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• International humanitarian law (IHL) is a set
of rules that aim to limit the effects of armed
conflict.
• It places restrictions on the parties to a
conflict regarding the means and methods of
warfare used.
• It protects people who are not, or are no
longer, participating in hostilities.
• It is also known as the law of war or the law
of armed conflict.
What is IHL?
IHL applies
regardless of the
legality of the
conflict and is
equally binding on
all parties to the
conflict.
IHL is one of the most powerful tools the
international community has at its disposal to ensure
the safety and dignity of people in times of war.
It seeks to preserve a measure of humanity amidst
conflict, with the guiding principle that even in war
there are limits.
Why is IHL important?
IHL is applicable only in case of an international or
non-international armed conflict; in case of other
situations of violence not reaching the threshold for
armed conflict, such as internal disturbances, internal
tensions and other forms of collective violence
that do not amount to armed conflict…
IHL is not applicable and such situations are regulated
by human rights law and domestic law.
IHL governs the conduct of hostilities by the parties to a conflict and protects
persons in enemy hands. It also:
• requires the parties to a conflict to distinguish between
combatants and civilians, and to refrain from attacking civilians;
• prohibits or limits the use of weapons that are particularly cruel or
that do not distinguish between combatants and civilians;
• requires the parties to a conflict to care for the wounded and sick
and to protect medical personnel;
• requires the parties to a conflict to ensure that the dignity of
prisoners of war and civilian internees is preserved, in particular by
allowing visits by ICRC delegates.
How does IHL protect?
IHL applies in three situations:
1. international armed conflicts, which involve at least two
countries;
2. situations where the whole or part of a country’s territory is
occupied by a foreign power;
3. armed conflicts that arise within a country between a
government and one or more organized armed groups, or
between various organized armed groups.
When does IHL apply?
IHL applies to all parties to a conflict,
regardless of who started it.
IHL protects combatants and those who are not, or are
no longer, participating in hostilities, such as:
•• civilians;
•• medical and religious personnel;
•• wounded, shipwrecked and sick combatants;
•• prisoners of war;
•• civilian internees.
WHOM DOES IHL PROTECT?
Recognizing their specific needs, IHL
grants women and
children additional protection.
HISTORY
OF IHL
• Napoleonic Wars in Europe (1803–1815)
• American Civil War (1861–1865)
• War is as old as mankind, and all civilizations and
religions have tried to limit its devastating effects
by subjecting warriors to customary practices,
codes of honour and local or temporary
agreements with the adversary
Henry Dunant, a Swiss businessman, and Guillaume-Henri Dufour, a Swiss army officer.
In 1863, together with
Gustave Moynier, Louis
Appia and Théodore
Maunoir, Dunant and
Dufour founded the
‘Committee of Five’, an
international committee
for the relief of the
military wounded.
This would become the
International Committee
of the Red Cross in
1876.
Un souvenir de Solferino (A Memory
of Solferino), in which he made
essentially two proposals.
First, independent relief
organizations should be
established to provide care to
wounded soldiers on the
battlefield
Second, an international
agreement should be reached
to grant such organizations the
protection of neutrality.
The Swiss government, at the prompting of the
five founding members
of the ICRC, convened a diplomatic conference
in 1864. It was attended
by 16 States, who adopted the Convention for
the Amelioration of the
Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the
Field.
That was the birth of
modern IHL.
After World War II… the 1949 Diplomatic Conference adopted a revised and completed set of
four Geneva Conventions;
1.the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the
Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (First Geneva
Convention),
2.the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of
Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at
Sea (Second Geneva Convention),
3.the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War
(Third Geneva Convention)
4.the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in
Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention).
1954 The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the
Event of Armed Conflict
• War between sovereign States
(international armed conflicts)
• War between governments
and organized armed groups
(non-international armed
conflicts)
• Wars of national liberation
DOUBLE CLASSIFICATION
A situation may be classified as more
than one armed conflict. This
happens for instance in certain cases
of foreign intervention, or when a
State is fighting against both an armed
group and another State.
