New frontiers in the laws of war : international humanitarian law transparency
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Journal of transnational law and policy, Vol. 23, 2013-2014, p. 93-117
This article identifies the demand for public transparency as a new frontier in international humanitarian law (IHL). When new conflicts occur, they expose the limitations of the IHL regime and often spur major reform efforts. It suggests that the growing movement for greater public access to information is just as significant as proposals for substantive IHL changes, calls for enhanced accountability, and suggestions for better training. Its advocates contend that information is a necessary precondition to intelligent public debate over IHL reform and assessments of IHL compliance. Demands for enhanced public transparency span the range of IHL activities: the classification of conflicts, the sorting of combatants and civilians, the numbers of civilian casualties, the deployment of unlawful weapons, the conditions of detention, the use of coercive interrogation, its facilitation via extraordinary rendition, and the punishment for unlawful activities.