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21 Implementation and Enforcement of International Humanitarian Law

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: 03 June 2023

NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) — War crimes — Command responsibility — Armed conflict — Reparation — Reprisals

This chapter deals with the most important and at the same time most challenging part of international humanitarian law, as it describes and evaluates national and international measures to ensure implementation and compliance with existing rules and to provide remedies for violations. One necessary condition for the effective implementation of humanitarian law is that its contents are known by persons involved in a conflict, especially the combatants, that those persons are aware that violations carry disciplinary or penal consequences, and that they realize that persistent breaches may lead to an escalation of the conflict. In this regard, compliance with humanitarian law is in the interest of every individual party to an armed conflict. Highlighting long-lasting legal developments which have eventually led to a strengthening of national and international criminal jurisdiction on war crimes and crimes against humanity, the chapter explores the legal obligations of states and international organizations and appropriate measures to implement existing obligations, to prevent any violations, and take effective action where breaches are committed. It also reflects on the continuing increase of relevant jurisprudence and policymaking by intergovernmental and other organizations in recent years.

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