Proliferation of non-
international PROXY WARS
between governments and
organized armed groups, in
which each side was
supported by one of the
superpowers.
CONTEMPORARY
CHALLENGES
The “war on terror” and
the rise of organized crime
The decade-long nuclear stalemate between superpowers
was no longer perceived as the world’s foremost security
concern, and the focus shifted to the vulnerability of
modern, globalized society to the harm caused by
sophisticated TERRORIST GROUPS and other forms of
transnational organized crime.
• Can all or part of the global “war on terror” be regarded as an
armed conflict governed by IHL?
• If so, what are the geographic delimitations of this conflict and
how does IHL interrelate with human rights law?
• What is the legal status of suspected terrorists, including
those deprived of their liberty?
• Are they “unprivileged” combatants subject to direct attack?
• Or are they civilian criminals subject to arrest and prosecution
under the rules of law enforcement?
• Once captured, are they entitled to combatant and
prisoner-of-war status, or are they to be treated as
civilian internees?
• What are the judicial guarantees and procedural rights
of persons interned or prosecuted for their alleged
involvement in transnational terrorism?
• What limits does the prohibition of torture and
inhumane treatment impose on interrogation methods
used to avert a perceived imminent terrorist threat?
TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME becoming a
primary international security concern
counter-narcotics
counter-piracy operations
urban gang warfare
mass hostage-taking
the distinction between peace and armed
conflict and between policing and military
hostilities, is becoming increasingly blurred,
and there is growing confusion as to the legal
standards governing such situations.
Asymmetric conflicts and the challenge to non-
reciprocity
Since the end of the Cold War,
armed conflicts have become
increasingly ASYMMETRIC,
typically pitting overwhelmingly
powerful States against often
poorly organized and equipped
armed groups.
The enormous technological and military
superiority of the States involved has led
opposition groups to avoid identification and
defeat by moving underground, intermingling
with the civilian population and engaging in
various forms of guerrilla warfare.
military confrontations often take place in
the midst of densely populated areas, which not
only exposes the civilian population to
increased risks of incidental harm, but also
facilitates the direct participation of civilians in
hostilities
unable to prevail in direct confrontations with
the enemy, armed groups are increasingly
tempted to resort to means and methods
prohibited by IHL, such as mis-using civilian
clothing to perfidiously kill, wound or capture an
adversary, conducting indiscriminate attacks, or
even directly targeting civilians, humanitarian or
medical personnel and their infrastructure (so-
called “soft-targets”)
this trend has put considerable strain
on the concepts of non-reciprocity
and the equality of
belligerents and, unfortunately, on
the willingness of both State armed
forces and non-State armed groups
to accept their obligations under
IHL…
Privatization and civilianization of military and
security activities
IHL does not prohibit the outsourcing of military and security
functions but even stipulates that civilians formally authorized
to accompany the armed forces in an international armed
conflict be entitled to prisoner-of-war status upon capture
The past decade, however, has seen an unprecedented
trend towards the outsourcing of functions traditionally
assumed by State armed forces to private military and
security companies.
The privatization of military functions…
• it must be emphasized that States cannot,
through the practice of out sourcing,
absolve themselves of their legal
responsibilities under IHL.
• whatever their functions or activities may
be, private contractors never fall outside the
protection of IHL.
New weapons technologies
Where IHL is applicable, the
systematic use of drones
raises concerns with regard to
the reliability of the targeting
information used, the exposure
of the civilian population to
incidental harm, and the
inability of the attacker to care
for the wounded, or to capture
rather than kill.
Remote-controlled Drones
it is unclear whether cyber
operations, in and of
themselves, could give rise to
an armed conflict and, thus,
trigger the applicability of IHL
Nanotechnology
and autonomous weapons
• this prospect clearly raises questions as to
the operational control of such weapon
systems and the legal and criminal
responsibility for the harm done by them in
case of actions violating IHL.
Respect for IHL
The most urgent humanitarian
need is not to adopt new rules
but rather to ensure actual
compliance with the existing
legal framework.
