The Role of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in New Types of Armed Conflicts

Marco Sassòli

in International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780191001604
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729447 | DOI:

Series: Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law

The Role of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in New Types of Armed Conflicts

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This chapter focuses on the interaction of particular norms of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) that regulate specific situations and on the adequacy of existing mechanisms for resolving norm conflicts. It expands the interest in the ‘war on terror’ to additional types of new conflicts (asymmetric conflicts, conflicts in failed states, and UN peace operations). Noting that from the perspective of the application of either IHL or IHRL, the novelty of the conflicts is overstated, the chapter compares them to the archetypes of conflicts for which IHL was originally designed; determines the threshold questions relative to the applicability of both regimes ratione materiae, ratione personae, and ratione loci; and proceeds to focus on their co-application. The latter is explored in the light of the lex specialis principle on both a general level and in relation to the pertinent questions of the targeting and preventive detention of members of an armed group. The chapter concludes that existing law, properly interpreted, contains realistic, albeit controversial and situation-dependent, solutions for the legal problems arising in these types of conflicts.

Keywords: international humanitarian law; international human rights law; conflict resolution; armed conflict; war on terror

Chapter.  34502 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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