At the fault-lines of armed conflict : the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah conflict and the framework of international humanitarian law
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Australian international law journal, Vol. 16, issue 1, 2009, p. 189-218
The laws of armed conflict, or international humanitarian law (HL), divide armed conflict into two categories, international and non-international, with far fewer rules applicable to the latter. The conflicts of today, however, increasingly blur the lines between the two, often involving non-State parties with military capabilities on a par with States, and wreaking the same destruction as conflicts between States. One such example was the conflict in 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah. This article examines whether the conflict in Lebanon was international or non-international, and asks which laws applied to that conflict. The article argues that the 2006 conflict was non-international, and concludes that only the bare minimum treaty protection, as well as relevant customary laws, applied. In doing so, the article explores the legal problems created by modern conflicts with powerful non-State actors like Hezbollah. It argues for an expansion in the application of the laws applicable to international armed conflict in order to fill the lacuna, and calls for an independent international body to make determinations on the classification of conflicts until the gap between the rules of international and non-international armed conflict can be closed.