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INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW and THE IRAQ CRISIS. SUSAN SOUX April 2003. International Humanitarian Law ?.

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international humanitarian law
International Humanitarian Law ?

the RULES which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict,protect people who are not, or are no longer taking part in the hostilities, and to restrict the methods and means of warfare employed

geneva
Geneva

‘the law of Geneva is designed to safeguard military personnel who are no longer taking part in the fighting and people not actively involved in hostilities’

  • Hors de combat
  • Civilians
  • Medical/religious personnel
the hague
The Hague

‘the law of The Hague establishes the rights and obligations of belligerents in the conduct of military operations, and limits the means of harming the enemy’

international humanitarian law prohibits all means and methods of warfare which
International humanitarian law prohibits all means and methods of warfare which:
  • fail to discriminate
  • cause superfluous injury orunnecessary suffering
  • causesevere orlong-term damage to the environment.
slide7
Other agreements prohibit the use of certain weapons and military tactics and protect certain categories of people and goods.

Ÿ the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, plus its two protocols;Ÿ the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention;Ÿ the 1980 Conventional Weapons Convention and its four protocols;Ÿ the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention;Ÿ the 1997 Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel mines;Ÿ the 2000 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

Many provisions of international humanitarian law are now accepted as customary law – that is, as general rules by which all States are bound.

history
History
  • 1859 – Battle of Solferino
  • 1863 – ICRC
  • Geneva Conventions - 1864
  • Hague laws – 1899/1907
  • 1949 –Geneva conventions
  • 1977 – Additional Protocols
geneva conventions 1949
Geneva Conventions 1949

Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and

Sick in Armed Forces in the Field. Geneva, 12 August 1949.

Convention (II) for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded,

Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea. Geneva,

12 August 1949.

Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva,

12 August 1949.

Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

Geneva, 12 August 1949.

Iraq ratified Geneva Conventions 1956

US ratified in 1955

additional protocols 1977
Additional Protocols 1977
  • Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977.
  • Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), 8 June 1977.

Neither Iraq nor the US have ratified the Protocols

international human rights law
International Human Rights Law
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights –1948
  • International Covenant on Social,Economic and cultural Right
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

…other conventions/covenants…

  • Convention on the Status of Refugees– 1951
  • Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement- 1998
international tribunals
International Tribunals
  • Nuremburg
  • ICTY - Hague
  • ICTR - Rwanda
  • Sierra Leone
  • International Criminal Court (Rome – 1998/2002)

… Universal Jurisdiction …

‘Genocide’

‘War Crimes’ ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

current issues
Current Issues
  • Allegations of indiscriminate bombing
  • Targeting under IHL
  • Ensuring Humanitarian Access
  • Status of Combatants, Civilians and Civilians Taking Up Arms
  • Suicide Attacks - ‘Perfidy’
  • Occupying Forces
international red cross
International Red Cross

Protectors of the Geneva Conventions

‘impartial, neutral and independent

from any political objective’

  • ‘Right to be present’ when conflict breaks out
  • Protect the lives and dignity of victims of war
  • Monitors compliance with Geneva Conventions
  • Visits POW’s
  • Provides medical/humanitarian assistance
slide16
IRAQ

ICRC - in battle areas

  • Hospitals
  • Water
  • Pow’s
  • Tracing

IFRC and Red Crescent Societies – outside the battle

  • Refugee camps
  • Tracing
  • Humanitarian assistance
slide24
Resources:
  • www.icrc.org
  • www.ifrc.org
  • www.redcross.ca
  • http://www.ihlresearch.org/iraq/
  • http://www.reliefweb.int/ocha_ol/civilians/
  • www.unhcr.ch
slide25
"As human beings, we cannot be neutral, or at least have no right to be, when other human beings are suffering. Each of us...must do what he or she can to help those in need, even though it would be much safer and more comfortable to do nothing."

-Kofi AnnanUN Secretary-General