Thank You

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HISTORY OF IHL.pptx

  • 1.
  • 2. • International humanitarian law (IHL) is a set of rules that aim to limit the effects of armed conflict. • It places restrictions on the parties to a conflict regarding the means and methods of warfare used. • It protects people who are not, or are no longer, participating in hostilities. • It is also known as the law of war or the law of armed conflict. What is IHL?
  • 3. IHL applies regardless of the legality of the conflict and is equally binding on all parties to the conflict.
  • 4.
  • 5. IHL is one of the most powerful tools the international community has at its disposal to ensure the safety and dignity of people in times of war. It seeks to preserve a measure of humanity amidst conflict, with the guiding principle that even in war there are limits. Why is IHL important?
  • 6. IHL is applicable only in case of an international or non-international armed conflict; in case of other situations of violence not reaching the threshold for armed conflict, such as internal disturbances, internal tensions and other forms of collective violence that do not amount to armed conflict… IHL is not applicable and such situations are regulated by human rights law and domestic law.
  • 7. IHL governs the conduct of hostilities by the parties to a conflict and protects persons in enemy hands. It also: • requires the parties to a conflict to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and to refrain from attacking civilians; • prohibits or limits the use of weapons that are particularly cruel or that do not distinguish between combatants and civilians; • requires the parties to a conflict to care for the wounded and sick and to protect medical personnel; • requires the parties to a conflict to ensure that the dignity of prisoners of war and civilian internees is preserved, in particular by allowing visits by ICRC delegates. How does IHL protect?
  • 8. IHL applies in three situations: 1. international armed conflicts, which involve at least two countries; 2. situations where the whole or part of a country’s territory is occupied by a foreign power; 3. armed conflicts that arise within a country between a government and one or more organized armed groups, or between various organized armed groups. When does IHL apply? IHL applies to all parties to a conflict, regardless of who started it.
  • 9. IHL protects combatants and those who are not, or are no longer, participating in hostilities, such as: •• civilians; •• medical and religious personnel; •• wounded, shipwrecked and sick combatants; •• prisoners of war; •• civilian internees. WHOM DOES IHL PROTECT? Recognizing their specific needs, IHL grants women and children additional protection.
  • 11. • Napoleonic Wars in Europe (1803–1815) • American Civil War (1861–1865) • War is as old as mankind, and all civilizations and religions have tried to limit its devastating effects by subjecting warriors to customary practices, codes of honour and local or temporary agreements with the adversary
  • 12. Henry Dunant, a Swiss businessman, and Guillaume-Henri Dufour, a Swiss army officer. In 1863, together with Gustave Moynier, Louis Appia and Théodore Maunoir, Dunant and Dufour founded the ‘Committee of Five’, an international committee for the relief of the military wounded. This would become the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1876.
  • 13. Un souvenir de Solferino (A Memory of Solferino), in which he made essentially two proposals. First, independent relief organizations should be established to provide care to wounded soldiers on the battlefield Second, an international agreement should be reached to grant such organizations the protection of neutrality.
  • 14. The Swiss government, at the prompting of the five founding members of the ICRC, convened a diplomatic conference in 1864. It was attended by 16 States, who adopted the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field. That was the birth of modern IHL.
  • 15.
  • 16. After World War II… the 1949 Diplomatic Conference adopted a revised and completed set of four Geneva Conventions; 1.the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (First Geneva Convention), 2.the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea (Second Geneva Convention), 3.the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (Third Geneva Convention) 4.the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth Geneva Convention). 1954 The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict
  • 17.
  • 18.
  • 19. • War between sovereign States (international armed conflicts) • War between governments and organized armed groups (non-international armed conflicts) • Wars of national liberation DOUBLE CLASSIFICATION A situation may be classified as more than one armed conflict. This happens for instance in certain cases of foreign intervention, or when a State is fighting against both an armed group and another State.
  • 20. Proliferation of non- international PROXY WARS between governments and organized armed groups, in which each side was supported by one of the superpowers.
