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19 The Law of Non-International Armed Conflict

Dieter Fleck

From: The Handbook of International Humanitarian Law (4th Edition)

Edited By: Dieter Fleck

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 27 September 2023

Armed conflict — Applicable law

This chapter provides an overview of the law of non-international armed conflicts and its progressive development. The law of armed conflict, as it has developed in the last part of the nineteenth and the first part of the twentieth century, deals predominantly with wars between states. Its basic principles and rules are, however, likewise relevant for non-international armed conflicts: in all armed conflicts, elementary considerations of humanity must be respected under all circumstances, in order to protect victims, to reduce human sufferings, and to minimize damages to objects vital for survival. Therefore, the parties to the conflict do not have an unlimited choice of the means and methods of conducting hostilities, nor of selecting the targets to be attacked, and they must protect the victims from the effects and consequences of war. This concept is reflected in the principles and rules of international humanitarian law, to be respected by all and, while taking military necessity into account, limiting the use of force for humanitarian reasons. Parties to the conflict respecting these principles and rules are considered as respecting the international order, while those seriously violating them will commit internationally wrongful acts and perpetrators are liable to punishment.

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