International Humanitarian Law
• IHL – What it is
• Agreements of IHL
• Protective measures
• Restrictions on weapons and techniques
• Defiance and compliance
• Rules that regulate effects of armed conflicts
• Protects the ailing, injured, hostages and civilians
• Standardizes strategies of armed struggles
• Usage of force regulated by UN
• Makes up Geneva and Hague Conventions
• A.k.a. ‘Law of War’
• ‘Law of armed conflict’
• 19th Century
• States complied with rules of conduct in warfare
• Geneva Conventions – 1864 – established foundations
• 4 Conventions of August 12, 1949:
• Convention 1: Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies
in the Field
• Convention 2: Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded, Sick and
Shipwrecked members of Armed Forces at Sea
• Convention 3: Treatment of Prisoners of War
• Convention 4: Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War
Additional Protocols 1977
• Protocol 1: protects victims of international disputes
• Protocol 2: protects victims of internal armed forces
• Protocol 3: Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem
Further agreements of IHL
Convention for Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed
Conflict and its 2 protocols – 1954.
Biological Weapons Convention – 1972.
Conventional Weapons and its 5 protocols – 1980.
Chemical Weapons Convention – 1993.
Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel mines - 1997.
Optional Protocol to Convention on Rights of the Child and involvement of
children in armed conflict – 2000.
• Applicable when armed conflict has commenced
• Differentiates between international and non-international armed conflict
• International armed conflicts – 2 states comply with Geneva Convention
and Additional Protocol 1
• Non-international conflicts – confined to single nation. Follow Article 3 of
Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol 2
• Safeguards people detached from conflicts
• Regulates means and methods of warfare
• Protects people not participating in conflicts – civilians, doctors etc.
• Protection for those who have ceased fighting – injured, captives etc.
• Entitlement to protection and humane treatment
• Prohibits harming adversaries who are unable to fight
• Civilians under enemies’ control are to be provided with food, shelter etc.
• Red Cross and Red Crescent symbolize protected people
Restrictions on weapons and strategies
• Protects those warfare methods that can’t distinguish between:
People participating in conflicts
People not participating in conflicts
• Safeguards citizens and their properties
• Forbids harmful tactics that result in torment
• Restricts tactics that are detrimental to the environment
Defiance and compliance
• Throughout history, several forces have operated against IHL
• IHL has brought positive changes
• It has restricted usage of atrocious weaponry
• IHL should be respected – fosters humanity
• Nations should raise awareness regarding its rules
• Punish the rebellious for war crimes
• Enact laws to punish violators of IHL
• Pass laws to preserve Red Crescent and Red Cross