Rights and Obligations of Third Parties in Armed Conflict

Eyal Benvenisti and Georg Nolte (eds.), Community Interests Across International Law, Oxford University Press, 2017, Forthcoming

KFG Working Paper Series, No. 5, December 2016

25 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2016 Last revised: 19 Feb 2017

Date Written: December 22, 2016


This paper will turn into a contribution to a book on community obligations. It focusses on third parties' rights and obligations in armed conflict.

It is often said that international law has developed from a legal order which is designed to protect sovereignty to a system which also promotes community interests. This shift is said to be reflected in structural changes of the legal system. The creation of rights and obligations for third parties is generally seen as a part of this perceived paradigmatic shift. Community interests can be furthered either by negative duties of abstention, by an entitlement for third states, or even by duties to take positive measures. Since the shift towards protecting community interests apparently requires some form of cooperation, positive rights and duties to protect and to promote appear to be indispensable. Authors relying on a community perspective often dismiss duties of abstention as an expression of indifference in the face of a violation of a fundamental norm. Solidarity seems to require that third states take a more proactive role in actively enforcing community interests.

The paper aims to test this understanding on the basis of an analysis of rights and obligations of third states in armed conflict. In order to argue that duties of abstention of third states are a central instrument for promoting community interests in relation to armed conflicts, the paper will first trace pertinent structural changes in international law. In particular, it will question the extent to which positive rights and obligations of third states have been firmly established in international law. In a second step, this contribution will evaluate the overall tendencies in the ongoing lawmaking process for promoting community interests in relation to armed conflict.

Suggested Citation

Krieger, Heike, Rights and Obligations of Third Parties in Armed Conflict (December 22, 2016). KFG Working Paper Series, No. 5, December 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2888989 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2888989

Heike Krieger (Contact Author)

Freie Universitaet Berlin ( email )

Van't-Hoff-Strasse 8
Berlin, 14195

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