Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Implementation of International Humanitarian Law - Current Challenges and Obstacles

Academic journal article Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice

Implementation of International Humanitarian Law - Current Challenges and Obstacles

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. All nation states are obliged to take all necessary measures to ensure implementation of International Humanitarian Law. Measures that are available to nation states could be preventative, controlling, repressive and executive. These measures are to be undertaken in conflict situations, as well as in peacetime. Nevertheless, practice shows that international crimes still do occur, which means that the existing mechanisms for the enforcement of International Humanitarian Law are not appropriate. Therefore, we think that something new and different must be done. Armed conflicts cannot be everyday practice and also if they happen, the indemnification of the victims of these conflicts must be mandatory.

Keywords: International Humanitarian Law, international crime, retribution, victims

1. Introduction

The President of the United States Barack Obama said in 2009: "(. . .) No one nation can meet the challenges of the 21st century on its own, nor dictate its terms to the world. That is why America seeks an international system that lets nations pursue their interests peacefully, especially when those interests diverge; a system where the universal rights of human beings are respected, and violations of those rights are opposed; a system where we hold ourselves to the same standards that we apply to other nations, with clear rights and responsibilities for all."1 Analyzing the current situation in the international community, it is evident that - in spite of the existing rules of international law - armed conflicts erupt in almost all parts of the world. Given the present interdependence of all states through economic ties, politics and other spheres of life, it is impossible to ignore the conflicts that emerge in one part of the world and just say that they do not concern us.

In 2012 Paul Kagame, current President of the Republic of Rwanda, also emphasized: "The history of how conflicts have been handled in Rwanda, and indeed in our region, however, shows that improvement is needed. It is our obligation to point this out - not to be critical - but because we subscribe to the ideals and principles on which the United Nations was founded. We can and should do better."2

In this paper we will indicate the state of the implementation of International Humanitarian Law in the international community. Namely, the implementation of International Humanitarian Law in its full extent is a requirement for all members of the international community. Thus, here we would like to point out the measures that nation states are able to utilize to satisfy their international obligations. Also, we will indicate the direction of development of modern International Humanitarian Law which is directed towards the strengthening of its rules, and the tightening of penalties against perpetrators of international crimes.

2. Measures to Maintain Peace in the International Community

As weapons of mass destruction and killing become ever more prevalent and easily attainable, as the killing of human beings stops being an outrage and a blight to the conscious whole, and nothing more than ever-present backdrop we listen to before we hear the newest celebrity gossip, it becomes vital and every day ever more so, to establish firm and effective means of implementing International Humanitarian Law directives meant to protect civilian and third person casualties and lives. We have witnessed, in just recent memory, prolonged periods of armed violence in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan for more then three decades. Due to the stated facts, the implementation of International Humanitarian Law includes a set of measures taken to ensure compliance with this area of law in that the said implementation is mandatory for all parties to the Geneva Conventions, and mandatory as well to non-state entities involved in armed conflict.

Concerning that the basic reason for failure of the rules of International Humanitarian Law is the lack of knowledge of its provisions, it is necessary to regularly remind nation states of their obligations to spread such knowledge. …

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