Privileging asymmetric warfare (Part III) ? : the intentional killing of civilians under international humanitarian law
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Chicago journal of international law, Vol. 12, no. 2, Winter 2012, p. 589-603
The overarching objective of the law of armed conflict is the minimization of harm to civilians during such conflicts. Yet, at least in some circles, there is a reluctance to make evaluative judgments about non-state groups who, in a variety of contexts, intentionally target civilians as a tactic in pursuing their political or military objectives. The focus of this paper is on Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 - the strongest, least debatable basis for applying certain IHL principles to those who kill noncombatants during internal armed conflict. It seeks to demonstrate that Common Article 3 binds both the state and those seeking its violent overthrow. The binding force of Common Article 3 flows both from the positive premise that states can legislate on behalf of all those within its territory, even its armed opponents, and from the fact that Common Article 3 reflects customary international law.
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