International Humanitarian Law D.A.S.A.Leelarathna 2010/L/6078 Faculty of Law University of Colombo
Approach to the Presentation “As in a boxing match, pummeling the opponents upper body is fine; hitting below the belt is proscribed. As long as the rules of the game are observed, it is permissible to cause suffering , deprivation of freedom, and death”. Prof. Theodor Meron The Humanization of Humanitarian Law
VIETNAM WARBetween 1st Nov. 1955 – 30th April 1975 Parties Involved North Vietnam South Vietnam Vs(The Soviet Union (United States of and the Peoples America) Republic of China)
The BackgroundIn July 1954, after one hundred years ofcolonial rule, a defeated France wasforced to leave VietnamThe Geneva Peace Accords, signed byFrance and Vietnam in the summer of1954, provided for the temporarypartition of Vietnam at the 17thparallel, with national elections in 1956to reunify the country.In the North, a communist regime,supported by the Soviet Union and thePeoples Republic of China, set up itsheadquarters in Hanoi under theleadership of Ho Chi MinhUS Involvement- Basically to hold the line against the spread of worldCommunism.
The Nature of the Conflict At First, this was an internal Conflict of Vietnam (Non-International) In 1955, with the help of massive amounts of American military, political, and economic aid, the government of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) was born. miqj" weußldj ueÈy;a jQ ksid fuhðkSjd iïuq;sfha fmdÿ 2 jk j.ka;shwkqj cd;Hka;r hqoaOhla fõ weußldj yd úhÜkduh w;r hqoaOhla njg m;ajQ ksid wka;¾cd;SlrKh (International) jQ njg ;¾l l< yelsh
The responses of the International Community to the conflict War protesters gathered in Saigon to express dissatisfaction with the way the Diem government was handling South Vietnam ’ s internal political dissension. Antiwar Protests
The Applicability of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocols of 1977Vietnam Ratified Geneva Conventions 28-06-1957United States of America signed Geneva Conventions in 1949and Ratified 02-08-1955No Applicability of Additional Protocols of 1977 to this Conflict
The law of Geneva, designed to1. safeguard military personnel who are no longer taking part in the fighting and2. people not actively involved in hostilities, i.e. civilians;3. IHL has two branches: The law of Geneva, The law of The Hague1. With the adoption of the Additional Protocols of 1977 to Geneva Convention, which combine both branches of law.
Violations of Humanitarian Law The My Lai Massacre “Operation Ranch Hand” The defoliation program, using Agent Orange. The United States therefore used unconventional weaponsU.S. soldiers killed hundreds ofunarmed Vietnamese civilians in asmall village ,“My Lai”.
The My Lai Massacre (March 1968) Murder in the name of war - My Lai In the course of three hours more than 500 Vietnamese civilians were killed in cold blood at the hands of US troops. The soldiers had been on a "search and destroy" mission to root out communist fighters in what was fertile Viet Cong territory.
These alleged acts could possibly be violations of Treaty Law ?Common Article 3 of the Geneva ConventionsI (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds,mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;IV Geneva Convention – Article 31“No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protectedpersons, in particular to obtain information from them or from thirdparties.”IV Geneva Convention- Article 32Prohibition of corporal punishment
IV Geneva Convention- Article 27Women shall be especially protected againstany attack their honour in particular againstrape, enforced prostitution or any form ofincident assault.Application of Customary International LawThe principle of distinctionfjka fldg y÷kd .ekSu ms<sn| isoaOdka;h1 jk Í;sh^ikakoaO& .egqug md¾Yjlrejka ish,q uwjia:dj,oS isú,a jeishka iy hqO finˆka fjkafldg y÷kd .; hq;=h13 jk Í;shk.rhl .ul fyda ta yd iudk isõ,a jeishka fydaisõ,a b,lal flakaø.; ù we;s fjk;a ia:dkhlmsysgd ;sfnk meyeÈ,s " fjka fjka jQ iy úfYaIs;hqOuh wruqKq .Kkdjla tla hqOuh wruqKlaf,iska ie,lSu ;ykï fõ
“Operation Ranch Hand” – thedefoliation program, using Agent Orange This deadly chemical cocktail, containing dioxin, killed off millions of acres of jungle to try to weaken the Vietcong – but left a horrendous legacy in Vietnam. The dioxin got into the food chain causing chromosome damage to humans. There were hundreds of cases of children born with deformities.