Human rights and international humanitarian law : general issues
Jann K. Kleffner
The handbook of the international law of military operations
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2015
This chapter discusses the relationship between two pivotal components of the international law of military operations: human rights and international humanitarian law. Both fields of law seek to protect individual and human dignity, which explains the substantial material overlap between them. But human rights law and international humanitarian law remain distinct areas of international law. Significant differences remain, not only as regards their historical roots and evolution, normative frameworks, and enforcement mechanisms, but also concerning their respective applicability ratione materiae, personae, temporis, and loci. International humanitarian law applies in military operations amounting to an armed conflict while human rights law is generally considered to apply to the extent that individuals are subject to the jurisdiction of a State or international organization. In the event of conflict between a norm of international humanitarian law and a norm of human rights law, the more specific norm prevails in principle.