The Distinction between International and Non-International Armed Conflict: Challenges for IHL?

By far the majority of armed conflicts occurring in the world today are non-international conflicts. The eyes of the world are on the violence in Syria, in Iraq and in the Yemen, for example. But such conflicts also have international aspects.

There is growing concern about the way in which international law applies to all these forms of violence, whenever international or non-international. All these conflicts are governed by international humanitarian law. But the treaty law which applies to non-international conflicts is not as extensive as for State to State conflicts. International customary law plays a part.

But to what degree and under what conditions is the law applicable to non-international armed conflicts and should it be the same as for international conflict? What is the legal position when international and non-international conflicts are occurring in one country? And how can we improve the compliance of non-state armed groups with international humanitarian law? International human rights law also applies in armed conflicts. How does this body of rules apply in international and non-international conflicts?

The XXXVIII Round Table on current issues of International Humanitarian Law, jointly organized by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Sanremo from 3 to 5 September 2015, will examine and discuss these and other issues regarding international and non-international armed conflicts.

Discussions and debates, drawn upon the expertise of international IHL academics and specialists and the field-tested experience of military practitioners, will aim at identifying lessons to be learned from recent developments in the subject and look at specific issues that can be drawn from such lessons, including detention and humanitarian assistance.

Proceedings

 

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