Taking distinction to the next level : accountability for fighters's failure to distinguish themselves from civilians
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Valparaiso University law review, Vol. 46, no. 3, spring 2012, p. 765-802
Laurie R. Blank
This article explores how the failure to hold persons accountable for perfidy and other violations of the obligation to distinguish between combatants and civilians will continue to undermine the ability of the law to provide maximum protection to innocent civilians during armed conflict. The first section of this article sets forth the parameters of the principle of distinction and how the law of armed conflict (LOAC) implements this fundamental principle. In addition, the first section explores the challenges and complexities of contemporary warfare, specifically with relation to the obligations of distinction. The second section addresses current trends and efforts in the implementation and enforcement of the principle of distinction. Finally, this article highlights LOAC's untapped potential, a gap resulting from the failure to enforce distinction on both sides of the coin.