International Humanitarian Law International humanitarian law (IHL), or the law of armed conflict, is the law that regulates

the conduct of armed conflicts (Jus in bello ). It comprises "the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, and customary international law." It defines the conduct and responsibilities of belligerent nations, neutral nations and individuals engaged in warfare, in relation to each other and to protected persons, usually meaning civilians. Serious violations of international humanitarian law are called war crimes. International Humanitarian law, Jus in bello regulates the conduct of forces when engaged in war or armed conflict. It is distinct from Jus ad bellum which regulates the conduct of engaging in war or armed conflict and includes Crimes against peace and of War of aggression. Together the Jus in bello and jus ad vellum comprise the two strands laws of war governing all aspects of international armed conflicts. The law is mandatory for nations bound by the appropriate treaties. There are also other customary unwritten rules of war, many of which were explored at the Nuremberg War Trials. By extension, they also define both the permissive rights of these powers as well as prohibitions on their conduct when dealing with irregular forces and nonsignatories. (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) 31-07-2004 Legal Fact Sheet International humanitarian law is a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare. International humanitarian law is also known as the law of war or the law of armed conflict.  International humanitarian law is part of international law, which is the body of rules governing relations between States. International law is contained in agreements between States – treaties or conventions –, in customary rules, which consist of State practice considered by them as legally binding, and in general principles.  International humanitarian law applies to armed conflicts. It does not regulate whether a State may actually use force; this is governed by an important, but distinct, part of international law set out in the United Nations Charter. ( When does international humanitarian law apply? International humanitarian law applies only to armed conflict; it does not cover internal tensions or disturbances such as isolated acts of violence. The law applies only once a conflict has begun, and then equally to all sides regardless of who started the fighting. International humanitarian law distinguishes between international and noninternational armed conflict. International armed conflicts are those in which at least two States are involved. They are subject to a wide range of rules, including those set out in the four Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I. Non-international armed conflicts are those restricted to the territory of a single State, involving either regular armed forces fighting groups of armed dissidents, or armed groups fighting each other. A more limited range of rules apply to internal armed conflicts and are laid down in Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions as well as in Additional Protocol II. It is important to differentiate between international humanitarian law and human rights law. While some of their rules are similar, these two bodies of law have developed separately and are contained in different treaties. In particular, human rights law – unlike international humanitarian law applies in peacetime, and many of its provisions may be suspended during an armed conflict. Extract from ICRC publication "International humanitarian law: answers to your questions" International humanitarian law is applicable in two situations; that is to say, it offers two systems of protection: a) International armed conflicts - In such situations the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I apply; b) Non-international armed conflicts - In the event of a non-international conflict, Article 3 common to the four Conventions and Protocol II apply.

Internationalized non-international armed conflicts are armed conflicts that would be easily characterized as intra-state armed conflicts were it not for some measure of outside support given by other states to one of the parties of the conflict. It should be noted that the conditions of application of Protocol II are stricter than those provided for by Article 3. involving either regular armed forces fighting groups of armed dissidents. When is it an internal armed conflict? Non-international armed conflicts or internal armed conflicts are those restricted to the territory of a single State.When is it an international armed conflict? International armed conflicts are those in which at least two States are involved. For example it would apply to conflicts between the Government and rebel forces. and protects every individual or category of individuals not or no longer actively involved in the hostilities. or armed groups fighting each other. thereby rendering applicable to the said conflict the more comprehensive IAC (international armed conflict) legal regime.  medical and religious personnel. Take the example of a case of ongoing hostilities between a state and a non-state actor within a state (intra-state armed conflict) that spill over to the territory of another state without the involvement of that state. whether regular or not. as defined in Article 1 of Protocol I. This is the case when the intervening state supports the non-state actor in its struggle with the territorial state. That concept is only legally useful if it denotes the transformation of a prima facie non-international armed conflict into an international one. and members of the armed forces ‘medical services.  prisoners of war.  the civilian population.  people deprived of their freedom as a result of the conflict. sick or shipwrecked military personnel in naval warfare. are classified as international armed conflicts. or between two rebel forces. humanitarian law is intended for the armed forces. including those set out in the four Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I. but that are contained within the boundaries of a single country. Wars of national liberation. In such a situation the intervening state is not engaged in hostilities with the non-state actor. for example:  wounded or sick fighters. taking part in the conflict. In such situations. including refugees.:  wounded or sick military personnel in land warfare.  wounded. but rather with the territorial state. there are cases of extra-state hostilities that are not covered by the doctrine of internationalized non-international armed conflict. Moreover.  civilian detainees and internees.  civilians in occupied territories. The applicability of this article rests on the interpretation of the term armed conflict. A more limited range of rules apply to internal armed conflicts and are laid down in Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions as well as in Additional Protocol II.  Medical and religious personnel or civil defense units. Common Article 3 relating to Non-International Armed Conflict This article states that the certain minimum rules of war apply to armed conflict that is not of an international character. They are subject to a wide range of rules. or to other conflicts that have all the characteristics of war but that are carried out within the confines of a single country. for example:  foreign civilians on the territory of parties to the conflict. When is there an internationalized armed conflict? We first need to agree on what the ‘internationalization’ of an internal armed conflict actually means. Some internationalized non-international armed conflicts do not involve extra-state hostilities. and members of the naval forces ‘medical services. i.e. A .  the civilian population. Humanitarian law is intended principally for the parties to the conflict and protects every individual or category of individuals not or no longer actively involved in the conflict.

