Many of the perpetuated armed conflicts in the Great Lakes Region in Africa take place in war-torn areas of limited statehood. These conflicts are characterized by a high number of civilian victims, often resulting from utter disregard for international humanitarian law. Here, the rise of armed, violent non-state actors collides with the State-centric traditional nature of public international law. Thus, (classical) compliance structures seem to lose their significance, as they predominantly rely on the State for law enforcement and therefore mainly accommodate States’ interests when inducing compliance. The working paper suggests that the international community responds to these challenges by allocating competences to other actors than the State. Particularly, international organizations increasingly contribute to enforcing international humanitarian law. However, since these organizations are dependent on their member States’ political willingness to support measures for inducing compliance effectively, a proliferation of humanitarian non-state actors can be observed that step in where third States and international organizations are reluctant to act. The paper investigates reasons for compliance and arrives at the conclusion that traditional motives rooted in a logic of consequences, as well as appropriateness are still valid and must therefore be addressed by the corresponding compliance mechanisms. These compliance mechanisms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Persuasion and incentives work more effectively if they are used under a shadow of hierarchy thrown by coercive legal enforcement instruments, such as international criminal justice and UN targeted sanctions. These instruments are in turn more effective if they are part of a concerted effort.
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