  • 21. CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES The “war on terror” and the rise of organized crime
  • 22. The decade-long nuclear stalemate between superpowers was no longer perceived as the world’s foremost security concern, and the focus shifted to the vulnerability of modern, globalized society to the harm caused by sophisticated TERRORIST GROUPS and other forms of transnational organized crime.
  • 23. • Can all or part of the global “war on terror” be regarded as an armed conflict governed by IHL? • If so, what are the geographic delimitations of this conflict and how does IHL interrelate with human rights law? • What is the legal status of suspected terrorists, including those deprived of their liberty? • Are they “unprivileged” combatants subject to direct attack? • Or are they civilian criminals subject to arrest and prosecution under the rules of law enforcement?
  • 24. • Once captured, are they entitled to combatant and prisoner-of-war status, or are they to be treated as civilian internees? • What are the judicial guarantees and procedural rights of persons interned or prosecuted for their alleged involvement in transnational terrorism? • What limits does the prohibition of torture and inhumane treatment impose on interrogation methods used to avert a perceived imminent terrorist threat?
  • 25. TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME becoming a primary international security concern counter-narcotics counter-piracy operations urban gang warfare mass hostage-taking
  • 26. the distinction between peace and armed conflict and between policing and military hostilities, is becoming increasingly blurred, and there is growing confusion as to the legal standards governing such situations.
  • 27. Asymmetric conflicts and the challenge to non- reciprocity Since the end of the Cold War, armed conflicts have become increasingly ASYMMETRIC, typically pitting overwhelmingly powerful States against often poorly organized and equipped armed groups.
  • 28. The enormous technological and military superiority of the States involved has led opposition groups to avoid identification and defeat by moving underground, intermingling with the civilian population and engaging in various forms of guerrilla warfare.
  • 29. military confrontations often take place in the midst of densely populated areas, which not only exposes the civilian population to increased risks of incidental harm, but also facilitates the direct participation of civilians in hostilities
  • 30. unable to prevail in direct confrontations with the enemy, armed groups are increasingly tempted to resort to means and methods prohibited by IHL, such as mis-using civilian clothing to perfidiously kill, wound or capture an adversary, conducting indiscriminate attacks, or even directly targeting civilians, humanitarian or medical personnel and their infrastructure (so- called “soft-targets”)
  • 31. this trend has put considerable strain on the concepts of non-reciprocity and the equality of belligerents and, unfortunately, on the willingness of both State armed forces and non-State armed groups to accept their obligations under IHL…
  • 32. Privatization and civilianization of military and security activities IHL does not prohibit the outsourcing of military and security functions but even stipulates that civilians formally authorized to accompany the armed forces in an international armed conflict be entitled to prisoner-of-war status upon capture
  • 33. The past decade, however, has seen an unprecedented trend towards the outsourcing of functions traditionally assumed by State armed forces to private military and security companies.
  • 34. The privatization of military functions… • it must be emphasized that States cannot, through the practice of out sourcing, absolve themselves of their legal responsibilities under IHL. • whatever their functions or activities may be, private contractors never fall outside the protection of IHL.
  • 36. Where IHL is applicable, the systematic use of drones raises concerns with regard to the reliability of the targeting information used, the exposure of the civilian population to incidental harm, and the inability of the attacker to care for the wounded, or to capture rather than kill. Remote-controlled Drones
  • 37. it is unclear whether cyber operations, in and of themselves, could give rise to an armed conflict and, thus, trigger the applicability of IHL
  • 38. Nanotechnology and autonomous weapons • this prospect clearly raises questions as to the operational control of such weapon systems and the legal and criminal responsibility for the harm done by them in case of actions violating IHL.
  • 40. The most urgent humanitarian need is not to adopt new rules but rather to ensure actual compliance with the existing legal framework.

Editor's Notes

  1. At the same time, efforts to avoid unnecessary suffering among combatants and to minimize incidental harm to civilians have resulted in a range of international conventions and protocols prohibiting or restricting the development, stockpiling or use of various weapons, including chemical and biological weapons, incendiary weapons, blinding laser weapons, landmines and cluster munitions.