Conceptual distinction and overlaps between law enforcement and the conduct of hostilities
Nils Melzer and Gloria Gaggioli Gasteyger
The handbook of the international law of military operations
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2015
Forces involved in contemporary military operations are often called upon to assume functions both of law enforcement and of hostilities, each governed by different legal standards. This chapter distinguishes between these two concepts, identifies potential overlaps between them, and determines how the respective legal paradigms governing each type of operation interrelate. The generic concept of law enforcement can be defined as comprising all territorial and extraterritorial measures taken by a State or other collective entity to maintain or restore public security, law and order, or to otherwise exercise its authority or power over individuals, objects, or territory. The generic concept of hostilities refers to the resort to means and methods of warfare between parties to an armed conflict. Within the context of an armed conflict, the paradigms of law enforcement and of hostilities can apply in parallel to different persons and objects at the same time and location.