Application of international humanitarian law in contemporary armed conflicts : is it "simply" a question of facts ?
Armed conflicts and international humanitarian law : 150 years after Solferino : acquis and prospects
Athènes : Ant. N. Sakkoulas ; Bruxelles : E. Bruylant, 2009
This article addresses the challenges posed to IHL by the nature of current conflicts and considers how such challenges affect the application of IHL. For example, the new category of transnational wars need to be covered by IHL, but this form of conflict lacks the clear-cut dimensions that are required for the law to be easily applied. The author thus questions whether IHL remains relevant. She considers whether IHL’s continued relevance requires a broadening of its scope to adapt to other changes such as the increasing importance of non-state actors in international armed conflict and the rising prevalence of non-international armed conflicts. In order to address this point, the author examines multiple contemporary cases where the hostilities do not fit into the traditional typology of IHL, including the Israel/Palestine conflict and the crisis in Darfur. The author questions whether the theory underpinning IHL can be re-worked to address these new areas of concern without compromising IHL’s traditional goals. The author concludes that what is needed is an interpretation of IHL that is less state-centric. Moreover, she argues that this retooling should be done in a way that is “consistent, convincing and respectful” of the roots and traditions of IHL. [Summary by students at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law (IHRP)]