Research handbook on international conflict and security law : jus ad bellum, jus in bello and jus post bellum
Cheltenham ; Northampton : E. Elgar, 2013
p. 256-314 : diagr.
In this article the authors investigate issues related to the definitions of International Armed Conflict (IAC) and Non-International Armed Conflict (NIAC). By doing so, they hope to show why these two definitions remain the clearest method of categorizing armed conflict. The authors explore several definitional issues related to international conflicts, including: when a conflict should be regarded as an IAC despite the participation of non-universally recognized state-actors; why participation by international organizations like NATO should only complicate IAC qualification if the involved forces cannot be attributed to the contributing state; and when an IAC ought to transition to a NIAC in the event of a defeated regime. Turning to NIAC issues, the authors argue that while most armed conflicts today are non-international, a comprehensive NIAC definition remains elusive. The basic definition is found in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, but NIACs are defined differently under various treaty regimes. After surveying the definitional elements in existing treaties, the authors then investigate how a conflict may remain a NIAC even when crossing international borders, or involving foreign interventions. Finally, the authors argue that when facing ‘mixed conflicts’ that involve both state and non-state actors, improved compliance with international humanitarian law will result from defining a network of individual IAC and NIAC relationships amongst the actors. They recommend against adding a broad third category like ‘Transnational Armed Conflicts’ to the existing categories of armed conflict. [Summary by students at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law (IHRP)]
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