Problems in Implementing International Humanitarian Law in Non-International Armed Conflicts

Source: OAI


This thesis concerns the problems that surround the implementation and enforcement of international humanitarian law in non-international armed conflicts. The provisions applicable to such conflicts are common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions together with Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions. The main obstacles surrounding the implementation of these provisions are of various natures. States tend to be reluctant to admit that a situation meets the requirements for non-international armed conflicts. States are equally reluctant to recognise armed insurgent factions as parties to such conflicts. Armed insurgent factions, on the other hand, lack motivation to apply the rules since this measure will probably not change their status and treatment under the domestic laws of the State. In addition, the concept of internationalised armed conflict, where a prima facie non-international armed conflict turns international by the involvement of a third State or States, is creating confusion on which legal framework should be applicable. The conclusion is that since the problems surrounding the implementation and enforcement in non-international armed conflicts are various and not easily dealt with under the current provisions, a solution to this problem would be to create one single legal framework for all armed conflicts, abandoning the current division between international and non-international armed conflicts. This would help in the application of the rules and in addition make it easier for the parties involved to abide by them. Unfortunately, it seems that such a solution is yet far away.

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