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Encyclopedia > Hague War Regulations

International humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the law of war, the laws and customs of war or the law of armed conflict, is the legal corpus "comprised of the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, and customary international law."[1] It defines the conduct and responsibilities of belligerent nations, neutral nations and individuals engaged in warfare, in relation to each other and to protected persons, usually meaning civilians. The laws of war (Jus in bello) define the conduct and responsibilities of belligerent nations, neutral nations and individuals engaged in warfare, in relation to each other and to protected persons, usually meaning civilians. ... Development of the Geneva Conventions from 1864 to 1949. ... The Hague Conventions were international treaties negotiated at the First and Second Peace Conferences at The Hague, Netherlands in 1899 and 1907, respectively, and were, along with the Geneva Conventions, among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the nascent body of international law. ... A belligerent is an individual, group, country or other entity which acts in an aggressive or hostile manner, such as engaging in combat. ... A neutral country takes no side in a war between other parties, and in return hopes to avoid being attacked by either of them. ... For other uses of War, see War (disambiguation). ... In times of armed conflict a civilian is any person who is not a combatant. ...


The law is mandatory for nations bound by the appropriate treaties. There are also other customary unwritten rules of war, many of which were explored at the Nuremberg War Trials. By extension, they also define both the permissive rights of these powers as well as prohibitions on their conduct when dealing with irregular forces and non-signatories. The Nuremberg Trials is the general name for two sets of trials of Nazis involved in World War II and the Holocaust. ...

Contents

Basic rules of IHL

Dr. Hans Peter Gasser, former Senior Legal Adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), outlines the basic rules of IHL: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. ...

  1. Persons who are not, or are no longer, taking part in hostilities shall be respected, protected and treated humanely. They shall be given appropriate care, without any discrimination.
  2. Captured combatants and other persons whose freedom has been restricted shall be treated humanely. They shall be protected against all acts of violence, in particular against torture. If put on trial they shall enjoy the fundamental guarantees of a regular judicial procedure.
  3. The right of parties to an armed conflict to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited. No superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering shall be inflicted.
  4. In order to spare the civilian population, armed forces shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and civilian objects on the one hand, and military objectives on the other. Neither the civilian population as such nor individual civilians or civilian objects shall be the target of military attacks. [1]. A professor at Golden Gate University thinks humanitarian laws are not the laws of armed conflicts, he excludes the basic

Examples

Well-known examples of such rules include the prohibition on attacking doctors or ambulances displaying a Red Cross. It is also prohibited to fire at a person or vehicle bearing a white flag, since that indicates an intent to surrender or a desire to communicate. In either case, the persons protected by the Red Cross or white flag are expected to maintain neutrality, and may not engage in warlike acts; in fact, engaging in war activities under a white flag or red cross is itself a violation of the laws of war. An ambulance in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico A Helicopter used as an Ambulance. ... The Anarchist Black Cross was originally called the Anarchist Red Cross. The band Redd Kross was originally called Red Cross. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


These examples of the laws of war address declaration of war, (the UN charter (1945) Art 2, and some other Arts in the charter, curtails the right of member states to declare war; as does the older and toothless Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 for those nations who ratified it but used against Germany in the Nuremberg War Trials), acceptance of surrender and the treatment of prisoners of war; the avoidance of atrocities; the prohibition on deliberately attacking civilians; and the prohibition of certain inhumane weapons. It is a violation of the laws of war to engage in combat without meeting certain requirements, among them the wearing of a distinctive uniform or other easily identifiable badge and the carrying of weapons openly. Impersonating soldiers of the other side by wearing the enemy's uniform and fighting in that uniform, is forbidden, as is the taking of hostages. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a declaration of war against the Empire of Japan on December 8, 1941, one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. ... President Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Frank B. Kellogg, standing, with representatives of the governments who have ratified the Treaty for Renunciation of War (Kellogg-Briand Pact), in the East Room of the White House. ... To surrender is when soldiers give up fighting and become prisoners of war, either as individuals or when ordered to by their officers. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ... An atrocity (from the Latin atrox, atrocious, from Latin ater = matte black (as distinct from niger = shiny black)) is a term used to describe crimes ranging from an act committed against a single person to one committed against a population or ethnic group. ... In times of armed conflict a civilian is any person who is not a combatant. ... A weapon is a tool used to kill or incapacitate a person or animal, or destroy a military target. ... A uniform is a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organisation whilst participating in that organisations activity. ... Police often train to recover hostages taken by force, as in this exercise For the 2005 film, see Hostage (film). ...


