Anicee Van Engeland describes how the practice and evolution of warfare have turned international humanitarian law into an enigmatic law that is complex to understand, interpret, and enforce. Van Engeland identifies the challenges that advocates of international humanitarian law face, which range from genocide, asymmetrical warfare, and terrorism to rape as a weapon. The events of 9/11 and the aftermath have put this branch of international law, in particular, the distinction between civilians and combatants, to the test. Van Engeland describes how some analysts have both questioned whether international law can adapt to these issues and challenged international humanitarian law on the basis that it cannot meet today's warfare realities. Van Engeland responds to these critics, reminding readers that international humanitarian law was not drafted to rule on war, but rather to protect victims of war, in particular civilians. Consequently, Van Engeland demonstrates that this branch of international law is in constant evolution. Through a thorough and illustrated analysis, Van Engeland explains how civilians and combatants are still distinguishable, as well as how international humanitarian has been stretched to meet these challenges.
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