10 Questions about International Humanitarian Law

  1. How has ICRC defined International Humanitarian Law?

International humanitarian law is a part of international law, a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare.

  1. Describe one of the objectives of IHL.

One of the objectives of the IHL is protection of Prisoners Of War (POW), which aims to protect the persons of member of opposition armed forces or similar person working under a guided system, as protected under the Third Geneva Convention of 1949. That impose a duty on host party to treat them humanely, nonviolently, and provide minimum condition to stay alive.

  1. Is IHL an international soft or hard law?

IHL can be treated both as soft law and hard law in respect of De Jure and De Facto situation, I would prefer the later one as it has the binding force over all the countries as well as the non-country group, which can also be viewed with the principal Nullum crimen sine lege (no crime without law) and principal of jus cogens in respect of legal support as jus cogens has been accepted but not fully defined and the nature of the IHL can be interpreted relating jus cogens.

  1. What type of legal responsibility is created by the breach of IHL?

The primarily the responsibility of States is to Implementation IHL. They must respect, ensure the rules of IHL in all circumstances. States must adopt legislation and regulations aimed at ensuring full compliance with IHL. In particular, they must enact laws to punish the most serious violations of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.

  1. What is the name of the first international convention with which the modern IHL started?

Geneva Convention 1864 is the first international convention with which the modern IHL started.

  1. Write those two proposals Henry Dunant Made in his famous book ‘A Memory of Solferino’

In 1862, “A Memory of Solferino” was published. The book puts forward two proposals:

  1. To set up in peacetime and in every country volunteer groups to take care of casualties in wartime;
  2. To get countries to agree to protect first aid volunteers and the wounded on the battlefield;
  1. What is the content of ‘Martens Clause’?

The content of Martens Clause is following:

Until a more complete code of the laws of war is issued, the High Contracting Parties think it right to declare that in cases not included in the Regulations adopted by them, populations and belligerents remain under the protection and empire of the principles of international law, as they result from the usages established between civilized nations, from the laws of humanity and the requirements of the public conscience.

  1. Write at list two points of distinction between IHL and Human Rights law

International humanitarian law is a set of international rules, established by treaty or custom, which are specifically intended to solve humanitarian problems directly arising from international or non-international armed conflicts. On the other hand International human rights law is a set of international rules, established by treaty or custom, on the basis of which individuals and groups can expect and/or claim certain behavior or benefits from governments.

International humanitarian law is applicable in times of armed conflict, whether international or non-international but international human rights law can be applied (in principle) at all times. Although, some IHRL treaties permit governments to derogate from certain rights in situations of public emergency threatening the life of the nation.

9. Does the application of IHL continue after the war is over?

Yes, IHL does apply after the war is over but only the matters related or affected due to war such i.e. IHL’s about prisoners of war, occupation of territory etc.

  1. Write in a sentence the significance of two additional protocols adopted in 1977.

In wartime, civilians suffer the most therefor it was important to add some specific clear law related to that matters and thus Additional Protocol I lays down rules on the how wars may be fought including choosing weapons, methods of warfare in order to avoid incidental loss of life, injury, damage to civilian; whereas Additional Protocol II was the first-ever international treaty devoted exclusively to protecting people affected by non-international armed conflicts, or civil wars.

Rayhanul Islam

The author is an original thinker; often challenges the regular rule of conduct considering various perspective on the basis of scientific reasoning to ensure the peace and prosperity of the society. He works as freelancer advocate and promotes legal knowledge and human right concept to the root level. The author is also a tech enthusiast and web developer, he loves psychology as well.

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