When the provisions of this article apply. and it must follow IHL. by means of special agreements. mutilation.  The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for. religion or faith. including military persons who have ceased to be active as a result of or any other similar criteria. birth or wealth. Part I : General provisions ARTICLE 3 In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties. It defines certain international laws that strive to provide better protection for victims of internal armed conflicts that take place within the borders of a single country. including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed ' hors de combat ' by sickness. Scope of this Protocol Art 1. (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court. but only subject to the laws of the country in question. the armed group has to control a part of the territory. be treated humanely and impartially. The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict. Common article 3 is a mini convention in itself. (c) outrages upon personal dignity. An impartial humanitarian body. it states that:  Persons taking no active part in hostilities. or detention. The conflict has to be in the territory of a high contracting party. all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention. without any adverse distinction founded on race. execution without proper trial. in particular humiliating and degrading treatment. each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply. it gives the fundamental guarantees of international humanitarian law (IHL). should be treated humanely. Material field of application . (2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for. The rationale for the limitation is to avoid conflict with the rights of Sovereign States that were not part of the treaties.handful of individuals attacking a police station would not be considered an armed conflict subject to this article. and all cruel and degrading treatment. (Wikipedia. taking hostages. the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons: (a) Violence to life and person. detention. The Parties to the conflict should further endeavor to bring into force. the free encyclopedia) Second Additional Protocol (IIAP) from 1977 also deals with internal armed conflicts and is applicable for those states (162 states in August 2006) that have ratified it. the following is always prohibited: murder. mutilation. or any other cause. Protocol II Protocol II is a 1977 amendment protocol to the Geneva Conventions relating to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. (b) taking of hostages. The other Geneva Conventions are not applicable in this situation but only the provisions contained within Article 3. such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict. affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples. the following provisions: (1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities. In the Second Additional Protocol there is a threshold for applicability. Article 3 stipulates that all those who do not take part in the hostilities shall. The scope of these laws is more limited than those of the rest of the Geneva Conventions out of respect for sovereign rights and duties of national governments. shall in all circumstances be treated humanely.nsf/FULL/475?OpenDocument When is it applicable? Part I. Full article found in: http://www. Further. in all circumstances. and additionally within the language of Protocol II. injury.icrc. in particular murder of all kinds. torture. the conflict has to take place between the government's armed forces and another organized armed group. as a minimum. sex. wounds. Wounded and sick have the right to medical care. To this end. cruel treatment and torture. colour.

Many reports make no reference to it. Civilian civil defense organizations of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict and international coordinating organizations. Members of the armed forces and military units assigned to civil defense organizations 5. — When humanitarian and human rights standards are equally applicable. such as riots. shall apply to all armed conflicts which are not covered by Article 1 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949. but do not mention the specific facts of the case or the relevant provisions of that law.htm) Classes of Persons Protected 1. Journalists . This 4. It occurs in four types of situations: — When humanitarian law standards are expressly designed to cover a specific practice. exercise such control over a part of its territory as to enable them to carry out sustained and concerted military operations and to implement this Protocol. as not being armed conflicts. which human rights standards cover only indirectly. This Protocol shall not apply to situations of internal disturbances and tensions. the application of humanitarian law by UNhuman rights mechanisms is increasing. (http://www. under responsible command. 2.1. UN human rights mechanisms do not apply international humanitarian law consistently. Civilian civil defense organizations and their personnel 3. Indeed the boundaries between them are fluid and depend mainly on how broadly the relevant provisions of international human rights law are interpreted. — When the applicable humanitarian standards merge with human rights law. isolated and sporadic acts of violence and other acts of a similar nature. Nevertheless. These categories are not mutually exclusive. even when they recognize the existence of an armed conflict. and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I) and which take place in the territory of a High Contracting Party between its armed forces and dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups which. — When humanitarian law is more appropriate than human rights law because of the identity of the offender. Women and children 6. Civilian population 2.icrc. Others contain vague affirmations that humanitarian law has been violated. which develops and supplements Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 without modifying its existing conditions of application.

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