Asymmetrical warfare and challenges to international humanitarian law
Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg
Global violence : consequences and responses
Milano : Franco Angeli : International Institute of Humanitarian Law, 2011
Asymmetric warfare clearly constitutes a challenge to the international legal order and to its underlying values. While it does not justify a deviation from well-established rules and principles of the law of armed conflict, it necessary to strengthen that law by offering incentives, especially to non-State actors, to comply with that law if it is applicable ratione materiae. Since, however, such incentives will very often prove futile, because asymmetric actors will not abandon the options opened by a deliberate violation of the law of armed conflict, a thorough investigation/fact-finding by a neutral and respected international commission will be the first step that could contribute to repressing such conduct. A second step is criminal prosecution - either under domestic or under international criminal law.