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close this bookLaw in Humanitarian Crises Volume I : How Can International Humanitarian Law Be Made Effective in Armed Conflicts? (European Commission Humanitarian Office)
close this folderThe Laws of War: Problems of Implementation in Contemporary Conflicts
close this folderIII. Problems of Implementation in Wars since 1980
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1. Iran-Iraq War 1980-88
View the document2. The 1990-91 Gulf Conflict
View the document3. The Wars in the Former Yugoslavia since 1991
View the document4. Civil War and Humanitarian Intervention in Somalia 1992-95
View the document5. International Conference, Geneva, August-September 1993
View the document6. Rwanda 1994


In some of the international wars of the past two decades, belligerents have displayed both an acceptance of the applicability of the laws of war and a willingness to apply them in practice. Despite some questionable acts on both sides, this was largely the case in the 1982 Falklands War between the UK and Argentina - perhaps because this was a war in which civilians were only marginally involved, and in which neither of the belligerent countries faced a threat to its entire existence. In some other conflicts, including the 1990-91 Gulf Conflict, the laws of war have been applied more by one side than by the other. In yet other conflicts, especially those involving more extreme threats to the existence of communities and countries, implementation of the laws of war has been patchy or non-existent. Important issues have emerged from these varied experiences, including several very different responses by the UN Security Council to violations of the laws of war. Four conflicts are considered in detail in this section: the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, the 1990-91 Gulf conflict, the wars in the former Yugoslavia since 1991, and the internal conflict in Rwanda in 1994. There is also a brief look at the International Conference on the Protection of War Victims, held in Geneva in 1993, which attempted to grapple with the question of implementation.