Violations and punishment

During conflict, punishment for violating the laws of war may consist of a specific, deliberate and limited violation of the laws of war in reprisal. Look up Punishment in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In warfare, a reprisal is a limited and deliberate violation of the laws of war to punish an enemy for breaking the laws of war. ...


Soldiers who break specific provisions of the laws of war lose the protections and status afforded as prisoners of war but only after facing a "competent tribunal" (GC III Art 5). At that point they become an unlawful combatant but they must still be "treated with humanity and, in case of trial, shall not be deprived of the rights of fair and regular trial", because they are still covered by GC IV Art 5. Modern soldiers. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Third Geneva Convention The Third Geneva Convention (or GCIII) of 1949, one of the Geneva Conventions, is a treaty agreement that primarily concerns the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs), and also touched on other topics. ... The term unlawful combatant (also unlawful enemy combatant or unprivileged combatant/belligerent) denotes people denied the protection of the Geneva Conventions; those to whom protection is recognised as due are referred to as lawful combatants. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Fourth Geneva Convention The Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV) relates to the protection of civilians during times of war in the hands of an enemy and under any occupation by a foreign power. ...


Spies and "terrorists" are only protected by the laws of war if the power which holds them is in a state of armed conflict or war and until they are found to be an unlawful combatant. Depending on the circumstances, they may be subject to civilian law or military tribunal for their acts and in practice have been subjected to torture and/or execution. The laws of war neither approve nor condemn such acts, which fall outside their scope. Countries that have signed the UN Convention Against Torture have committed themselves not to use torture on anyone for any reason. Spies may refer to: Spies (Coldplay), a song by the rock group Coldplay. ... Terrorist redirects here. ... Torture is defined by the United Nations Convention Against Torture as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he... The United Nations Convention Against Torture is an international human rights instrument, organized by the United Nations and intended to prevent torture and other similar activities. ...


After a conflict has ended, persons who have committed any breach of the laws of war, and especially atrocities, may be held individually accountable for war crimes through process of law. An atrocity (from the Latin atrox, atrocious, from Latin ater = matte black (as distinct from niger = shiny black)) is a term used to describe crimes ranging from an act committed against a single person to one committed against a population or ethnic group. ... In the context of war, a war crime is a punishable offense under International Law, for violations of the laws of war by any person or persons, military or civilian. ... Lady Justice or Justitia is a personification of the moral force that underlies the legal system (particularly in Western art). ...


Jus in bello

The agreements regarding acceptable practices while engaged in war are referred to as the jus in bello. Thus the Geneva Conventions are a set of jus in bello. Any international agreements about the justifiable reasons for a country to declare war against another can be referred to as jus ad bellum. Jus ad bellum (Latin for Justice of War; see also Just War Theory) are a set of criteria that are consulted before engaging in war, in order to determine whether entering into war is justifiable. ...


Non-uniformed guerrillas and Protocol 1

Under the Third Geneva Convention a fighter or belligerent in an international armed conflict who wanted lawful combatant status (and therefore prisoner of war status if captured), would have to meet certain criteria including: Wikisource has original text related to this article: Third Geneva Convention The Third Geneva Convention (or GCIII) of 1949, one of the Geneva Conventions, is a treaty agreement that primarily concerns the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs), and also touched on other topics. ...

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
(c) That of carrying arms openly;
(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war." (From Article 4)

Lawful combatants are accorded "combatant's privilege," whereby they are exempted from the ordinary criminal law of the place they are fighting in. This means that they cannot be tried for murder, for example, for killing soldiers of the opposing side. Prisoners of war are accorded this privilege in the event they are charged with crimes after capture. They may be tried for war crimes, such as murdering civilians or torture, but not acts of violence in accordance with the laws and customs of war such as killing or capturing enemy soldiers or damaging military property.


