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17 International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law

Marco Sassòli

From: The Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law

Edited By: Ben Saul, Dapo Akande

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 16 July 2024

Human rights — Armed conflict, international — Sources of international law

This chapter assesses the relationship between international human rights law (IHRL) and international humanitarian law (IHL). While IHRL, unlike IHL, was not founded specifically to protect people affected by armed conflicts, both branches of international law apply simultaneously during such conflicts. This raises the question of how they interrelate and also how possible contradictions between them can be resolved. Today, genuine armed conflicts are mainly not of an international character. In such situations, the relationship between IHL and IHRL is particularly controversial and difficult to determine. Nevertheless, both IHL and IHRL lead, in most cases, to the same results. In the few instances where results differ, states could do a lot to harmonize their obligations under both branches, by resorting to derogations permitted under IHRL, one of the means offered by international law to harmonize their IHRL obligations with their IHL obligations. Beyond this, legal reasoning allows for differentiated solutions on when and on which issues one or the other branch prevails.

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