Special Agreements as a Means of Enhancing Compliance with IHL in Non-International Armed Conflicts: An Inquiry into the Governing Legal Regime

International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 96 (895/896), 2015, pp. 1195–1224

30 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2015 Last revised: 29 Dec 2015

See all articles by Ezequiel Heffes

Ezequiel Heffes

Independent

Marcos Kotlik

University of Buenos Aires (UBA) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 29, 2015

Abstract

Common Article 3 to the four Geneva Conventions encourages the parties to a non-international armed conflict to bring into force international humanitarian law provisions through the conclusion of special agreements. Since armed groups are ever more frequent participants in contemporary armed conflicts, the relevance of those agreements as means to enhance compliance with IHL has grown as well. The decision-making process of special agreements recognizes that all the parties to the conflict participate in the clarification and expansion of the applicable rights and obligations in a way that is consistent with the principle of equality of belligerents. This provides incentives for armed groups to respect the IHL rules they have themselves negotiated. However, even upon the conclusion of such agreements, it remains unclear which legal regime governs them. This paper will argue that special agreements are governed by international law instead of domestic law or a sui generis legal regime.

Keywords: Armed opposition groups, special agreements, sources of international law, equality of belligerents, participants

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K30, K33, K39, K40

Suggested Citation

Heffes, Ezequiel and Kotlik, Marcos, Special Agreements as a Means of Enhancing Compliance with IHL in Non-International Armed Conflicts: An Inquiry into the Governing Legal Regime (June 29, 2015). International Review of the Red Cross, Vol. 96 (895/896), 2015, pp. 1195–1224, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2624596

Ezequiel Heffes

Independent ( email )

Marcos Kotlik (Contact Author)

University of Buenos Aires (UBA) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Av. Figueroa Alcorta 2263
C1425CKB
Argentina

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