the entire merchant fleet of another State.25

The legal classification of such situations should be assessed on a case-by-case basis considering the context of each incident. For example, where a flag State’s campaign of hybrid warfare includes its fleet of fishing vessels systemically harassing the ships of another State, then the classification of the use of coercive measures against the fishing vessels as an armed attack against the relevant flag State would potentially result in unreasonably favouring the actual aggressor State in its campaign of hybrid warfare. After all, the systemic aggressive harassment by a fleet of fishing vessels of a particular flag State against the ships of another State can result in achieving the geopolitical aims of such hybrid campaign with a minimal risk for the aggressor State of its fishing vessels’ activities being categorised as an armed attack or the use of force.

The criterion of ‘sufficient gravity’ is found in the UN General Assembly Resolution 3314 Definition of Aggression. Its Article 2 stipulates that the first use of armed force by a State in contravention of the UN Charter constitutes prima facie evidence of an act of aggression although the Security Council may, in conformity with the UN Charter, conclude that a determination that an act of aggression has been committed would not be justified in the light of other relevant circumstances, including the fact that the acts concerned or their consequences are not of sufficient gravity. In essence, the icj has used the same standard in deciding over the limits of an armed attack as that reserved for the UN Security Council in determining whether an aggression has occurred.

As examined below, the gravity of an aggression is one of the key elements that has created a ‘room of manoeuvre’ for States involved in hybrid naval warfare. This phenomenon is next debated on a general theoretical level by drawing comparisons between the law enforcement and humanitarian law paradigms. In this context, special emphasis lies on discussing the borderline case of the 2018 Kerch Strait incident. In addition, recent developments in China’s domestic legal framework are debated from the perspective of whether they may give rise to similar conflicts to the one in the Kerch Strait also in the South China Sea or East China Sea.

5.3 Distinction between Law Enforcement and Humanitarian Law Paradigms

5.3.1 Lessons from the Kerch Strait

The recent hybrid naval conflicts in and around the Kerch Strait, the Bab el-Mandeb, and the Strait of Hormuz demonstrate that States have got accustomed to reaching their strategic and tactical aims via means of low-intensity clashes at sea that do not necessarily constitute an armed attack under the current case law of international courts and tribunals. On this basis, an aggressor can promote its strategic aims in the conflict and cause confusion about the legality of its measures.

In this context, one may wonder, for example, if the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal should approach in its on-going proceedings the Russian Federation’s 2018 aggression against Ukrainian warships in the Kerch Strait as a most grave form of the use of force that reaches the threshold of an armed attack under Article 51 of the UN Charter, as interpreted by the icj in the Nicaragua and Oil Platforms Cases. Klein has distilled from the Oil Platforms Case the following two key points:

First, there is an emphasis that the armed attack must clearly be targeted against the state that acts in individual self-defence. Second, the particular acts in question, namely mining of vessels and firing on helicopters, were not grave enough to be viewed as ‘armed attacks’ triggering the right of self-defence, even when considered cumulatively.26

Distinct from the 1988 mine attack against the United States warships in the Persian Gulf, it was clear in the Kerch Strait incident that the use of force was specifically targeted against the Ukrainian warships. The itlos observed that the context of the use of force was the following:

After being held for about eight hours, the Ukrainian naval vessels apparently gave up their mission to pass through the strait and turned around and sailed away from it. The Russian Coast Guard then ordered them to stop and, when the vessels ignored the order and continued their navigation, started chasing them. It was at this moment and in this context that the Russian Coast Guard used force, first firing warning shots and then targeted shots. One vessel was damaged, servicemen were injured and the vessels were stopped and arrested.27

However, it is unclear whether this constituted a most grave form of the use of force. In the on-going proceedings on the Kerch Strait incident, the Arbitral Tribunal can provide its understanding of what constitutes a most grave form of the use of force.

