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International Humanitarian Law Full Course Outline

Law Outlines > International Humanitarian Law / Law of Armed Conflict Outlines

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Introduction - Role of the Laws of War__________________________________________________________4
Dinstein and Megret______________________________________________________________________________4
Sources of IHL____________________________________________________________________________________4
ICJ Statute Art. 38________________________________________________________________________________________4

[IAC] Authorization of Armed Force: Jus ad Bellum________________________________________________5
UN Charter Articles 1 and 2_________________________________________________________________________5
UN Charter, Art. 1________________________________________________________________________________________5
UN Charter, Art. 2(4)______________________________________________________________________________________5

UN Charter Chapter VII____________________________________________________________________________6
UN Charter, Art. 39_______________________________________________________________________________________6
UN Charter, Art. 40_______________________________________________________________________________________6
UN Charter, Art. 41_______________________________________________________________________________________6
UN Charter, Art. 42_______________________________________________________________________________________6
UN Charter, Art. 51_______________________________________________________________________________________6

Lawful Use of Force_______________________________________________________________________________7
Exceptions to UNC Art. 2(4)'s prohibition______________________________________________________________________7

Self-Defense_____________________________________________________________________________________8
Inherent Right to Self-Defense______________________________________________________________________________8
Element 0: Armed Attack__________________________________________________________________________________8
Element 1: Necessity______________________________________________________________________________________8
Element 2: Proportionality________________________________________________________________________________10
Afterwards: Report to Security Council______________________________________________________________________10

Wall Between Jus ad Bellum and Jus in Bello__________________________________________________________10

Classification and Scope of Armed Conflicts_____________________________________________________11
International Armed Conflicts (IACs)_________________________________________________________________11
Geneva Convention, Common Art. 2________________________________________________________________________11
Additional Protocol I, Art. 1________________________________________________________________________________11
Material Scope_________________________________________________________________________________________11
Personal Scope_________________________________________________________________________________________12
Geographic Scope_______________________________________________________________________________________12
Temporal Scope________________________________________________________________________________________13

Non-International Armed Conflicts (NIACs)___________________________________________________________14
Geneva Conventions, Common Art. 3________________________________________________________________________14
Additional Protocol II, Art. 1_______________________________________________________________________________14
Material Scope_________________________________________________________________________________________14
Personal Scope_________________________________________________________________________________________15
Geographic Scope_______________________________________________________________________________________15
Temporal Scope________________________________________________________________________________________16

Belligerent Occupation_____________________________________________________________________17
Scope of Occupation_____________________________________________________________________________17
Material Scope_________________________________________________________________________________________17
Personal Scope_________________________________________________________________________________________17
Geographic Scope_______________________________________________________________________________________17
Temporal Scope________________________________________________________________________________________17

[IAC] Combatants and Civilians_______________________________________________________________18 2
Combatants____________________________________________________________________________________18
Geneva Convention III, Art. 4______________________________________________________________________________18
Geneva Convention III, Art. 5______________________________________________________________________________18
Additional Protocol I, Art. 43______________________________________________________________________________19
Additional Protocol I, Art. 44______________________________________________________________________________19
Combatants in General___________________________________________________________________________________19
Non-Combatant Members of Armed Forces__________________________________________________________________20
Medical and Religious Personnel___________________________________________________________________________20
Unlawful Combatants____________________________________________________________________________________20
Spies_________________________________________________________________________________________________ 20
Political Leaders________________________________________________________________________________________21
Child Soldiers___________________________________________________________________________________________21
Prisoners of War________________________________________________________________________________________21

Civilians________________________________________________________________________________________22
Additional Protocol I, Art. 50______________________________________________________________________________22
Civilians in General______________________________________________________________________________________22
Police, Gendarmerie, Domestic Security_____________________________________________________________________22
Mercenaries___________________________________________________________________________________________22

[IAC+NIAC] Targeting______________________________________________________________________23
Additional Protocol I, Art. 48______________________________________________________________________________23
Additional Protocol I, Art. 49______________________________________________________________________________23
Additional Protocol I, Art. 51______________________________________________________________________________23
Additional Protocol II, Art. 13______________________________________________________________________________24

