International humanitarian law in the Indian civilian and military justice systems
Asia-Pacific perspectives on international humanitarian law
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2020
While modern international humanitarian law (IHL) is linked most directly to nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe, India over the period of its 5,000 years history has developed its own rules of warfare for the protection of non-combatants and civilian populations akin to modern IHL. In the ancient period, implementation of these Dharma-based Hindu and Buddhist principles were followed by the rulers and decision makers as their paramount duty. However, the status of IHL implementation in modern Indian history is not as great as its ancient past despite the comparatively high number of conflicts it has had with its neighbours, along with numerous internal conflict situations which it has been grappling with. Contemporary India is often criticised for its indifference to the effective implementation of its international law commitments, especially IHL obligations. Though a party to the universally ratified four Geneva Conventions of 1949 (Geneva Conventions), India is still not keen on acceding to the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions. Even so, India is managing some IHL obligations through special legislation which it enacted to implement its treaty commitments. Along with this, there are nearly a dozen general laws with IHL-related provisions, which aim to meet the conflict-related challenges in India. Against this backdrop, the present chapter intends to explore the implementation of IHL in India through its civilian and military justice system, by analysing associated legislation and jurisprudence evolved by case law, and thereby bringing out the gaps.
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