Notably, the suitability of the gravity threshold per se in assessing whether the use of force has triggered the right of self-defence has been questioned. Ruys, while noting that the legal concept of the gravity threshold is gaining ground,28 notes that:

[E]ven small-scale incursions may, under certain circumstances—in particular, when the intruder displays an obvious hostile intent—justify a (similarly small-scale) recourse to lethal force. Moreover, … the legality of such (small-scale) recourses to force cannot be explained by claiming that they remain below the alleged gravity threshold of Article 2(4) and fall, instead, within the “law enforcement” paradigm. It follows that the application of Article 2(4) is not subject to a general gravity threshold. The better view seems to be that whenever state A deliberately uses lethal force—even within its own territory—against the military or police units of state B, such actions come within the scope of Article 2(4).29

Furthermore, Taft has cautioned that the gravity threshold “would encourage States to engage in a series of small-scale military attacks, in the hope that they could do so without being subject to defensive responses.”30 Notably, still, the icj has made it clear that such low intensity use of arms at sea can amount to an armed attack when assessed cumulatively.31

In the Kerch Strait incident, it likely was difficult for the Ukraine Navy to determine whether the Russian Federation’s use of force against its warships was of sufficient gravity for entitling it to the right of self-defence. The itlos found in its provisional order on the Kerch Strait incident that “what occurred appears to be the use of force in the context of a law enforcement operation rather than a military operation”.32 Notably, Article 301 of losc prohibits “any threat or use of force” that is inconsistent with the UN Charter. The itlos’ classification of the Kerch Strait incident as falling within the ambit of the use of arms in the law enforcement paradigm does not necessarily mean that according to the itlos’ provisional assessment the measures taken by the Russian Federation were in conformity with the threshold of the prohibition of the threat or use of force under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.

Use of arms in the law enforcement framework can amount to a breach of the prohibition of the threat or use of force just like use of arms in the military activities paradigm can fall short of the threshold of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. In other words, a violation of the prohibition of the threat or use of force is not dependent on whether the relevant measures are classified under the law enforcement or military activities paradigm. Under both frameworks, the assessment of the legality of the relevant measures is subject to the same standard under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.

It has been argued that the primary criteria for the differentiation between the law enforcement and armed conflict paradigms are ‘the status, function or conduct of the person against whom force may be used’.33 In this context, the use of force by a State against the warships of another State, as in the case of the Kerch Strait incident, falls prima facie within the framework of military operations paradigm.

The Guyana v. Suriname case is particularly relevant for assessing the potential outcome of a dispute over the Kerch Strait incident as brought before the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal in the Dispute Concerning the Detention of Ukrainian Naval Vessels and Servicemen. In their dispute before the Tribunal, both Ukraine and the Russian Federation made surprisingly scarce references to the Guyana v. Suriname arbitration in their submissions to the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal.

Yet the two disputes have considerable overlap as they concern incidents that occurred in a disputed maritime area and that one of the parties to the dispute characterises as a law enforcement measure, whereas the other party claims that the relevant incident concerned military activities. In the Kerch Strait incident, force was actually used by one State against the warships of another State: targeted shots caused casualties among the servicemen and the shots as well as ramming resulted in material damages to the Ukrainian warships. The table below provides a short comparison between the two incidents from the perspective of the categorisation of the maritime incidents as falling either under the law enforcement or military activities paradigm (see Table 4).

Table 4

A comparison between Guyana v. Suriname and Ukraine v. Russia cases before the annex vii Arbitral Tribunal

Guyana v. Suriname

Ukraine v. Russia

Parties’ categorisation of the incident: Law enforcement v. military activities

Conflicting

Conflicting

The location of the incident

Disputed maritime area

Disputed maritime area

Ships involved

Suriname: two warships vs.

Guyana: a commercial ship and an oil rig

Russia: a combination of ten Russian

warships and Coast Guard vessels, a combat helicopter

vs.

Ukraine: two warships & a navy support vessel

Threat of force

Explicit

Explicit

Use of force

No

Yes: ramming, targeted shots, detention.

Casualties & material damages

No

Yes

Result

Military activities, not merely a law enforcement operation

To be decided

Based on the comparison between the two incidents, it is fair to say that the Russian Federation’s measures against the Ukrainian warships in the Kerch Strait incident exceeded the limits of a mere law enforcement operation. If the warnings issued from the Surinamese warships to a private person constituted a military activity partly due to the disagreements between Guyana and Suriname over the title to the relevant maritime area, then actual use of force against warships in a disputed maritime area in the wider framework of a prolonged armed conflict between the relevant two States should presumably also be deemed as falling under the jus ad bellum and jus in bello framework.

