The dilemma of direct participation in hostilities
Host item entries:
Journal of transnational law and policy, Vol. 19, no. 2, Spring 2010, p. 281-309
A universal and comprehensive definition of direct participation in hostilities (DPH) does not exist. Furthermore, modern warfare's tendency to blur the distinction between combatant and civilian necessitates a new interpretation of DPH. However, States have incentives to pursue narrow or broad interpretations of DPH, or even both. These contradictory strategies create a dilemma for policymakers who seek to reinterpret the concept of DPH. Any revision is likely to put some group of individuals at risk; there is not a simple answer to the question of how to best revise DPH. Instead, a dramatic revision of DPH is needed. This Essay will briefly examine the law of armed conflict before exploring the merits of the interpretations of DPH adopted by the United States, Israel, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Lastly, this essay will recommend a potential solution to the dilemma of DPH interpretation: a limited membership-based approach.