Anticipating operational naval warfare issues in international humanitarian law that may arise in the event of a conflict in the South China Sea
Asia-Pacific perspectives on international humanitarian law
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2020
The law of armed conflict (LOAC) issue currently presenting in the South China Sea context is the challenge of accommodating (or not) the roles of maritime forces and other maritime actors who are not clearly identifiable as ‘military’, and in discerning whether and how the effects they create are governed by LOAC. Using the South China Sea as an operational context, this chapter will first outline some of the operational reasons for increasing use of maritime militias, as a fundamental contextual background to how and why maritime militias can prove opaque when considered in terms of LOAC characterisations. With this practical context outlined, the chapter will then explore two emergent and interlinked issues in the application of LOAC at sea that arise from this context: conflict characterisation and the status of vessels.
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