An arrest warrant against Ivorian politician, Charles Ble Goude was issued by the
International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity namely rape, murder,
persecution and other inhumane acts which exploded post 2010 election in Ivory Coast. He was
arrested in Ghana in January 2013 after 18 months of hiding following the violence. Nonetheless, he
denied the fact that he had led a militia but he only organised rallied and meetings during the dispute
which killed 3000 people of Ivory.
International humanitarian law is applicable in two situations which are international armed
conflicts and non-international armed conflicts. In Tadic case, the Appeals Chambers of the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) defined armed conflicts as an
armed conflict exists between states or protracted armed violence between governmental authorities
and organised armed groups or between such groups within a State. However, armed conflicts do not
include riots or other internal disturbances. On the other hand, Article 1 of Protocol Additional to the
Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-
International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), of 8 June 1977 laid down the scope of application of the
Protocol that it does not apply where two or more organised armed groups confront each other in the
The International Criminal Court was established under the Rome Statute of the ICC that
entered into force on July 2002. According to Article 5 of the Rome Statute of the ICC, the Court has
jurisdiction in respect of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of
aggression. Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the ICC further defines crimes against humanity as acts
that are committed against civilian population which includes murder, rape, torture, and many other
inhumane acts. Article 25 of the Rome Statute of the ICC empowers the Court to prosecute individual
for crimes that the person does individually.
Crime against humanity is a serious offence and it is opposed globally. This issue concerns a
civil war which involves thousands lives in Ivory that have to be saved. Despite Goude’s denial over
the crimes, he should be brought to the International Criminal Court and face the trial and only then
he can justify and defend himself.
Following the drone strikes of the United States of America in Pakistan and Yemen, the
administration of Obama is facing with assertion that the drone strikes may have violated the
International Law. The conduct of Obama’s administration was connected with the lack of
transparency and accountability under the law. The problem in this issue is about the applicable law
whether International Humanitarian Law or International Human Rights Law. In its report, Amnesty
International concluded that the strike in Pakistan has a very high possibility in violating the standards
that govern the use of force outside war. Human Right Watch on the other hand explains that two of
six strikes in Yemen as a clear violation of law of war because civilians were struck using
The USA on the other hand, defends itself by arguing that there was certainty during the
strikes that all targets were militants. Nevertheless, it was criticised by Amnesty International that the
precautionary measure was irrelevant as certainty must be on the part of the civilians, not the
Article 2(4) of the Charter of the United Nations prohibits the use of force as a cornerstone of
peaceful relations among States but it is still permitted in a number of situations, namely the right of
self-defence and a collective use of force in accordance with a resolution of the Security Council.
After the incident of 11 September 2011, the US informed the UN Security Council that it was
exercising its “inherent right of individual and collective self defence” by attacking Al Qaeda terrorist
camps in Afghanistan. The US justified the attacks as self-defence. Article 51 of the Charter, self-
defence may be exercised in the existence of armed attack, however, in the case of 11 September
2011, it is agreed that it cannot be constituted as armed attack.
The primary purpose of International Humanitarian Law is to limit and prevent human
suffering in times of armed conflict. Civilians are protected during armed conflicts under International
Humanitarian Law and according to Article 48 of the Protocol I, the Parties to the conflict shall at all
time distinguish between civilian population and combatants. It includes a direct and deliberate attack
and also an indiscriminate attack which refers to an attack that may be expected to cause incidental
loss of civilian life, injury to civilian or damage to civilian objects which would be excessive in
relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. Article 35(2) of the Protocol I,
forbids the using of weapons that cause unnecessary suffering or superfluous injury. The violation of
International Humanitarian Law may constitute a war crime.
According to the previous incidents which include the US’s attack in Afghanistan and Iraq,
we can conclude that the US has always tried to justify their wrongful acts by reinterpreting the laws.
Somehow, the justifications given by the US are irrelevant and only benefit them that they may escape
their liability. In this issue, it is argued that the acts of Obama’s administration is a serious violation of
International Humanitarian Law as the strikes did not take any precautionary steps to distinguish
civilian and combatants that finally killed many civilians. Furthermore, the weapons used in the
strikes were used indiscriminately. We should not accept any justification given by the US because it
will cause them to do the same thing again in future.
ARMS EMBARGO (SOMALIA)
Arms embargo that had been imposed on Somalia since 1992 has been rescinded by a
resolution of the United Nations Security Council. The resolution also allows the African Union
Mission to Somalia to deploy in the country in bringing calm and stability to the country. The new
President of Somalia argued that the arms embargo was outdated and it delayed his effort to empower
Somalia. However, a number of Security Council member worries that the termination of the arms
embargo would allow weapon flows into the country once again.
Article 39 of the UN Charter empowers the Security Council to determine the existence of
any threat to the peace and to decide what measures shall be taken to restore and maintain
international peace and security.
The issue about Security Council is the five veto powers which may use their powers
wrongfully. As we can see, the words in Article 39 itself are vague and open to abuse by the Security
Council. The words “threat to peace” may be interpreted differently by each country that may
eventually benefit them and their allies. The vagueness of the words justifies the concerns of a number
of members of Security Council. However, since the arms embargo in Somalia had been imposed
since 1992, there is high possibility that the Security Council has given its best effort to ensure that
the weapon flows will not happen again.