Towards Equality of Belligerents: Why Are Armed Groups Bound by IHL?
Presented at the "Experts Conference on International Humanitarian Law: Emerging issues in the Law of Armed Conflicts", organized by American University Washington College of Law and the American Society of International Law’s Lieber Society on March 28th, 2012
25 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2015
Date Written: February 1, 2012
One of the biggest remaining challenges of contemporary IHL is to enhance compliance among armed groups. This paper explores the current explanations regarding armed groups' obligation to comply with IHL and it discusses their appropriateness and usefulness. Then, it is submitted that armed groups must comply with IHL by virtue of a combination of explanations which are respectful of the principle of equality of belligerents, since they recognize the role of non-state actors in the formation of IHL. Finally, it argues that this combination may contribute to the ongoing development of strategies to achieve enhanced IHL compliance by armed groups.
Keywords: armed group, armed conflict, IHL, international humanitarian law, equallity of belligerents
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation