Traditionally, international humanitarian law is considered to be applicable only to the relationship between different parties of an armed conflict, while domestic law and international human rights law address situations of intra-party conduct, i.e., conduct involving members of the same party only. In the recent case law of the International Criminal Court, however, intra-party offences against children used as child soldiers have been treated as war crimes. Various Chambers have offered different arguments on this inclusion, which touches upon fundamental issues related to the scope of application of international humanitarian law. This article explores whether the criminalisation of intra-party offences as war crimes is in line with contemporary international humanitarian law, arguing that a positive answer must be based on the correct interpretation of international humanitarian law rules.
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