Furthermore, the test applied by the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal in the Guyana v. Suriname case for determining whether the measures used by Suriname fell under the law enforcement paradigm or amounted to a military activity involved to a significant level the subjective element which was combined with the ex post objective assessment by the Tribunal. The Tribunal explicitly put emphasis in its categorisation of the incident as falling outside the scope of law enforcement measures on the victim State’s and private persons’ subjective perspective according to which they felt themselves as being threatened by the use of force, although the other Party to the conflict strongly denied in the judicial proceedings that it had any intention to resort to the use of force.

In such border-line cases that even international judicial bodies are unable to definitely classify in their ex post (final or preliminary) assessments as either falling to the law enforcement or military operations category, the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal’s approach in the Guyana v. Suriname case to favour the ‘stronger’ categorisation, i.e. military activity over a law enforcement one, and relying on the subjective assessment of the situation by the targeted persons or State is a reasonable one. The different approach adopted by the icj in the Oil Platforms Case entails that a victim State in a low-intensity hybrid naval warfare risks the possibility of being eventually dubbed as an aggressor State if it has subjectively deemed itself entitled to the right of self-defence, whereas the objective ex post assessment reaches the opposite conclusion that the initial aggression did not meet the threshold of most grave form of the use of force.

The present author considers that if members of the crew of a government ship or warship are not entitled in a certain naval incident to the right of self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter and thus do not have the right to use force under the framework of international humanitarian law, then the legality of their measures to counter an aggression would be presumably assessed based on the criminal law concept of self-defence, even though it is meant to govern offences between private persons. The law enforcement paradigm does not usually apply on such occasions, since the attacked government ship or warship is not on a mission to enforce its laws against the sovereign immune vessel or private ship, but instead, as the Kerch Strait incident illustrates, force is unexpectedly used against it. In addition, the law of countermeasures, as recognised by international courts and tribunals, does not apply when confronting unlawful use of force. The Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal has unequivocally found that: “It is a well established principle of international law that countermeasures may not involve the use of force.”34 These issues are discussed further in Chapter 6.7 of Part 2 below.

In such circumstances of confronting use of force under criminal law framework of self-defence that sets stricter criteria on proportionality and necessity as compared to jus in bello, the actual victim State can somewhat paradoxically turn out to have violated the prohibition on the use of force under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter and Article 301 of losc. Consequently, it could be perceived as an aggressor by the public and international courts and tribunals in the potential proceedings in the aftermath of the conflict. This would cause, among other things, reputational harm to the actual victim State. In effect, such potential outcome can shift the general ramifications of a hybrid naval conflict in favour of the initial aggressor State as the victim State needs to exercise self-restraint in grey zone conflicts when responding to an actual use of force that possibly does not meet the strict threshold of Article 51 of the UN Charter.

In this context, it is possible that, for example, the Kerch Strait incident reached the threshold of an armed attack given that it (different from the circumstances of the M/V Saiga Case and the Guyana v. Suriname Case) involved the existence of two conflicting organized armed groups who were engaged in fighting of some intensity as illustrated by the exchange of fire and casualties among the crew of the Ukrainian Navy. Notably, Ukraine has pointed out in the arbitral proceedings that its ships “never engaged with the Russian coast guard (or military)” and that they “took overt measures to demonstrate their arms were not being used or deployed”35 as they were “peacefully leaving an area” after abandoning the plan to transit the Kerch Strait and “not arrayed in opposition” to the Russian Federation’s ships that were at the same time using force against the Ukrainian warships.36 Ukraine’s description of the events in the Kerch Strait incident as presented to the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal are in contrast with Ukraine’s earlier claims to the UN according to which the Russian Federation’s actions in the Kerch Strait incident “constitute an act of armed aggression… undermining the peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian-Russian armed conflict”.37

In other words, the Ukrainian Navy did not fight back when the Russian Federation used force against its ships. This has relevance for assessing the intensity of fighting. Yet reciprocity in fighting is not a precondition for the aggressor State’s use of force to be qualified as an armed attack triggering the right of self-defence of the targeted State. For example, should a tactical nuclear weapon, such as the Russian Poseidon or Burevestnik,38 be used in a surprise attack against a foreign warship, then it would clearly meet the criteria of an armed attack and trigger an international armed conflict between the two States even if the Russian ‘deterrence’ has such an effect on the targeted State that it does not respond militarily to the Russian use of force. In recent State practice, the 2010 torpedo attack against the South Korean warship Cheonan has been qualified as an armed conflict even though South Korea did not respond to the attack that was predominantly associated with North Korea.39