Summary Targeting Checklist______________________________________________________________________24
Military Objectives: Persons_______________________________________________________________________25
Combatants____________________________________________________________________________________________25
Civilians_______________________________________________________________________________________________25
Civilians Directly Participating in Hostilities___________________________________________________________________26

Military Objectives: Objects_______________________________________________________________________28
Additional Protocol I, Art. 52______________________________________________________________________________28
Military Objects_________________________________________________________________________________________28
Civilian Objects_________________________________________________________________________________________29

Proportionality__________________________________________________________________________________30
Precautionary Measures__________________________________________________________________________31
Additional Protocol I, Art. 57______________________________________________________________________________31
Additional Protocol I, Art. 58______________________________________________________________________________31
Precautionary Measures__________________________________________________________________________________31
Other Precaution Considerations___________________________________________________________________________32

[IAC+NIAC] Means and Methods of Warfare____________________________________________________33
Additional Protocol I, Art. 35______________________________________________________________________________33
Additional Protocol I, Art. 36______________________________________________________________________________33

Means of Warfare_______________________________________________________________________________33
Permitted_____________________________________________________________________________________________ 33
Prohibited_____________________________________________________________________________________________33

Methods of Warfare_____________________________________________________________________________34
Additional Protocol I, Art. 40______________________________________________________________________________34
Additional Protocol I, Art. 53______________________________________________________________________________34
Additional Protocol II, Art. 16______________________________________________________________________________34
Additional Protocol I, Art. 54______________________________________________________________________________34
Additional Protocol II, Art. 14______________________________________________________________________________34 3
Additional Protocol I, Art. 55______________________________________________________________________________34
Additional Protocol I, Art. 56______________________________________________________________________________35
Additional Protocol II, Art. 15______________________________________________________________________________35
Additional Protocol I, Art. 59______________________________________________________________________________35
Additional Protocol I, Art. 60______________________________________________________________________________36
Martens Clause_________________________________________________________________________________________36
Permitted_____________________________________________________________________________________________ 37
Prohibited_____________________________________________________________________________________________37

IHL from the Civilian Perspective_____________________________________________________________38
Humanitarian Access_____________________________________________________________________________38
Qualifying Aid__________________________________________________________________________________________38
Access to Civilians_______________________________________________________________________________________38

Medical Care and Treatment_______________________________________________________________________38
Medical Care in General__________________________________________________________________________________38
Medical Personnel, Units and Transports_____________________________________________________________________39

Detention of Civilians_____________________________________________________________________________39
Detention in IACs_______________________________________________________________________________________39
Detention in NIACs______________________________________________________________________________________40

Obligations of Occupying Power____________________________________________________________________40
Administration and Public Order___________________________________________________________________________40
Protections for Civilian Population__________________________________________________________________________40

Implementation and Accountability___________________________________________________________41
Domestic Obligations under IHL____________________________________________________________________41
Additional Protocol I, Art. 82______________________________________________________________________________41
Geneva Convention IV, Art. 146____________________________________________________________________________41
Geneva Convention IV, Art. 147____________________________________________________________________________41
Legal Advisor___________________________________________________________________________________________41
Grave Breaches_________________________________________________________________________________________41

International Human Rights Law____________________________________________________________________42
Co-application__________________________________________________________________________________________42

Note on citations:
For treaties, I have used an abbreviation, followed by a period and the article number. Thus Geneva Convention IV, Article 42 becomes "GC4.42." Article 2 Common to the Geneva Conventions becomes GC.CA2. The Hague Regulations are HR, and the
Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions are AP1 & AP2.
Citations in the form "HB000" refer to section numbers in Fleck, The Handbook of International Humanitarian Law (3rd ed.).
I've also cited certain academic articles, commentaries and government documents:
ILA-Sydney refers to the International Law Association's 2018 Sydney Conference
Report on the Use of Force.
Sassòli refers to Marco Sassòli's 2015 article "Combatants" in the Max Planck
Encyclopedia of Public International Law.
DoD refers to the US Department of Defense Law of War Manual (Dec. 2016
Update). 4
ICRC guidance on civilians directly participating in hostilities refers to Nils
Melzer (ICRC) Interpretive Guidance (2009).
Lubell refers to Noam Lubell, "Fragmented Wars: Multi-Territorial Military
Operations Against Armed Groups" 93 International Legal Studies 215 (2017). 5

