From Inter-State and Symmetric to Intra-State and Asymmetric: Changing Methods of Warfare and the Law of Armed Conflict in the 100 Years Since World War One
Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, Vol. 17, No. 2014, pp. 95-118, 2016
20 Pages Posted: 29 May 2016
Date Written: May 27, 2016
This article examines the changing methods of warfare over the last hundred years, how the law has adapted to respond to these changing methods, and whether the law as it exists in 2014 is still consonant with armed conflict as it exists in 2014. Over the last century, the preponderant type of armed conflict – international armed conflict – has given way to non-international, transnational, and internal armed conflicts. These newly predominant types of armed conflict have also brought with them new participants, new tactics, and new targets. The law of armed conflict has attempted to keep pace with these developments, adopting new comprehensive treaties in 1949 and 1977 (along with a raft of treaties governing permissible means and methods). However, as these new participants employ new or irregular methods to fight their wars, pressures are brought to bear on the existing law of armed conflict – just how far can and should the law adapt to cover behaviours that flout over a century’s worth of established and accepted behaviour in wartime?
Keywords: International armed conflict, non-international armed conflict, asymmetric warfare, non-state actors
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation