Fundamental rules of international humanitarian law Case studies

1. A submarine of Aland and a cruiser of Bland, two sovereign States, are engaged in a battle at sea. The submarine manages to sink the vessel of Bland. The crew members rescue themselves on life-rafts. After surfacing, the Aland commander orders to destroy the life-rafts and abandon the survivors to their fate.
Was it allowed under IHL to sink the vessel of Bland? to destroy the life-rafts? to abandon the survivors?

2. The armed forces of Bland close in on a unit of Aland. Short of ammunition, and with many casualties, the unit surrenders. The forces of Bland, facing themselves many dead and wounded, kill all members of the unit.
Was the killing of the enemy soldiers a legitimate act of war?

5. Insurgents control part of the territory of Aland. In a major offensive they drove out the government forces. A front line is separating the territory under dissident control from the rest of the country. Xman is a commander of the dissident forces. He was arrested four years ago by the armed forces of Aland for terrorist activities. During the interrrogation shortly after the arrest, he was repeatedly beaten. A prosecutor took his statement one week later. Since then, Xman is awaiting his trial. There has never been any information from the court.
Was it allowed under IHL to arrest the commander? Were any rules of IHL violated in the subsequent proceedings?

3. After a battle between Aland and Bland, the armed forces of Bland withdraw. They leave behind the wounded and part of their medical personnel. The forces of Aland capture the medical personnel which are clearly identified by armlets whit a red cross on a white background, and make them serve their own wounded troops.
Is it allowed under IHL to capture medical personnel of the enemy? to use enemy medical personnel for the treatment of ones own wounded and sick? to leave enemy wounded without care, and treat only one's own wounded, when there is not enough medical personnel?

6. Bland developed a new kind of assault rifle using very light ammunition. After an intense battle with the armed forces of Aland, doctors of Aland discover that the bullets used by the enemy provoked severe injuries in human bodies. In fact, it appears that the bullets turn inside the body, their kinetic energy is transfered to neighbouring tissues and their shock-wave would damage relatively distant organs. It is established that regular bullets do not inflict such injuries.
Are there limits to the means of warfare under international humanitarian law?

4. A number of combatants from Aland are detained in a camp by Bland. The conditions in the camp are such that there is a high mortality rate among the prisoners. The disciplinary regime is harsh and corporal punishment frequently administered. All correspondence of the prisoners is subject to censure. Parcels from home arrive at the camp, but never reach the prisoners.
Bland claims that the prisoners are being treated in conformity with its national legislation on the execution of punishments. What do you think of this argument? Are there any other rules applicable to the treatment, correspondence and parcels of the prisoners?

7. An armed conflict rages in Aland between two rival factions. The village of Z is located within the range of the artillery of one of the factions. The commander of the artillery unit knows that members of the adverse group are hiding in the village. He estimates it being to dangerous to enter the village with his unit. He decides to destroy the entire village from a distance.
Is the decision of the commander a legitimate act of warfare?

Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the object of attack. Applicable law: Article 6 AP II (judicial guarantees). Article 18 GC II (search for casualties after engagement). It is forbidden to kill or injure an enemy who surrenders or who is hors de combat. 5. They shall be protected against all acts of violence and reprisals. Applicable law: Article 12 GC II (protection and care).Answers 1. Applicable Law: Article 48 AP I. Applicable law: Article 12 GC I (protection and care). Article 10 AP I. The emblem of the red cross or the red crescent is the sign of such protection and must be respected. Article 71 GC III (correspondence). Captured combatants and civilians under the authority of an adverse party are entitled to respect for their lives. No one shall be held responsible for an act he has not committed. Persons hors de combat and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their lives and their moral and physical integrity. transports and equipment. 2. Applicable law: Article 12 GC I (protection and care). Applicable law: Article 35 AP I. No one shall be subjected to physical or mental torture. 7. It is prohibited to employ weapons or methods of warfare of a nature to cause unnecessary losses or excessive suffering. Parties to a conflict and members of their armed forces do not have an unlimited choice of methods and means of warfare. Everyone shall be entitled to benefit from fundamental judicial guarantees. establishments. They shall in all circumstances be protected and treated humanely without any adverse distinction. 3. They shall have the right to correspond with their families and to receive relief. corporal punishment or cruel or degrading treatment. . Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to spare civilian population and property. dignity. Protection also covers medical personnel. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives. The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for by the party to the conflict which has them in its power. 6. personal rights and convictions. Article 72 GC III (relief shipments). Applicable law: Article 13 GC III (humane treatment of prisoners). 4.

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