International Law – Memo Essay

In the first and main issue, the plaintiff, Ygritte Giantsbane-Snow, not only sustained injuries, but her husband was killed in the process as well. She was left bereaved by the deaths of several members of her extended family too. According to the plaintiff and Tab A (Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) attached to the issue, the coordinated attacks resulted in the deaths of 250 civilians. Among the fatalities were Mrs. Giantsbane-Snow’s husband, John Snow, family members, and 44 civilian children. Moreover, the strikes wounded the plaintiff, which implies she sustained a combination of physical and psychological wounds. The plaintiff is presenting an honest and logical complaint with sufficient evidence of the defendant’s actions.

The plaintiff’s complaint about the loss of her husband and members of her extended family is logical and justifiable. Her first-hand experience as a survivor of the airstrikes is a good case to help contest for a violation of a variety of her personal rights and freedom as provided by the universal declaration of human rights. Mrs. Giantsbane-Snow has the right to protection from harm, or torture, according to the declaration, since her country is a signatory to it. Additionally, she is entitled to good health and many other privileges as stipulated by the declaration. Her demand for compensation due to the injuries she suffered along with the death of her husband and relatives is, therefore, justified.

The lawsuit occurs when Cersei Lannister is no longer the Queen of the Westeros territory. Fortunately, the plaintiff has personally sued the former Queen for crimes that took place during her tenure, which she planned and authorized. Cersei’s mission intended to prevent any further pirate attacks on Westeros villages. The precise strategy designed to attain her mission was through eliminating the key Thenns Liberation Army (TLA) personnel and its members, especially the head of the rebel group. To justify her decisions and strategy to solve a problem that was posing a threat to the security of the Westeros villages within her jurisdiction, Cersei signed an international treaty with the United States to combat terrorism. However, the treaty never offered any permission for the murder or injury of innocent people. Therefore, Cersei’s action to authorize the implementation of the mission meant she had calculated the inherent risks and she was willing to accept the possible consequences.

Mrs. Giantsbane-Snow’s family and relatives could be described as victims of a volatile situation. The Westeros drone airstrikes not only disrupted the operations of the TLA, but also resulted in unexpected drastic effects on Mrs. Giantsbane-Snow’s livelihood and social welfare. Accordingly, the situation resembled a somewhat manmade disaster whose perpetrator(s) deserves to be held responsible for harming an individual’s life and causing her both physical and psychological pain. The injuries suffered caused the physical pain, while the loss of her husband and relatives exposed the survivor to a lifetime of psychological trauma and suffering. Based on these grounds, it is logically sound to claim compensation for the disruption of her life and infliction of long-term pain, which requires hiring specialized psychiatric services to help recoup. Still, finding solutions to the physical and psychological challenges is a phenomenon whose success is unachievable within a short-term duration. Her family’s status due to the volatile situation calls for her compensation for the treatment of her injuries, psychological rehabilitation, and personal care.

The second issue concerns the deaths of 250 civilians, including 44 children under the age of 15. The UN Human Rights report indicates that 250 civilians lost their lives during the operation. The statistic is inclusive of 44 children that were all below 15 years of age. Although the issue appears similar to the first concern about the plaintiff’s husband’s death and members of her extended family, it is necessary to set precedents upon which the defendant would later be liable for crimes against humanity. Seemingly, the strikes resulted in the injury of scores of other people who resided within the proximity of the target locations.

The number of civilians who suffered due to the strikes was significant to warrant blame on Cersei Lannister’s government for carrying out the strike with inadequate precision. A large proportion of the casualties did not constitute the group of the 29 TLA members that were the precise targets of the airstrike’s mission. The collateral damage is even more significant than the reported, considering several victims sustained varying levels of bodily injuries. The international humanitarian law primarily identifies two major principles as the fundamental determinant factors in establishing the relevance of military necessity in each conflict situation; proportionality and distinction to guide the approximations of the military needs, the possible targets, and the resultant military advantages to be achieved. The principle of distinction of the Rome Statute acknowledges that civilian casualties in a military operation are an inevitable phenomenon. However, such a situation would constitute war crimes if the resultant civilian deaths or injuries exceed the expected advantage. In this case, the death of 250 people including 44 children who were less than 15 years of age, together with the consequent injuries sustained by people, is a manifestation of war crimes, given the initial goal was to eliminate TLA’s Tormund Giantsbane and his other associates and allies and not the civilians. In fact, the number of targets was less than 30 individuals, whereas the resulting civilian casualties would total approximately 300 people, which amounts to almost ten times the originally targeted number.

The universal human rights law, which partially guided the first analysis of the first issue, also applies to this situation. For instance, the 270 victims of Westeros airstrikes were deprived of their rights and entitlements. The fact that the death of a small group of people among the 270 victims would be inevitable collateral damage as per the US’s understanding of military operations contradicts the current situation. Notably, it is unacceptable for a sovereign government to engage in a conflict that would lead to the death of 44 underage children. Worse still, the UN Human Rights report identifies the children to be among the 250 civilians that perished. The society often deems children to be innocent beings. Their surroundings influence most of their decisions, activities, behavior, and interactions. Their death in the Westeros airstrikes was not necessary, which means that Cersei should take the responsibility of justifying the reason behind their cruel fate.

