War Crimes: Confronting Atrocity in the Modern World

By David Chuter | Go to book overview
Save to active project

3
The Law

This chapter addresses issues of international humanitarian law, or the law of armed conflict. Put simply, this chapter describes what the law says. I begin by explaining the laws and their origins, then how international treaties and statutes yield specific crimes to be investigated and punished. Finally, I address some of the practical problems to which this body of law gives rise.1

Essentially, international humanitarian law has a twofold purpose: It is intended to protect noncombatants, or those who are not now, or never were, taking part in the fighting; it also limits the methods and means by which the fighting is carried out. Some international humanitarian law is based on international treaties, and some is based on the customs of war. There are two broad divisions within international humanitarian law, although the distinction is now somewhat blurred. Humanitarian law properly defined seeks to protect military personnel who are not, for whatever reason, now taking part in the fighting, as well as civilian noncombatants; this is sometimes referred to as the law of Geneva. In addition, there is the law of war, sometimes referred to as the law of The Hague, which establishes the rights and duties of those actually doing the fighting and limits the methods that can be employed to harm the enemy. There was always some overlap between the two, and the adoption of the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions ended any distinction for all practical purposes.

These rules apply to armed conflicts of all kinds. Traditionally, they applied only to so-called international armed conflicts, but today they also apply to noninternational armed conflicts, which are usually taken to be conflicts on the territory of a state between its own armed forces and identifiable armed groups, or between such armed groups fighting each other. The definition and threshold of an armed conflict is very important for the

-59-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
War Crimes: Confronting Atrocity in the Modern World
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 300

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?