Jump to Content Jump to Main Navigation

3 Scope of Application 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: 22 September 2023

Human rights — Armed conflict — Treaties, scope (temporal and territorial)

This chapter addresses the scope of application of international humanitarian law. International humanitarian law regulates, and as a rule applies in times of, armed conflicts. Accordingly, it is also referred to as the law of armed conflict or jus in bello. The three interchangeable terms denote the only branch of public international law that is specifically designed to strike a balance during armed conflicts between preserving humanitarian values, on the one hand, and considerations of military necessity, on the other by protecting those who do not or no longer directly participate in hostilities and by limiting the right of parties to the conflict to use armed force only to the amount necessary to achieve the aim of the conflict, which is to weaken the military potential of the enemy. While international humanitarian law specifically regulates situations of armed conflicts, it does not automatically supersede all other areas of public international law in the event of an armed conflict. The chapter then focuses on the law enforcement aspects, the continued relevance of rules of international law of peace during armed conflict, and the relevance of humanitarian law in peacetime and post-conflict military operations.

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.