Humanitarian Law

Topics: Geneva Conventions, Laws of war, Human rights Pages: 29 (8716 words) Published: August 23, 2013

Basic rules of international humanitarian law in armed conflicts The seven fundamental rules which are the basis of The Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols. This tex has been prepared for dissemination purposes and cannot in any circumstances serve as a substitute for the complete provisions of the international agreements - Extract from "Basic rules of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols"

[pic]1 - Persons hors de combat and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their lives and their moral and physical integrity. They shall in all circumstances be protected and treated humanely without any adverse distinction.

[pic]2 - It is forbidden to kill or injure an enemy who surrenders or who is hors de combat.

[pic]3 - The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for by the party to the conflict which has them in its power. Protection also covers medical personnel, establishments, transports and equipment. The emblem of the red cross or the red crescent is the sign of such protection and must be respected.

[pic]4 - Captured combatants and civilians under the authority of an adverse party are entitled to respect for their lives,dignity, personal rights and convictions. They shall be protected against all acts of violence and reprisals. They shall have the right to correspond with their families and to receive relief.

[pic]5 - Everyone shall be entitled to benefit from fundamental judicial guarantees. No one shall be held responsible for an act he has not committed. No one shall be subjected to physical or mental torture, corporal punishment or cruel or degrading treatment.

members of their armed forces do not have an unlimited choice of methods and means of warfare. It is prohibited to employ weapons or methods of warfare of a nature to cause unnecessary losses or excessive suffering.

[pic]6 - Parties to a conflict and

[pic]7 - Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to spare civilian population and property. Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the object of attack. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives.

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1-11-1993    by Hans-Peter Gasser
International humanitarian law and the protection of war victims Extract from "International Humanitarian Law : an introduction", Henry Dunant Institute, Geneva/Paul Haupt Publishers, Bern, 1993. Updated by the author in November 1998.

Dr Hans-Peter Gasser, former Senior Legal Adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross, is Editor-in-Chief of the International Revue of the Red Cross.

Table of contents

1. Why do we need international humanitarian law?
2. From Henry Dunant to present-day international humanitarian law 3. A look at the substance of the law: humanitarian limits on warfare 4. Different types of armed conflict
5. Humanitarian law and human rights
6. Implementation and scrutiny
7. Final remarks

1. Why do we need international humanitarian law?

War is forbidden. The Charter of the United Nations states clearly that the threat or use of force against other States is unlawful. Since 1945, war has no longer been an acceptable way to settle differences between States. So why talk about international rules dealing with armed conflicts (or war) and their effects, if the Charter has banned recourse to force in international relations?

There are three answers of a legal nature to that question - and a sad conclusion:

- The Charter has not completely outlawed the use of force. Indeed,...
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