To be acquitted of the offence, an argument from the defendant’s team could target civilians’ sympathy for the TLA members. For instance, the argument would intend to explain how the operation’s primary targets benefitted from civilian sympathy that allowed them to live or hide in populated settlement areas. The perspective, however, is weak, given the planners could have made adequate efforts to determine any alternative strategies to monitor the targets’ operations and seize their targets in isolated areas. Traffic analysis would have been a perfect mechanism to establish whenever the targets would be found isolated in their offices or their plans to visit areas with low population density. With such an approach, the civilian deaths would be minimized whereas the operation’s mission would successfully result in a win-win situation for both nations.

The US-Westeros Counter-Terrorism Cooperation Accord upholds a third issue in the case that potentially offers another reasoning perspective. The concept is definitely one of the main elements with which the defendant will attempt to ascertain her innocence. This issue is linked with the US-Westeros Counter-Terrorism Cooperation Accord. Indeed, the two countries entered into the accord on April 20, 2017, making it an international agreement to immunize the Westeros government and its officers or agents from litigation in the US based on the acts undertaken in line with combating terrorist activities. The UN encourages nations to form international treaties with an aim to help fight the present terrorism challenge that undermines global socio-economic prosperity.

The arguments therein are sufficient to create obstacles along the final process of justice. The accord is authentic and played an essential role in the subsequent planning and organization of the drone airstrike operations. Further, the agreement promises immunity to the involved parties from litigation in each other’s courts, if such efforts are intended to implicate them for their contribution towards combating a defined set of terror organizations. The memorandum of understanding, as commonly referred to, only occurred between a section of the US and Westeros governments. The involved parties failed to submit the MOU to the US Congress for approval, yet the body represents a crucial arm in the country’s legislation processes. Consequently, the credibility of the alliance is questionable as the US Congress might decline its approval or implementation. An argument based on this issue will, therefore, be weak in influencing the final verdict.

The accord does not meet the requirements in article 7(1a) of the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties, which requires an individual to obtain full powers of the state before being considered as a representative of the state’s intention to authenticate or adopt an agreement. While the Westeros government rushed into signing contracts with The Nights Watch Corporation for the supply of drones, the treaty was not formalized into existing law. The MOU indicates that, as of today, the US Congress has not approved the text, implying that a contracting party had not adequately concluded the treaty to enable its entry into force. The court will essentially have the responsibility to seek the appropriate direction of the national constitution regarding the credibility and validity of the accord, since it is otherwise rendered ineffective without the approval of Congress. The country’s legislation process entails seeking Congress’ support for any legal proposal to be effected into law. If the treaty does not meet the national and international requirements, its applicability in the current suit will be denied, hence making the defendant guilty of all the charges presented against her.

The human rights report attached to this case expounds that the defendant was a regent in her country during the time of the events preceding the current suit. Besides, Cersei Lannister is said to have had control over government institutions, military power, and national representatives at the UN. The defendant could be said to have made hasty decisions in authorizing the events, to the extent that she did not wait for the approval of the accord by the US Congress. From this viewpoint, it is not clear whether the country’s constitution ever offered her the power with which she acted to make all those decisions. Perhaps the nation’s constitution would have favored a dialogue between the two governments to establish which way would have benefited both in solving the TLA conundrum. Nonetheless, the defendant’s actions to enter into an accord and hurriedly attack a neighboring sovereign nation without any prior communication with its government violates article seven (1a) of the convention.

The fourth issue is that the defendant’s acts are not covered in the suit. The defendant might raise a concern about her actions not being considered since the Act of State doctrine requires that the court assume the validity of such actions not be judged in the current court. Different sovereign nations have their defined systems of operation and decision making to address the issues arising and/or affecting their societies. Westeros is not different; hence, has its rights that should be treated with decency and dignity. Being independent and sovereign, the Act of State doctrine definitely applies to the way the nation conducts its affairs.
By owning a residence and living in the US, the defendant must have contemplated acquiring US citizenship. There is no clarity on whether she is an asylum seekersince she left her country to live in the US, which may imply that she could be in possession of documents identifying her as a US citizen. Nonetheless, the Act of State doctrine urges states to respect each other’s independence. Further, the doctrine also demands that courts in any given nation shall not sit to judge the acts of another state’s government. The situation here is quite complicated. However, if Cersei’s actions did indeed focus on her nation’s best interests, she deserves justice. The verdict on this issue is also dependent on the determination of her current citizenship. Should officials in her previous nation otherwise prove that the nation’s constitution fully supported her decisions and action, she would deserve to be exonerated of some of the charges.

Both the US and the United Kingdom uphold the Act of State Doctrine within their sovereign boundaries. Despite this fact, the nations’ justice systems are renowned for their distinguished efforts to conduct adequate background analyses before making rational decisions to prosecute or ignore issues, which may arise pertaining to the said doctrine. Moreover, the US has an independent justice system that hardly experiences political pressure to influence the course of its operations. Nonetheless, the federal district court for the Southern District of New York will need to practice caution in the way it handles the case given the sensitivity of the subject. The verdict on this issue will depend on a chain of findings and decisions made in two or three of the previous issues discussed in this memo. The defendant is a former high-profile government official in a different state. She engaged in diplomatic relations with the US government, which culminated in the establishment of the MOU. Therefore, it will be necessary to listen critically and analytically to any emerging arguments from both the plaintiff and the defense teams, so as to help guide the final judgment regarding this issue.

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