The itlos concluded on the basis of the facts presented by Ukraine and the Russian Federation that:

After being held for about eight hours, the Ukrainian naval vessels apparently gave up their mission to pass through the strait and turned around and sailed away from it. The Russian Coast Guard then ordered them to stop and, when the vessels ignored the order and continued their navigation, started chasing them. It was at this moment and in this context that the Russian Coast Guard used force, first firing warning shots and then targeted shots. One vessel was damaged, servicemen were injured and the vessels were stopped and arrested.40

The armed groups included on the Ukrainian side two warships and a naval tugboat that were targeted and detained in a Russian operation that involved in total ten naval warships and coast guard ships and a Russian combat helicopter.41 At the same time, the Russian fighter jets patrolled the Kerch Strait.

It remains to be seen what weight, if any at all, the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal puts on the fact that the Russian Coast Guard (instead of its warships, including a corvette, that were also involved in the operation) detained the Ukrainian warships in the Kerch Strait incident.42 According to Article 3(d) of the UN General Assembly Resolution 3314 Definition of Aggression, an act of aggression includes, inter alia, an attack by the armed forces of a State on the land, sea or air forces, or marine and air fleets of another State. The reference to the ‘armed forces of a State’ in the said provision of the Definition of Aggression may potentially also include a State’s Coast Guard. Notably, the Russian Federation’s Coast Guard, similarly to that of China’s,43 and many other major maritime powers, is closely intertwined with its Navy.44

The line between the activities of warships and law enforcement vessels has become blurred. Under the domestic legal frameworks of various coastal States, warships are used for various law enforcement functions, including search and rescue, disaster relief, prevention and elimination of ship-based marine pollution, peacetime countermine operations, etc. The Kerch Strait incident demonstrates that Coast Guard vessels can be equally effectively employed to use force against foreign warships.

Against this background, the itlos has observed that “the traditional distinction between naval vessels and law enforcement vessels in terms of their roles has become considerably blurred … and it is not uncommon today for States to employ the two types of vessels collaboratively for diverse maritime tasks.”45 The Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal has reached a similar conclusion: “Forces that some governments treat as civilian or law enforcement forces may be designated as military by others, even though they may undertake comparable tasks.”46 The itlos has explained further that:

Nor can the distinction between military and law enforcement activities be based solely on the characterization of the activities in question by the parties to a dispute. This may be a relevant factor, especially in case of the party invoking the military activities exception. However, such characterization may be subjective and at variance with the actual conduct. In the view of the Tribunal, the distinction between military and law enforcement activities must be based primarily on an objective evaluation of the nature of the activities in question, taking into account the relevant circumstances in each case.47

It is widely understood that the distinction between the law enforcement and humanitarian law paradigms does not depend on whether the activities were carried out by the military (armed forces in a strict sense) or law enforcement officials (police, coast guard, etc).48 This is particularly important in the context of hybrid warfare as it demonstrates that the classification of an aggression is based on the actual merits of the incident, not its form. By comparison, as Gill and Fleck note, law enforcement operations can equally be conducted by the military or civilian State agents:

The concept of law enforcement could thus be said to comprise all measures taken by civilian or military State agents to maintain, restore, or impose public security, law, and order or to otherwise exercise its authority or power over individuals, objects, or territory.49

Gill and Fleck conclude that: “As a matter of generic concept, therefore, law enforcement and military hostilities are not mutually exclusive, but may overlap considerably.”50 For example, what initially was planned as a law enforcement operation may in practice gradually develop to a situation of naval warfare.51 In practice, such gradual escalation of a maritime incident was evident in the conflict between the Russian Federation’s Coast Guard and Ukrainian warships in the Kerch Strait. The enforcement of the Russian Federation’s domestic rules on passage through the Kerch Strait eventually resulted in the use of arms against the Ukrainian warships and their detention along with crew.

