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The International Law of Armed Conflict: An Overview

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Presentation on theme: "The International Law of Armed Conflict: An Overview"— Presentation transcript:

1 The International Law of Armed Conflict: An Overview

2 Introduction Use of Force Law Law of Armed Conflict
Focus in Presentation: international armed conflict armed conflict on land Purposes: unnecessary suffering & minimum damage principles of war encourage reciprocity obtain intelligence maintain discipline

3 Major Sources of Law International Agreements
1907 Hague Convention IV 1949 Geneva Conventions 1977 Additional Protocol I Customary International Law International Human Rights Law?

4 General Principles Military Necessity Unnecessary Suffering
Distinction Proportionality

5 Targeting Intentionally Attack Only Military Objectives: Combatants
military objects Combatants armed forces, other groups fighting with them inhabitants repelling invasion civilians for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities

6 Targeting Combatants- Exceptions
Medical & Religious Personnel Surrender Prisoner of War Wounded & Sick

7 Targeting Military Objects
Nature Location Purpose Use effectively contribute to military action attack would offer a definite military advantage

8 Proportionality Rule incidental civilian injury & damage excessive to the concrete & direct military advantage anticipated

9 Precautions in Attack do everything feasible to verify target as a military objective do not attack if in doubt that civilian object is used by military among several military objectives of equal advantage, choose least dangerous to civilians & civilian objects

10 Ruses & Perfidy Ruses are permitted Uniforms & Colors
but may not violate law of armed conflict Uniforms & Colors neutral states enemy distinctive emblems Perfidy prohibited false white flag feigning wounds or sickness feigning civilian status use of neutral uniforms & colors Spies

11 Enemy Property Public Moveable Property on Battlefield
Private Property damaged or taken only with strict military necessity payment to be made when taken Pillage Prohibited Payment for Combat Damage Not Required

12 Initial Treatment of Captives
Search for and treat enemy military wounded & sick Initially treat all captives as prisoners of war Doubt as to prisoner of war status resolved by competent tribunal

13 Prisoner of War Status regular armed forces
militia & volunteer units with armed forces militia & other partisans not with armed forces who: have responsible commander have uniform or distinctive sign carry arms openly follow law of armed conflict authorized persons accompanying armed forces merchant marine & civil air crews inhabitants resisting invasion for AP I states: combatants who carry arms openly in deployment & combat

14 Captives Not Prisoners of War
Detained until end of hostilities Fairly tried for law of armed conflict violations Treatment: Geneva Conventions- humanely Treatment: AP I- fundamental humanitarian guarantees Full time medical & religious personnel Spies Mercenaries

15 Prohibited Weapons General Rules in Customary Law:
Needless injury or unnecessary suffering Indiscriminant Weapon Prohibited by International Agreement: Expanding Small Arms Ammunition Expanding Small Arm Ammunition Sudan Air Force AN26 Used as Bomber World War II Japanese Balloon Bomb

16 Prohibited Weapons Weapons Prohibited by International Agreement:
Anti-Personnel Land Mines Incendiary Weapons in certain circumstances Laser Weapons intended to blind U.S. M14 Incendiary Hand Grenade Russian PNM 1 or 2 AP “Dumb” Mine U.S. FASCAM AP “Smart” Mine

17 Prohibited Weapons Weapons Prohibited by International Agreement:
Cluster Munitions Explosive Remnants of War Unexploded Ordnance, Some From Iran-Iraq War U.S. Sensor Fused Weapon- “Smart” Cluster Munition

18 Prohibited Weapons Weapons Prohibited by International Agreement:
Poison Chemical Weapons (including Riot Control Agents) Biological Weapons

19 Enforcement State Duty to Order Compliance & Enforce Law
War Crime Defined Command Responsibility

20 Enforcement Trial by a State
military courts or tribunals civilian courts Universal Jurisdiction over Grave Breaches

21 Enforcement International Courts No Statute of Limitations
victorious allied nations UN Security Council International Criminal Court No Statute of Limitations

22 Conclusion: Law of International Armed Conflict
Applies in armed hostilities between: state vs. state certain international terrorist groups vs. state Primary purpose: protect civilians Fundamental principles: military necessity, unnecessary suffering, distinction, proportionality Provides restrictions on: targeting, treatment of detainees & property, and weapons States are obligated to enforce


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