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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 folderV. Summary and Conclusions
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1. Realist and Idealist Images of the Laws of War
View the document2. Still a World of States
View the document3. Humanitarianism as a Substitute for Policy
View the document4. Application to Non-International Conflicts
View the document5. Mines
View the document6. Limits of Compliance Provisions
View the document7. Trials
View the document8. International Criminal Court
View the document9. Reparations
View the document10. The United Nations
View the document11. Barbarians?
View the document12. A Set of Professional Military Standards?
View the document13. Need to Keep Our Own Houses in Order
View the document14. The Relation between Ius in Bello and Ius ad Bellum
View the document15. Taking Implementation Seriously

11. Barbarians?

Is there a case for reviving old and deplorably ethnocentric distinctions between "civilized" and "barbarian" countries? Not in this form. The problem is not that certain countries per se are barbarian, but rather that they have brutal leaders; or that they are involved in conflicts over state formation, including ethnic conflicts, that by their nature challenge the laws of war. What the old distinction between "civilized" and "barbarian" countries may valuably highlight is the sense that some problems concerning universal implementation of the laws of war are by their nature extremely hard to solve. There are strong and legitimate concerns, particularly in some post-colonial states, that the increased diplomatic attention to international humanitarian standards could have the unintended effect of providing the basis for external intervention, and even a new form of colonialism.