5.3.2 Lessons for the South China Sea

The Kerch Strait incident indicates that the risk for the escalation of maritime enforcement operations is highest in areas where there are conflicting claims to title over relevant land and adjacent maritime areas. Such regions include, most notably, China’s so-called nine-dash-line that disregards other coastal States’ claims over the contested areas of the South China Sea. For example, the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal has categorized a prolonged stand-off between Chinese and the Philippines’ armed groups over Second Thomas Shoal as a situation not falling under the law enforcement paradigm, but as one amounting to military activities. The Tribunal found that:

[T]he essential facts at Second Thomas Shoal concern the deployment of a detachment of the Philippines’ armed forces that is engaged in a stand-off with a combination of ships from China’s Navy and from China’s Coast Guard and other government agencies. In connection with this stand-off, Chinese Government vessels have attempted to prevent the resupply and rotation of the Philippine troops on at least two occasions. Although, as far as the Tribunal is aware, these vessels were not military vessels, China’s military vessels have been reported to have been in the vicinity. In the Tribunal’s view, this represents a quintessentially military situation, involving the military forces of one side and a combination of military and paramilitary forces on the other, arrayed in opposition to one another.52

Conflict-prone regions also include Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea that are administered by Japan but claimed also by China and Taiwan. The use of arms against sovereign immune vessels in these areas would have a significant risk of escalation into an armed conflict between the conflicting States and their allies.

Such risk has recently somewhat increased by the adoption in 2021 of China’s Coast Guard Law53 that enables China’s Coast Guard to use force against foreign ships if they do not comply with China’s domestic laws. Under Article 46 of the Coast Guard Law, law enforcement measures need to meet the proportionality criteria when used gradually to counter violations of China’s domestic laws in the waters falling under its jurisdiction. Liu, Xu, and Chang refer to it as an ‘incremental scheme’ included in Article 46 of the Coast Guard Law that explicitly requires the following:

First, coast guard officers may use non-firearm weapons (1) to forcibly bring vessels to a halt in the course of boarding, inspection, interception, or pursuit; (2) to forcibly expel or tow away vessels; (3) to respond to obstruction faced in performing their duties; or (4) to stop other unlawful activities.54

The extent of the Coast Guard’s jurisdiction under the Act covers also disputed islands in the South China Sea and East China Sea, including Senkaku Islands.55 Yet it is unlikely that this development in China’s maritime security policy and legal framework would lead to a recurrence on behalf of China’s Coast Guard (ccg) of a Kerch Strait incident-like conflict in the disputed areas of the South China Sea, Taiwan Strait, or East China Sea.

On the one hand, Article 22 of the Coast Guard Law stipulates that: “When the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of a State are confronted with an imminent danger of unlawful infringement or unlawful violation by foreign organizations and individuals at sea, the ccg Organization shall, in accordance with this Law and other laws or regulations, take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons.” On the other hand, such use of force is only allowed against foreign ships that are not subject to sovereign immunity under Article 32 of losc (e.g., foreign warships or coast guard vessels). China’s Coast Guard Law does not appear to allow the use of weapons against foreign warships and other government ships operated for non-commercial purposes. However, if they refuse to leave and cause serious harm or threat, then China’s Coast Guard “has the right to take measures such as forced eviction and forced towing” (Article 21). Nonetheless, the measures that China’s Coast Guard is allowed to adopt in respect of sovereign immune vessels appear to fall short of the level of aggression used by the Russian Federation’s Coast Guard against Ukrainian warships in the Kerch Strait, including the use of force.

In this context, Liu, Xu, and Chang comment that:

The ccg’s power to use force under the new law is the issue of most concern to other States who are concerned about China’s growing maritime power. For example, the United States plans to include its coast guard in their integrated naval force, which highlights the expanded role for non-military ‘grey zone’ maritime activities. Zhou argues that this US strategy formalises ways of countering China’s enhanced coast guard mandate, which is utilised heavily to project power and assert claims in disputed waters. Despite some concerns by other States, the present authors take the view that China will refrain from the unilateral use of force in order to avoid provoking the conflicts, especially in disputed maritime areas. This reflects China’s sensitivity to the complicated international situation in the Asian-Pacific region.56

The distinction in Articles 21 and 22 of China’s Coast Guard Law between foreign sovereign immune vessels and other foreign ships appears to mandate the use of force against the latter, but not against the former category of ships. Notably, this does not exclude the use of force against government ships operated for commercial purposes.57

