Expert Pitch
University of Notre Dame

International law and armed conflict expert available to comment on Russian bounty payments

30-Jun-2020 2:40 PM EDT, by University of Notre Dame

For stories on Russian bounty payments for American troops in Afghanistan--especially the credibility of the reports, the legality of such actions, and the multi-country history of bounties in foreign policy--contact Mary Ellen O'Connell, Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law and research professor of international dispute resolution at University of Notre Dame.

O'Connell is an expert in international human rights law and armed conflict, and she says: 

President Trump and his national security team are denying reports in the New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere of Russian payments to the Taliban and their associates to kill American troops in Afghanistan.  

The reports appear credible and the practice is consistent with Russia current foreign policy. The President needs to condemn the practice and needs no absolute proof to do so.  

Paying non-state actor armed groups to kill government troops violates international law. 

But then the U.S. has engaged in similar conduct for decades, undermining the rules against it.

In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and fought the Mujahideen for a decade. The U.S. funneled resources to the opponents of the Soviets, some of whom went on to create Al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden. 

The invasion of Afghanistan violated international law but aid to non-state actors armed groups was not the lawful way to oppose such a breach. The unintended negative consequences could have been predicted. Nevertheless, the U.S. has continued with the unlawful practice, taking it to new lows in aiding non-state actor armed groups against government troops in Syria and Libya.  

The payment of bounties to kill our troops is an egregious law violation--the President can say so, no matter what he thinks of the intelligence or the news media that report on it.


Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5660
Released: 27-Oct-2020 5:00 PM EDT
The fact that SARS-CoV-2 virus can or cannot spread through airborne transmission does not render masks "worthless"

A video featuring Owen Shroyer originally published by went viral on Facebook in late October. The video claims that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was never airborne, and wearing face masks is unnecessary. This claim is false and inaccurate. The CDC never said the virus could not be airborne. Although the CDC "updated" their guidance on its website to include aerosols among the most common forms of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, experts agree that the virus can spread through water droplets, which masks can act as a physical barrier to stpp the water droplets. There is increasing evidence that suggest airborne transmission may also play a role in the spread of COVID-19.

Newswise: Chanton_WEB.jpg
Released: 27-Oct-2020 4:20 PM EDT
FSU experts available to comment on United States leaving the Paris Agreement
Florida State University

By: Bill Wellock | Published: October 27, 2020 | 4:03 pm | SHARE: Carbon emissions and climate change are key issues in this presidential election.Regardless of who voters choose as the country’s next president, the United States is scheduled to leave the Paris Agreement — an international accord with the goal of limiting global climate change — on Nov.

Released: 27-Oct-2020 1:55 PM EDT
Newswise Live Event for Nov 2nd, 2PM EDT: the 2020 Presidential Elections

Experts from institutions including George Washington University and Cornell University will participate in an expert panel covering a wide variety of topics on the U.S. Elections, with questions prepared by Newswise editors and submissions from media attendees.

Released: 27-Oct-2020 12:15 PM EDT
Biden did not "admit" to perpetrating electoral fraud, despite Trump and McEnany's claim

U.S. President Donald Trump claimed Democratic nominee Joe Biden had “admitted” to perpetrating electoral fraud. On Oct. 24, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted out a short video clip of Biden, along with the text "Joe Biden brags about having the “most extensive VOTER FRAUD organization” in history!!" This claim is false and the video is taken out of context.

Newswise: Study: Voter participation predicts compliance with social distancing
Released: 27-Oct-2020 10:20 AM EDT
Study: Voter participation predicts compliance with social distancing
Washington University in St. Louis

People who vote are more likely to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic than people with a lower sense of civic duty—regardless of political affiliation, according to a new study from Washington University in St. Louis.

Released: 27-Oct-2020 10:00 AM EDT
AGS Refutes President Trump’s Claim That Physicians Are Over-Counting Covid-19 Deaths for Financial Gain, in Solidarity with the CMSS
American Geriatrics Society

With its more than 6,000 members continuing to care for older Americans affected by COVID-19 at the front-line of the nation’s pandemic response, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) today stood in solidarity with the Council of Medical Special Societies (CMSS) in condemning President Trump’s claim that hospitals and physicians are inflating the number of COVID-19 deaths for their own financial gain.

Showing results

110 of 5660