International law has historically been more concerned with the regulation of international, rather than internal, armed conflict. As an integral part of this regime, aimed specifically at the violation of particular rules relating to international armed conflict, the grave breaches provisions of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I have no apparent relevance to internal armed conflict. This article argues that the concept of grave breaches has, nonetheless, impacted in a significant way upon both the substantive laws of internal armed conflict and their criminal enforcement against individuals. Whether the law has developed to a point where grave breaches can equally be committed during internal armed conflict, or where violations of the laws of internal armed conflict can be considered grave breaches such that the obligations to investigate those offences and to prosecute or extradite offenders now also apply - either through the adoption of a teleological approach to the Geneva Conventions, or else through the development of a new customary rule to that effect - is rather more dubious.
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