Notably, the limits and scope of sovereign immunity of warships in territorial sea and eez is at the centre of current arbitral proceedings between Ukraine and the Russian Federation in the dispute concerning the detention of Ukrainian naval vessels and servicemen.58 Ukraine maintains that “Article 32 prescribes a rule that warships and non-commercial government ships are immune within the territorial sea” and that provision in combination with Article 30 of losc implies, “as the sole recourse of the coastal State, that it may require a warship or non-commercial government vessel to exit the territorial sea.”59 Ukraine also refers to a previous example from State practice involving a Soviet submarine that got stranded in Swedish internal waters in 1981: “Sweden requested Soviet permission to board the vessel and inspect it, which the Soviet Union refused on the basis of the immunity of its warship; Sweden made no attempt to exercise jurisdiction over the vessel or its crew, and the Soviet submarine departed Swedish waters as soon as it was able to do so.”60 The Russian Federation argues that such sovereign immunity in the territorial sea is not granted under Article 32 of losc nor anywhere else in the Convention,61 but it acknowledges that the immunity of warships is guaranteed under customary international law.62 If successful, the Russian Federation’s claim would mean that the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal would lack jurisdiction in the Dispute Concerning the Detention of Ukrainian Naval Vessels and Servicemen as the dispute would not concern the interpretation of losc to the extent that Ukraine alleges that the sovereign immunity of its warships had been violated in the Kerch Strait incident (the Russian Federation also challenges the Tribunal’s jurisdiction based on the military activities exception).

However, while the Russian Federation argues that the Ukrainian ships were seized in its territorial sea,63 Ukraine maintains that the detainment of its naval ships occurred in an eez.64 In an eez and the high seas, the sovereign immunity of warships and ships used only on government non-commercial service is explicitly granted under Articles 58(2), 95, and 96 of losc. Thus, the dispute over the violation of Ukraine’s warships’ sovereign immunity in the Kerch Strait incident would clearly fall within the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal’s jurisdiction. Both Ukraine and the Russian Federation have provided evidence to the Tribunal that show the exact coordinates of the location of the Ukrainian and Russian ships during the Kerch Strait incident and the boarding and detainment of the Ukrainian ships. However, the Tribunal needs to assess if the relevant evidence submitted by the Russian Federation is reliable. Notably, reports have emerged about the practices that are associated with the Russian Federation in repeatedly manipulating Russian and foreign warships’ Automatic Identification System data that allows the tracking and identification of vessels based on their coordinates.65

Ships other than those entitled to sovereign immunity are subject to the flag State’s exclusive jurisdiction in an eez and the high seas, except for ships engaged in certain illegal activities such as piracy, the slave trade or unauthorized broadcasting. In this connection, the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal has explained that “[a]s a result of the exclusive jurisdiction of the flag State over ships in the eez, a coastal State may only exercise jurisdiction, including law enforcement measures, over a ship, with the prior consent of the flag State.”66 Notably, the protection against coastal State’s law enforcement measures is even greater for ships that are entitled to sovereign immunity.

In this context, the legality of forced eviction and towing measures that China’s Coast Guard can use in respect of sovereign immune vessels in its maritime areas, including China’s territorial sea, is highly controversial even though they fall short of the use of force. Liu, Xu, and Chang maintain that while Articles 32, 95, 96 of losc grant sovereign immunity to military vessels, military support vessels and government ships, they are at the same time expected to comply with the laws and regulations of the coastal State concerning passage through the territorial sea.67 Yet in case such measures as forced eviction and towing are used against e.g., the coast guard vessels in disputed areas in the South China or East China Sea, the situation may easily escalate and evolve from a law enforcement operation into a military one. For example, both Ukraine and the Russian Federation agree that “enforcement of domestic law was the stated reason for the arrest [of the Ukrainian naval vessels near the Kerch Strait] on the evening of 25 November 2018.”68 Yet according to Ukrainian repeated diplomatic statements the Russian law enforcement operation gradually evolved into “an act of military aggression” and “unlawful use of force”, triggering Ukraine’s “right to self-defence, as provided for in Article 51 of the Charter” and rendering the detained Ukrainian servicemen “prisoners of war”.69 The Russian Federation, on its own part, admits that in the Kerch Strait incident its “military has used force against another State’s warship”,70 but denies that this incident constitutes an armed conflict.71

The delicate distinction between the law enforcement and humanitarian law paradigms is also exemplified by the so-called shadow war between Iran and Israel in the waters around the Arabian Peninsula, as discussed next. This conflict also highlights the legal complexities that arise in relation to regulation of State responsibility and the right of self-defence against attacks carried out by non-State actors in a hybrid naval warfare.

1

See Kraska 2018, op. cit.

