This article seeks to present an analysis of the modern-day phenomenon of human shielding. Part 1 focuses on the key defining elements of human shielding and explores the under-researched question of how human shielding, a practice which is strictly prohibited by international humanitarian law, can be distinguished from collocation, which in times of war is often unavoidable and in certain forms not prohibited. Part 2 then considers the legal consequences that arise from human shielding. Particular attention is paid to the effect that the use of human shields has on the obligations of the attacked party, i.e., the party illegally using human shields, and the legal protections applicable to the civilian population affected by this practice. The issue of direct participation in hostilities of human shields is now often viewed through the lens of the conventional distinction between voluntary and involuntary participation in hostilities. However, the authors argue that this is inadequately nuanced to be a satisfactory prism through which to assess this issue. Consequently, it is crucially important to establish a more satisfactory means of ensuring that involuntary human shields are not deprived of the protection that the law affords them.
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