Archive for August, 2010

Evelin: International Humanitarian Law

August 16, 2010

International humanitarian law (IHL) protects people in times of armed conflict who are no longer taking part in hostilities. It regulates only those aspects of the conflict which are of humanitarian concern. The purpose of IHL is to limit the suffering caused by war, by protecting and assisting its victims as much as possible.

IHL has to branches: 1)      The law of Geneva, which is designed to protect military personnel who are no longer taking part in the fighting and people who are not actively involved in hostilities (e.g. civilians).

2)      The law of Hague, which establishes the rights and obligations of belligerents in the conduct of military operations and limits the means of harming the enemy.

The essential rules of IHL are: 1)      Attacks may be made solely against military objectives (but it is prohibited to attack military objectives if that would cause harm to civilians or civilian objects).

2)      People who do not or can no longer take part in the hostilities are entitled to respect for their lives and for their physical and mental integrity. Such people must in all circumstances be protected and treated with humanity, without any unfavorable distinction. It is forbidden to kill or wound an adversary who surrenders or who can no longer take part in the fighting.

3)      The parties to the conflict or members of their armed forces can not choose methods of warfare. It is forbidden to use weapons or methods of warfare that are likely to cause unnecessary losses or suffering.

4)      The wounded and sick must be collected and cared for by the party which has them in its power.

5) Captured combatants and civilians who are under the authority of the adverse party are entitled to respect for their lives, their dignity, their personal rights and their political, religious and other convictions. They must be protected against all acts of violence or reprisal. They have a right to exchange news with their families and receive aid. Basic judicial guarantees must be provided for them.

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Liis: Intermational Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL)

August 16, 2010

At first, it might be hard to see the differences between these two laws. It is therefore not surprising that, while very different in formulation, the essence of some of the rules is similar, if not identical. On the other hand, rules of IHL deal with many issues what are outside the purview of IHRL, such as the conduct of hostilities, combatant and prisoner of war status and the protection of the red cross and red crescent emblems. Similarly, IHRL deals with aspects of life in peacetime that are not regulated by IHL, such as freedom of the press, the right to assembly, to vote and to strike.

 International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is a set of rules which are specifically intended to solve humanitarian problems, directly arising from armed conflicts. It protects persons and property that are, or may be, affected by an armed conflict and limits the rights of the parties to choose theirs methods and means of warfare. IHL main treaty sources are four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols I and II (1977).

 International Human Rights Law is a set of international rules on the basis of which individuals and groups can expect and claim for certain behavior or benefits from governments. Human rights are inherent entitlements which belong to every person as a consequence of being human. IHRL main treaty sources are the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), as well as Conventions on Genocide (1948), Racial Discrimination (1965), Discrimination Against Women (1979), Torture (1984) and Rights of the Child (1989).

 Because IHL deals with an exceptional situation- armed conflict- it is applicable only in times of armed conflict. But in principle, IHRL applies at all times, both in peacetime and in war. However, some IHRL treaties permit governments to derogate from certain rights in situations of public emergency, threatening the life of the nation. Even though, certain human rights are never derogable, such as the right to life, prohibition of torture or inhuman treatment, slavery and retroactive criminal laws.

 The laws bind different actors. IHL binds all actors to an armed conflict, where it must be observed by the states involved or by the government and groups fighting. On the other hand, IHRL lays down rules binding governments in their relations with individuals.

Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

August 16, 2010

This blog was created in the frame of an international project, which ended in June 2010, but there is still so many interesting and necessary about the human rights, so we decided to go on with new people and new energy…