2

The Office of the Prosecutor, Report on Preliminary Examination Activities 2016 (International Criminal Court 2016), para 158. The Office of the Prosecutor, Report on Preliminary Examination Activities 2017 (International Criminal Court 2017), para 88.

3

Report on Preliminary Examination Activities 2017, op. cit., para 94.

4

This potential categorisation is supported by the general ramifications of the Kerch Strait incident in the context of the annexation of Crimea and the Russian Federation’s involvement in the conflict in the Donbas region.

5

Oil Platforms Case, Judgment, op. cit., paras. 19, 120.

6

Ibid., paras. 50, 63, 69, 70.

7

Ibid., paras. 48–49, 64–66.

8

Ibid., para 64.

9

WH iv Taft, ‘Self-Defense and the Oil Platforms Decision’ (2004) 29(2) Yale Journal of International Law, 299.

10

Ibid. Such disappointment on the judgment is shared by other scholars, see, e.g., A Garwood-Gowers, ‘Case concerning Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America) - Did the ICJ Miss the Boat on the Law on the Use of Force’ (2004) 5(1) Melbourne Journal of International Law, 254–255.

11

See E MacAskill, ‘Russian troops removing ID markings ‘gross violation’’, The Guardian (6 March 2014).

12

A Anischchuk, ‘Putin admits Russian forces were deployed to Crimea’, Reuters (17 April 2014).

13

Allen, Hodges, Lindley-French, op. cit., 94, 110, 112.

14

ME O’Connell et al., Final Report on the Meaning of Armed Conflict in International Law (International Law Association, The Hague Conference, 2010) 32.

15

icrc 2016 commentary, op. cit., on Common Article 2, paras. 236–239.

16

icty, Prosecutor v Tadić, Decision of 2 October 1995, op. cit., para 70.

17

icty, Prosecutor v. Zejnil Delalić, Zdravko Mucić also known as “Pavo”, Hazim Delić Esad Landžo also known as “Zenga”, Judgment of 16 November 1998, paras. 184, 208.

18

International Criminal Court, Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Decision on the confirmation of charges, 29 January 2007, para 207.

19

C Greenwood, ‘Scope of Application of Humanitarian Law’, in D Fleck (ed.), The Handbook of International Humanitarian Law (2nd Ed, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009), 48.

20

Y Dinstein, War, Aggression and Self-Defence (6th Ed, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2017), 3.

21

Ruys, op. cit., 209.

22

Oil Platforms Case, Judgment, op. cit., para 72.

23

Chang, op. cit., 3.

24

ara Libertad” 2012 Provisional Measures Order, op. cit., para 94.

25

W Heintschel von Heinegg, ‘Methods and Means of Naval Warfare in Non-International Armed Conflicts’ (2012) 88 International Law Studies, 461–462.

26

Klein, op. cit., 265.

27

itlos 25 May 2019 Order on Provisional Measures, op. cit., para 73. Aside the context of the use of force, the itlos considered that the previous conduct leading to the conflict between the parties and the cause of the incident are particularly relevant for deciding on whether an incident takes place in the context of a military operation or a law enforcement operation. See Ibid., paras. 67–72.

28

Ruys, op. cit., 159.

29

Ibid., 171.

30

Taft, op. cit., 300–301.

31

Oil Platforms Case, Judgment, op. cit., para 64.

32

itlos 25 May 2019 Order on Provisional Measures, op. cit., para 74.

33

Gaggioli, op. cit., 59. See also Gill and Fleck, op. cit., 79.

34

Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal, Guyana v. Suriname Award, op. cit., para 446.

35

At the same time, the Russian Federation argues that certain weapons on board of the Ukrainian warships were operational. Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, op. cit., 24 August 2020, para 42.

36

Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal, Dispute Concerning the Detention of Ukrainian Naval Vessels and Servicemen, Written Observations and Submissions of Ukraine on the Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, 27 January 2021, paras. 39–41.

37

Annex to the letter of 10 December 2018 from Ukraine to the UN, op. cit.

38

See T Nilsen, ‘Norway intelligence warns about new nuclear weapons technology developed by Russia’, The Barents Observer (8 February 2021).

39

Heintschel von Heinegg 2016, op. cit., 452.

40

itlos Order of 25 May 2019, op. cit., para 73.

41

Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, op. cit., 24 August 2020, paras. 2, 43. See also supra Map 1, Ibid., 37.

