Politics and humanitarian law : the worm in the fruit ?
Polis und Kosmopolis : Festschrift für Daniel Thürer
Zürich ; St. Gallen : Dike ; Baden-Baden : Nomos, 2015
This chapter discusses the relationship between international humanitarian law (IHL) and politics and highlights the importance of preventing the worm of politics from penetrating the fruit of IHL. While politics plays an essential part in the drafting of IHL, it can also have detrimental effects on its application and respect. Insisting on the importance of preserving a non-political approach to IHL, the author identifies and examines the main obstacle to such an approach, what might be considered as the “worm in the fruit”. According to the author, this resides not so much in the heart of IHL, but in the question of its applicability, that is, in determination of its field of application. Some of the challenges posed by contemporary armed conflicts for IHL, such as cyberwarfare, terrorism, organized crimes and the applicability of human rights law during armed conflict situations, are then used to demonstrate how States often use political arguments to dispute the nature of their actions, thus the very existence of an international or non-international armed conflict, and ultimately the applicability of IHL.