Combined exercises and international humanitarian law training : fostering a culture of norm compliance ?
Asia-Pacific perspectives on international humanitarian law
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2020
There exists an uncritical assumption within the framework of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 that the broad dissemination of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) principles, coupled with an associated general training regime, will invariably facilitate greater operational compliance with IHL by military forces. Such a perspective has been correctly characterised as a necessary, but perhaps not sufficient, basis for confidence in the capacity to enhance meaningful norm compliance.The focus of this chapter is to briefly survey the frequency and character of combined exercises and training in the Asia-Pacific region to gauge the capacity of such activities to foster a culture of norm compliance. However, such a focus faces the immediate challenge that there is currently precious little empirical data that reveals how and why such exercises do support norm compliance. Despite this lack of empirical data, there does exist an increasing volume of academic literature evidencing a tendency towards norm acceptance as a feature of professional military culture across nations. Equally relevant, over the past thirty years training in IHL has been increasingly perfected to identify optimal approaches that highlight effective techniques for generating norm compliance. This chapter tracks these developments. It assesses the approaches to enhanced training techniques, the role of an international legal military culture and the pathways to norm internalisation that underpin contemporary joint and combined exercises. It is the central argument of this chapter that combined exercises provide a valuable platform for IHL training and norm internalisation and reflect ‘best practice’ IHL training experience. It is an implicit consequence that such exercises in turn ensure greater compliance with IHL in battle space contexts, though support for this conclusion derives more from social theory than empirical data tracking.
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