Complicity in violations of international humanitarian law
Helmut Philipp Aust
Inducing compliance with international humanitarian law : lessons from the African Great Lakes Region
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2015
This chapter discusses the problem of 'public' complicity in violations of international humanitarian law, i.e. the role of aid or assistance given to wrongful acts on the level between states and international organizations. The contribution presents the applicable international legal framework as it stems from the law of state responsibility and more special rules emanating from international humanitarian law. A particularly important role in this regard is played by Common Article 1 to the Geneva Conventions I-IV which establishes stricter standards for helping states than the general rules pertaining to the law of state responsibility. The contribution discusses the various interpretive problems associated with the applicable legal framework and situates it in the complex environment of contemporary African conflicts. It ultimately suggests that although the legal rules come under strain in these conflicts, there is no need for normative change as especially Common Article 1 provides for the requisite flexibility to hold complicit states and international organizations responsible. The main problem lies in the enforcement of international responsibility.