Squaring the Circle? – International Humanitarian Law and Transnational Armed Conflicts
Hague Academy of International Law, 2010
RULES AND INSTITUTIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW PUT TO THE TEST OF RECENT ARMED CONFLICTS (LES REGLES ET INSTITUTIONS DU DROIT INTERNATIONAL HUMANITAIRE A L'EPREUVE DES CONFLIS ARMES RECENTS), pp. 217-274, Michael J. Matheson, Djamchid Momtaz, eds., Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2007
43 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2011 Last revised: 21 Feb 2015
Even though the law of armed conflict traditionally recognizes only the dichotomy of international and non-international armed conflict applicable in the normative framework regulating armed hostilities, reality presents situations that do not readily fit into these categories. Foreign State involvement is almost habitual in contemporary conflicts and a significant number of conflicts rage between States and non-State actors not necessarily remaining within the confines of a country.
The present paper attempts to examine the legal classification of ‘transnational armed conflicts’, i.e. armed hostilities with a transboundary character that involve non-State actors and thus seemingly escape the classic division of international and non-international armed conflict. After a perusal of legal doctrine and State practice, it concludes that contemporary international humanitarian law is capable of regulating such conflicts and calls for an overhaul of the present system are premature.
Keywords: International humanitarian law, classification of armed conflicts, transnational armed conflicts, laws of war, laws of armed conflict, jus in bello
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation