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8 Specifically Protected Persons and Objects

Robin Geiß, Christophe Paulussen

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, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 27 November 2020

Subject(s):
Refugees — Children, rights — Combatants — Women, rights — Standards of treatment — Cultural property / heritage — Armed conflict — Care for the sick and wounded — Protected persons and property

This chapter addresses the categories of persons and objects which receive specific protection under international humanitarian law (IHL), typically because they are seen as particularly vulnerable. In addition to the legal protection granted to the wounded and sick, contemporary IHL specifically regulates religious personnel; medical units and transports; persons and objects displaying the distinctive emblem; humanitarian relief personnel and objects; personnel and objects involved in peacekeeping missions; journalists; women; children; missing persons; hospital and safety zones; cultural property; and the environment. However, current practice shows that these categories continue to be vulnerable and that respect for the implementation of IHL is often lacking, with the repugnant practices of Islamic State (IS) as the new nadir. Therefore, the enforcement of IHL, through the application of international criminal law, either at the national or international level, is of the utmost importance to show that conduct violating IHL will not be tolerated. An interesting and hopeful sign in that respect is the prosecution of Al Faqi Al Mahdi before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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