Cover Image
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

4. Application to Non-International Conflicts

Since 1945, the main form of conflict in the world has been civil war. In some cases, these wars have involved outside armed forces as well. Many developments suggest that we are witnessing a move of opinion in favour of applying a range of rules, including some of the norms of conduct designed for international wars, to civil wars. Since 1945, the development of the idea of "crimes against humanity, the growth of human rights law, and the enactment of 1949 common Article 3 and 1977 Protocol II, have all pointed in this direction. So, more importantly, has much practice of such bodies as the European Court of Human Rights. With the establishment of the International Tribunal for Rwanda in 1994 the UN Security Council has sought to clarify the application of a wide range of international rules to internal conflicts. This process is bound to meet many rebuffs: it will mean little if the belligerents themselves do not get the message; it will be especially hard to apply m those civil wars which involve conflict of neighbour against neighbour, and where the important distinction between soldier and civilian breaks down. Yet the situation whereby civil wars were hardly subject, even in theory, to a body of international rules was an anachronism, the ending of which should not be mourned.