Alexandre Genest, 2014
DCC 3117 – Public International Law – Class 5 –
International Humanitarian Law and Syria
-FOCUS ON DETAILED TABLE OF CONTENTS (it’s a roadmap)
Course 5: International Humanitarian Law and Syria
(Syria is on the final only)
1. Two Approaches for Controllling the Use of Force in
Article 51, 52, (self defense and internations is when or why we can use force) last
A. The First Approach: Banning the Individual Use of Armed Force by
States and Preventing Warfare (Jus ad Bello)
Ad= verge of going to war. WHEN CAN YOU USE FORCE UN charter and and the
security council mechanism.
2. The Second Approach: Regulating the Use of Force by States (Jus in
In bello=You’re basically in the war. HOW CAN YOU USE FORCE Today we’re looking
at whether there are rues governing one’s conduct once the use of force is in play.
Difference between Iraq where question was whether we cOULD GO in to attack. Syria
is what is going on in there? Shouldn’t they be abiding by some rules.
3. Historical Background to International
See Rosenne, International humanitarian Law, pp. 177-178.
A. The Main Goal and Origins of Modern International Humanitarian Law
The essence of it is to reduce human sufferings caused by war.(wanna get unnecessary
suffering out of the equation..i.e like boxing match where kicking in the balls isn’t good
for either boxer) . Start of it is located 1850 onwards. There were very tiny instances
before that. 1)FLORENCE NIGHTENGAlE british nurse who cared for soldiers and
promoted limitations in the killing of soldiers. 2)Henry Dunant Published un souvenir de
solpherino after seeing a field full of wounded soldiers. 3) U.S war Lieber code under
Lincold’s presidency instructions for the government of armies of the U.S in the field.
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4. Two Main Objectives of International Humanitarian
See Rosenne, International humanitarian Law, p. 200.
A. Protection of civilian populations and objects
Things that are common sense i.e hospitals, churches, schools should never be
bombed. 1) Civilian populations and civilian objects should be protected. Non-
combattants should not have to suffer through any type of violence. As a non-combatant,
rules of international humanitarian law don’t apply to you.
5. Prohibition against unnecessary suffering to combatants
2) Unnecessary significant suffering to combatants is prohibited. Limitation on weapons
used i.e expanding bullets.
6. From the First Geneva Conference to World War II,
1863 to 1945
A. The First Geneva Conference and Convention (1863-1864)
Interest and political will generated. Genevin citizens created the Geneva committee for
assistance of wounded soldiers which became the founding conference for the
international committee of the Red Cross which is part of the Red Cross and Red
Crescent society... A year later there was the Geneva diplomatic meeting, they got
together and adopted the convention for the amelioration of the condition of the
wounded in armies( THIS IS 1TGENEVA CONVENTION and humanitarian law effort)
See Rosenne, International humanitarian Law, pp. 179.
7. The Second World War
1939-1945 big test to international humanitarian law. All major belligerents were subject
to the laws for the wounded. The ussr, finland, Japan didn’t sign or ratify the prisoners of
war conventions so they basically would have screwed any soldier they caught.
See Rosenne, International humanitarian Law, pp. 184-185.
1. Horrific acts regarding POWs
Japanese were pityless and cruel towards their prisoners of war. Same with RussiA they
didn’t send the germans back home they used them for building.
8. Horrific acts by occupying forces
Germans occupying parts of Europe, they committed atrocities like the holocaust, the
gypsies, slovs, homosexuals, killed all scholars. In all these instances the ICRC found
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9. The Immediate Aftermath of the War; the War
See Rosenne, International humanitarian Law, pp. 185-187.
A. Four Major Legal Developments
1) Trials of war criminals in japan and Germany (Nuremberg?)
2) Adoption of genocide convention
3) Universal declaration of Human Rights
4) Complete revision of Geneva conventions.
1)-At that point there were no sanctions related to the Geneva conventions at the
time and they thought they were not accountable. What the allies did is that they
adopted a declaration during the war. When the war ended the allies were able to
-Also, the complete fall/breakdown of Germany’s system required for someone to
hold these trials.
10.War Crimes Trials and The International Military Tribunal
We gave them the ability to defend themselves.
11.The Nature of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
In the ICJ advisory opinion, related to the trheat of the use of nuclears, from 1996 the
ICJ came out and said humanitarian law rules in arm conflicts are to be observed by all
states, whether or not they ratified the Geneva conventions because they are
“intransgressable” they are so fundamental in nature that no violation can be permitted
by any State.
See Rosenne, International humanitarian Law, pp. 192-193.
12. The 1949 Geneva Conference: Four New
Four conventions that replaced the previous ones adopted and regulations of the Peace
1) The Geneva convention for amelioration of wounded and sick in armed forces in
the field (convention on wounded soldiers in land forces)
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2) The geneva convention for amelioration of condition of wounded, sick, and
shipwrecked (members of armed, navy, sea soldiers)
3) The geneva convention for Treatment of Prisoners of war (POW What happens
4) Relative to protection of vcivilian persons in the time of war (civilians)
See Rosenne, International humanitarian Law, pp. 194-195.
First articles for all 4 are identical and 4 final in their implementation are identical.
13. Armed Conflicts Not of an International
Character and Syria (STARTING HERE ON FINAL
See Blank & Corn - Syria and Conflict Recognition (2012), ONLY pp. 1-35.
A. The Four Geneva Conventions and Their Common Articles
Goal was to make it a bit simpler. All 4 would be triggered with the same criteria. They
don’t use the term “War” they’d rather use “armed conflicts”.
1949 geneva conventions were extended to LOAC Law of Armed Conflicts that are
internal in nature. (20 century there were so many civil wars that reached such high
levels and the goals of international humanitarian law is to reduce suffering…so it would
make no sense for it not to interfere in an instance of civil fighting)
14.The Application of International Humanitarian Law to Armed
Conflicts not of an International Character
15.Common Articles 2 and 3 of the Geneva Conventions
Distinction between these conflicts are embodied in articles 2 and 3 (called common
articles because theyre identical)
2- Applied to cases of declared war or any other armed conflict that may arise between 2
or more of high contracting parties even if the … (so this is for between 2 states at
least…THIS IS BEFORE 1949)
3- Certain provisions will apply to armed conflicts not of international character
“occurring in the territory of one of the high contracting parties (signed the conventions),
each party of the conflict will be binded by a number of articles)
See Blank & Corn - Syria and Conflict Recognition (2012), p. 10 FN 25 for text of
Common Article 3.
See Rosenne, International humanitarian Law, pp. 196-197.
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16.Additional Protocols I and II to the Geneva Conventions of 1977
(adopted during the 1974-1977 Geneva Conference)
a. Additional Protocol I (1977)
New legal wording 1977) Additional protocol 1 …conflict between 2 states was extended
to populations fighting against colonial dominations.( Because rule is usually against
states, colonies wouldn’t usually count unthil this )
17. Additional Protocol II (1977)
Additional protocol 2 (1977) protection of victims of armed conflicts not of an
international character. i.e Syria it tries to show a discomfort in states intervening in a
state’s sovereignty. They basically said that it will apply to conflicts between armed
forces of a state ‘s(signatory) armed forces and other organized armed groups or
discident forces which under responsi