The Humanization of the Law of War (Marek Nowicki Memorial Lecture)

Theodor Meron

in The Making of International Criminal Justice

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608935
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729706 | DOI:
The Humanization of the Law of War (Marek Nowicki Memorial Lecture)

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Since ancient times, rules protecting individuals and rules governing the conduct of war have been contradictory. The Bible says: ‘Thou shalt not kill’. But in the Book of Samuel, God tells the Israelites to kill every man, woman, and child of Amalek. We are torn between our conscientious desire to uphold the sanctity of human life and acknowledging the stark reality that warfare has existed since the dawn of humankind. How do we reconcile the two? This chapter shows that such a reconciliation is already taking place, thanks to the development and authority of human rights law. Human rights have humanized the law of war, so that even in armed conflict the focus is on protecting individuals to the greatest extent possible.

Keywords: human rights law; law of war; armed conflict; humanization; humanitarian law

Chapter.  8033 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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