The main epochs of modern international humanitarian law since 1864 and their related dominant legal constructions
Searching for a "principle of humanity" in international humanitarian law
Cambridge [etc.] : Cambridge University Press, 2013
The author distinguishes four main phases of evolution of international humanitarian law. The early phase (1864-1899) saw states produce, construe and deal with IHL essentially as a matter of municipal military law, codified in the international sphere mainly through model rules, where lacunae and subregulations constituted a salient feature. The next phase (1899-1946) saw the evolution of a system where the predominance of sovereignty tended to prevail over the Martens Clause and to enhance the centrality of military necessities. A further phase (1949-1993) developed in which IHL became centred around the concept of humanitarian protection of the victims of war through the introduction of very detailed and non-derogable rules, thereby restricting the freedom of state action, even in non-international armed conflicts. Finally, in the current phase (1993 to date), IHL is becoming progressively "humanised", i.e. "homo-centred" instead of "state-centred", but also increasingly "supplementary", in the sense that it progressively merges with human rights law considerations while being sanctioned and developed through the growing branch of international criminal law. At the same time, military functions are themselves becoming increasingly diverse and multifunctional, creating a need for further regulation of branches of international law other than IHL.