The Geneva Conventions formalized two important developments concerning when international humanitarian law (IHL) applies: (1) IHL now governs de facto as well as de jure warfare; and (2) IHL now governs non-international as well as international armed conflict. Both developments were revolutionary. First, the Conventions apply to any ‘armed conflict’ between states irrespective of whether either state has formally declared war.1 Prior to the drafting of the Geneva Conventions, the applicability of the ‘law of war’ was delimited by formal acts of state such as a...
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