The 1979 First Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions (Protocol 1) seeks, among other things, to effectively bring legal combatant status to forces not adhering to the uniform and certain other regulations of the Hague and Geneva Conventions, which arguably can include those some may consider terrorists. For the song by the Smashing Pumpkins, see 1979 (song). ... Protocol I: Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts. ... This article is becoming very long. ...


The definition of an "international armed conflict" would include "armed conflicts in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination and alien [foreign] occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations." (From article 1[4]) The United Nations Charter is the constitution of the United Nations. ...


Noam Chomsky, the prominent linguist and leftist commentator, has speculated that the reference to armed conflicts against "racist regimes" may have been a deliberate reference to the armed resistance to the apartheid regime in South Africa at the time, and the reference to armed conflicts against "alien occupations" may have been a deliberate reference to armed resistance to various Israeli occupations of the time.[citation needed] Avram Noam Chomsky, Ph. ... A segregated beach in South Africa, 1982. ...


The Protocol may, unlike the 1949 Conventions that require combatants to wear uniforms, also give lawful combatant status to non-uniformed guerrilla in international armed conflicts as long as they bear their arms openly during military operations. 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1949 calendar). ... Look up guerrilla in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Article 44(3) states:

"In order to promote the protection of the civilian population from the effects of hostilities, combatants are obliged to distinguish themselves from the civilian population while they are engaged in an attack or in a military operation preparatory to an attack. Recognizing, however, that there are situations in armed conflicts where, owing to the nature of the hostilities an armed combatant cannot so distinguish himself, he shall retain his status as a combatant, provided that, in such situations, he carries his arms openly."

Article 44(7) then states:

"This Article is not intended to change the generally accepted practice of States with respect to the wearing of the uniform by combatants assigned to the regular, uniformed armed units of a Party to the conflict."

Protocol 1 provisions are effectively blocked from coming into meaningful force due to the fact that most nations likely to be directly involved in conflict, especially with guerrillas, have refused to ratify it, including the United States of America and Israel, India, Indonesia, Iran and Iraq, or have ratified or acceded to it only with unilateral declarations limiting their acceptance, including Australia, China, France, Germany, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom.


It is unclear whether the British government considers or considered Protocol 1 to be applicable to guerrillas (or "insurgents" or "terrorists") fighting foreign troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.


It is likely they do not consider it applicable in Iraq, especially since the official position of the British government is that the alien occupation of Iraq ended with the official handover of power to the US-backed (and internationally-recognised) Iraqi government--therefore there is officially no alien occupation to resist. Likewise, NATO forces are in Afghanistan with the permission of US-backed (and internationally recognised) president Hamid Karzai. Politics of Iraq includes the social relations involving authority or power in Iraq. ... Hamid Karzai (Pashto: حامد کرزي, Persian: حامد کرزی) (b. ...


This would be disputed by some who do no support the presence of Anglo-American forces in Iraq, who would consider their presence still an occupation--just as the US government considered Soviet forces to be in occupation of Afghanistan in 1980s. Officially, Soviet troops were in Afghanistan with the permission of the Soviet-backed government, in order to aid the Afghan Army's counter-insurgency war against "Muslim terrorists" (the US-backed mujahadeen guerrillas). State motto (Russian): Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь! (Transliterated: Proletarii vsekh stran, soedinyaytes!) (Translated: Workers of the world, unite!) Capital Moscow Official language None; Russian (de facto) Government Federation of Soviet republics Area  - Total  - % water 1st before collapse 22,402,200 km² Approx. ... Mujahideen (مجاهدين; also transliterated as mujāhidīn, mujahedeen, mujahedin, mujahidin, mujaheddin, etc. ...


See also

Just war is a specific concept of how warfare might be justified, typically in accordance with a particular situation, or scenario, and expanded or supported by reference to doctrine, tradition, or historical commentary. ... Total war is a military conflict in which nations mobilize all available resources in order to destroy another nations ability to engage in war. ... The Law of Land Warfare is that part of the Laws of War applicable to the conduct of warfare on land and to relationships between belligerents and neutral States. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Protective signs are symbols to be used during an armed conflict to mark persons and objects under the protection of various treaties of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). ...

Further reading

Footnotes

  1. ^ ICRC What is international humanitarian law?

 
 

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