Introduction - Role of the Laws of War
Dinstein and Megret
Dinstein, Concluding Remarks: LOAC and Attempts to Abuse or Subvert It

Lawfare: Barbarians (rogue states and actors) have weaponized IHL - they know them but refuse to use law themselves, using media and propaganda to turn the public against legitimate followers of LOW
o Civilized could refer to party to war willing to curtail its means of warfare,
versus a side that doesn't play by IHL. Also implies racial/ethnic divisions,
veiled colonial language.
o Argument is attractive to states under attack from terrorists/NSAGs because it can justify greater use of force, non-compliance with IHL, and declining to negotiate or seek understanding.
o There is no accountability or mutual obligation between state and terrorist groups. Enemy is not legitimate.
Human rights-niks are trying to shift LOAC to human rights realm, and this will lead to lawlessness

Human rights do not apply to armed conflict. The choice isn't between LOAC
and human rights, it's between LOAC and lawlessness. States will accept strings restraining operations in war, but not so many restrictions that they can't engage in war altogether. This message resonated with military officials.
Parallelogram: balance of military necessity and humanity

Dinstein quote (2004): "Every singly nom of LOIAC is molded by a parallelogram of forces."
o Balance between military necessity and humanitarian considerations. Majority of the debate over IHL is interpreting the rules to determine this balance.

Megret: From 'Savages' to 'Unlawful Combatants'

Core purposes of IHL
o LOAC makes decisions a priori about what kinds of violence are acceptable and unacceptable

LOAC supports and is used for Western imperialism

The language of IHL is, at a minimum, about protecting civilians, restraining hostilities, etc., so there may be a shred of hope
Rejects maxim that IHL intends to alleviate the consequences of warfare. For
Megret, IHL is about defining warfare, shaping the way we think about these categories.
Many people argue CIL for IHL should NOT be shaped by factors that normally shape CIL
o For example, US claims their perspective on drones should hold greater weight because they have the most drones. Others argue the US should not have greater weight, because IHL is about human life rather than state prerogatives.

Sources of IHL 6

ICJ Statute Art. 38


Treaties: HagueReg, Geneva Conventions, Additional Protocols, etc.
Customary International Law: significant debate over what counts as CIL for IHL.
o Hague Law: generally representative of CIL
o Geneva Conventions: universally ratified and accepted as CIL
o Additional Protocols: fierce debate. Signatory states consider it CIL, nonsignatories don't.
 Signatory is bound even if another party is not. Most signatories consider it CIL and so act as though the other party is bound in any event.
 Most states are signatories; US takes different view from UK in denying it is CIL.
General Principles of Law
Judicial Decisions

Tadič, Abella and others from ICTY and ICTR. Some think it inappropriate to use these decisions as precedent, since they were intended by the court to apply only to the cases at hand.
(In addition to soft law of norms, e.g, ICRC commentary)

[IAC] Authorization of Armed Force:
Jus ad Bellum
**This is all IAC stuff, not NIAC!**
There is no jus ad bellum, IHL or other international law (except to the extent IHRL is applicable) on when a state can engage in armed conflict against non-state.

UN Charter Articles 1 and 2
UN Charter, Art. 1
The Purposes of the United Nations are:
(1)To maintain international peace and security, to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
(2)To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
(3)To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
(4)To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends. 7

UN Charter, Art. 2(4)
The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles:
(1) The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles:
(2) The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its
Members.
(3) All Members, in order to ensure, to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
(4) All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
(5) All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the
United Nations.
(6) All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.
(7) The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United
Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.
(8) Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United
Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII of the United
Nations Charter.

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