42

In this context, see South China Sea arbitral award, op. cit., para 1161.

43

China’s Coast Guard is under the Central Military Commission’s command, and it functions as a division of China’s armed forces. Liu, Xu, Chang, op. cit., 493.

44

Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, op. cit., 24 August 2020, para 40.

45

itlos Order of 25 May 2019, op. cit., para 64.

46

Dispute Concerning Coastal State Rights, 2020 Award on Preliminary Objections, op. cit., para 335.

47

itlos Order of 25 May 2019, op. cit., paras. 65–66.

48

Gaggioli, op. cit., 12.

49

Gill and Fleck, op. cit., 64.

50

Ibid., 65.

51

Fink, op. cit., 194.

52

South China Sea Arbitration, Award of 12 July 2016, op. cit., para 1161.

53

Coast Guard Law of the People’s Republic of China, adopted 22 January 2021, entered into force 1 February 2021, available https://npcobserver.com/legislation/coast-guard-law/; accessed 2 September 2021.

54

The incremental scheme under Article 46 of China’s Coast Guard Law as translated from Chinese by Liu, Xu, Chang, op. cit., 500.

55

Liu, Xu, Chang, op. cit., 495.

56

Ibid., 501.

57

Cf. Sakamoto, op. cit. who argues that “the ccg has authorization to use weapons without warning against both government vessels and civilian vessels as a matter of its domestic law.” On the distinction between the categories of government ships operated for commercial or non-commercial purposes, see e.g., TD McDorman, ‘Sovereign Immune Vessels: Immunities, Responsibilities and Exemptions’, in H Ringbom (ed), Jurisdiction over Ships: Post-UNCLOS Developments in the Law of the Sea (Brill, Leiden/Boston, 2015), 89–90.

58

Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, 24 August 2020, op. cit., paras. 75–89. Observations of Ukraine on the Question of Bifurcation, 7 September 2020, op. cit., paras. 16–20. Written Observations and Submissions of Ukraine on the Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, op. cit., paras. 18–25, 68–79, 85–100.

59

Written Observations and Submissions of Ukraine on the Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, op. cit., 27 January 2021, para 88.

60

Ibid., para 69.

61

Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, op. cit., 24 August 2020, paras. 75, 82.

62

Ibid., paras. 81ff.

63

See Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, 24 August 2020, op. cit., para 85.

64

Written Observations and Submissions of Ukraine on the Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, op. cit., 27 January 2021, paras. 8, 72, 78.

65

M Harris, ‘Phantom Warships Are Courting Chaos in Conflict Zones’, Wired (27 July 2021). M Lysberg, HC Ekroll, ‘Russisk forskningsskip arrestert i dansk havn - danske myndigheter avviser meldinger om russisk krigsskip i området’, Aftenposten (4 November 2021). H Lied, M Gundersen, ‘Norske marineskip ble manipulert inn i russisk farvann’, nrkbeta (25 September 2021).

66

Arctic Sunrise Award, op. cit., para 231.

67

Liu, Xu, Chang, op. cit., 496.

68

Written Observations and Submissions of Ukraine on the Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, op. cit., 27 January 2021, para 24. Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal, Dispute Concerning the Detention of Ukrainian Naval Vessels and Servicemen, Response of the Russian Federation to the Observations of Ukraine on the Question of Bifurcation, 21 September 2020, para 19.

69

For a collection of Ukraine’s official statements on the Kerch Strait incident with detailed references, see Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, op. cit., 24 August 2020, para 49. Notably, for reasons of the admissibility of judicial proceedings initiated by Ukraine before the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal, Ukraine denies that the Kerch Strait incident concerned military activities and instead “everything about Russia’s arrest, detention, and prosecutions indicate law enforcement — after all, Russia expressly said it was enforcing its laws.” Written Observations and Submissions of Ukraine on the Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, op. cit., 27 January 2021, para 37.

70

Preliminary Objections of the Russian Federation, op. cit., 24 August 2020, para 50. The Russian Federation considers that the dispute concerns its military activities which are exempted from the Annex vii Arbitral Tribunal’s jurisdiction under Article 298(1)(b) of losc.

71

Ibid., para 52.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Hybrid Threats and the Law of the Sea

Use of Force and Discriminatory Navigational Restrictions in Straits

Series:  International Straits of the World, Volume: 19

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 754 486 24
PDF Views & Downloads 633 327 25