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1/25/2017 DifferencebetweenInternationalhumanrightslawandinternationalhumanitarianlaw|DaviesChipindaeAcademia.

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International human rights law (IHRL) and International humanitarian law (IHL) are
traditionallytwodistinctbranchesoflaw.Whilethefirstdealswiththeinherentrightsofthe
person to be protected at all times against abusive power, the other regulates the conduct of
parties to an armed conflict. he two however, can be said to be legally synonymous as they
strivetoprotectthelives,healthanddignityofindividuals,fromdifferentangles. ! hedutyto
implementbothIHLandIHRlieswithstatesandasIHLobliges"tatestota#epracticalandlegal
measures,suchasenactingpenallegislationanddisseminatingIHLsimilarly,underIHRLstates
areboundbylawtoaccordnationallawwithinternationalobligations.$

IHRLisasystemofinternationalnormsdesignedtoprotectandpromotethehumanrightsofall
persons. hese rights which are inherent in all human beings without discrimination are often
.&IHRLfurtherlaysdowntheobligationsofstates
e%pressedandguaranteedbyinternationallaw
toactincertainwaysortorefrainfromcertainacts,inordertopromoteandprotectthehuman
rightsandfundamentalfreedomsofindividualsorgroupswhereasIHLisasetofruleswhich
see#,forhumanitarianreasons,tolimittheeffectsofarmedconflict.' Itprotectspersonswhoare
notorarenolongerparticipatinginthehostilities,andrestrictsthemeansandmethodsof
warfare.Itsscopeis,therefore,limitedtosituationsofarmedconflict. orIHL,thee%istenceofa
situationamountingtoanarmedconflictisnecessarytotriggeritsapplicability.

Inaddition,IHListhelawonhowforcemaybeused,meaningitcreatesalevelplayingfield
whichhastobedistinguishedfromIHRLthelawonthelegitimacyoftheuseofforcewhich
recogni*eshumanrightsandcondoneswar.IHLdoesnotconcernitselfwiththelegalityofthe

1CDroegeInterplaybetweenInternationalHumanitarianLawandInternational
HumanRightsLawinSituationsofArmedCon i t!"#$$%& 40 IsraelLawReview at
'1$('))*

#H+riegerA on i tofnorms,therelationshipbetweenhumanitarianlawand
humanrightslawintheICRC ustomarylawstudy!"#$$& 11 "#&JournalofCon ict
andSecurityLaw at#)(#.1*

'Ibid*

/Da0idHarrisetal InternationalHumanRightsLaw "#$1$&/ 1*

)R2ilde3riggeringState4bligations56traterritorially,3heSpatial3estinCertain
HumanRights3reaties!"#$$%& 40 "#& IsraelLawReview at)$'()#*

warbutdealswithhowitisfoughtandhastobeappliede+uallybyallsidestoeveryarmed
conflict. hise+ualitybetweenthebelligerentsalsocruciallydistinguishesanarmedconflict,to
whichinternationalhumanitarianlawapplies,fromacrime,towhichonlycriminallawandthe
rulesofhumanrightslawonlawenforcementapply.

titscore,IHRLisabitbroadinapplicationasitsee#storegulatetherelationshipofthe
governmenttoitspopulationandobligesthegovernmenttodowhatisnecessarytoensurethe
safetyandwell beingofitspeoplewhereasIHLismorelimited,applyingonlyduringarmed
conflictandsee#ingtoin/ectamodicumofhumanityintowartimebyregulatingthemeansand
methodsofwarfareandprotectingthosenotdirectlyparticipatinginhostilities.0Inotherwaysit
canbesaidthatwhileIHRLhasafundamentalmissionoftransformingtherelationshipbetween
the government and the population, IHL aims primarily to limit the effects of hostilities on
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the government and the population, IHL aims primarily to limit the effects of hostilities on
populations,beitdetaineesorcivilians.

2
ccordingto1roege, oneofthema/ordifferencesisthatthesubstantiveprotectionaperson
benefitsunderIHLdependsonthecategorythatpersonbelongsto,whileundertheIHRbenefits
applytoall. heprotectionofciviliansisnotthesameastheprotectionofcombatantsandsuch
distinctionisimportantinapplicationofIHL.34ombatantsmaybeattac#eduntiltheysurrender
or are otherwise hors de combat , while civilians may not be targeted, unless they directly
participateinhostilities,hence areprotectedbytheprinciplesof proportionalityand precaution
againsttheincidentaleffectsofattac#sagainstmilitaryob/ectivesandcombatants.!5 romsuchit
isevidentthatIHLweighsthehumanitarianinterestsofthepopulationagainsttheinterestsof
partiestoarmedconflictattemptingtoachievetheirmilitaryob/ectives.

SChesterman Justwaror ust!eace"humanitarianinterventionandinternational


law "#$$1&46ford7ni0ersity8ress,9ew:or*

%Ibid*

CDroegeInterplaybetweenInternationalHumanitarianLawandInternational
HumanRightsLawinSituationsofArmedCon i t!"#$$%& 40 IsraelLawReview at
'1$('))*

.Ibid*

1$Ibid*

he International 4ourt of 6ustice considered the relationship between IHL and IHRL in

its7uclearWeaponsdvisory8pinionin!33 andconcludedthatwhileIHRdidapplyintimes
ofarmedconflict,whenitcametotheprohibitionofarbitrarilyta#inghumanlifeinrticle of
I449R, !! thecontentofthatprohibitionhadtobefoundinthelex specialis ofIHL. heI46
admittedthattheprotectionoftheI449Rdoesnotceaseintimesofwar,e%ceptbyoperationof
rticle ' of the 4ovenant whereby certain provisions may be derogated from in a time of
nationalemergencybuttherulesembodiedinIHLimposedutiesonallpartiestoaconflictand
donotpermitderogationsbecauseitwasconceivedforemergencysituations.

hecourtfurther confirmedthe complementarity of thetwo inDemocratic Republic of the


12
Congo v. Uganda where it concluded that both branches would have to be ta#en into

considerationandinthecase,internationalhumanrightsinstrumentswerefoundtobeapplicable
inrespectofactsdonebya"tateinthee%erciseofits/urisdictionoutsideitsownterritory.

Humanrightslawsprotectphysicalintegrityandhumandignityinallcircumstances. heyapply
torelationshipsbetweenune+ualparties,protectingthegovernedfromtheirgovernments.:nder
human rights law, no one may be deprived of life e%cept in pursuance of a /udgment by a
competentcourt.!&Italsoregulatesaspectsofastruggleforlifeanddeathbetweencontestants
whooperateonthebasisofformale+uality.IHLhasanarrow,technicalvisionoflegality,as
longastherulesofthegameareobserved,itispermissibletocausesuffering,deprivationof
freedom,anddeath.!'

While IHL and IHRL have different historical and doctrinal roots, both share the aim of
protectingallpersonsand aregrounded intheprinciplesofrespectforthelife,well beingand
1"
humandignityofthepersonandsuchwasacceptedinProsecutorv.AntoFurund i!a wherethe
rial4hamberoftheI4 fortheformerugoslaviaemphasi*edthatthegeneralprincipleof

11InternationalCo0enantonCi0iland8oliti alRights<1.*
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11InternationalCo0enantonCi0iland8oliti alRights<1.*

1# #emocraticRe!u$licoftheCongov%&ganda <#$$)I*C*=*Rep1 <#$$)I*C*=*1


"#$$)&*

1'3>eron3hehumani?ationofhumanitarianlaw!"#$$$&#'. 'mericanJournalof
InternationalLaw at#'.(#% *

1/Ibid*

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