INTERNAL ARMED CONFLICTS: PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS UNDER PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAWAna Povh
, 2014, undergraduate thesis
Abstract: Preceeding work is analysing a highly problematic field of public international law, where in one actual state several principles of international law, humanitarian legal rules, international political interests and humanitarian conscience are coliding intensely. This is the case of civil wars where human rights of civilians are violated on a massive scale. Since they do not include a foreign element by the nature, possibilities of international protection are very lessened. Apathy of the international community and the failure to enforce international law are both permitting for human suffering of unimaginable extensions taking place in immediate vicinity of the 'developed world'.
Rules of conduct in the international community are being set by the international public law, which serves in interests of States. Until inclusion of international organisations with supranational authorities legal order was therefore designed only by their will. Later development has made it possible that rules were created by global consensus which suggested creation of norms with humanitarian nature. This leads to conclusion that there is no centralised legislator present in the international sphere and that obligatory norms are hard to find. Nevertheless humanitarian norms with cogent nature are still present, their uncovery is linked to the source from which they derive. Determining the source therefore leads to determination of those humanitarian rules that subjects need to respect in all circumstances. Such enforcement inside State's territorial integrity sadly still represents a meeting point for two contradictoring but hierarchally ecvivalent principles of international order, resulting in unsanctionising of mass breaches of international humanitarian rules. These two principles are the principle of State's sovereignty and the principle for respect of human rights and they result in such international policy which places the primal responsibilty for ensuring the respect of human rights in the hands of a State. Any external intervention is almost impossible.Consequences of such international understanding are vividly seen in civil or internal conflicts where protection of civilian population is in sole discretion of the warring parties.
Still, universally applicable international law which can not be violated even in the times of war exists. Determination of humanitarian rules which have to be performed on the field, is dependant on the qualification of the sources from which they derive. International treaties, by their nature being obligatory for their signatories, comprise the first group of sources. Second group is producing rules which are waiting for bestowment of this quality and their possible cogency is dependant on State practice and on the so-called common legal sense of obligation. Most important of them is international customary law which produces rules, essential for filling those legal holes, left behind by international treaties. Moreover they are obligatory for every Party involved, even though they have not expressed their commitment. Together with universal human rights, provided by international human rights law, they represent a cornerstone of international legal order for the field of internal armed conflicts. Their enforcement is in the most benefit of civilian population.
Keywords: International public law, international humanitarian law, human rights law, internal armed conflicts, non-international armed conflicts, fundamental guarantees, war, Geneva Conventions, United Nations, civilian population, peremptory norms, customary law.
Published: 09.06.2014; Views: 1148; Downloads: 64
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