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International Humanitarian Law
University of Iowa School of Law
David, Marcella

International Humanitarian Law
Fall 2011
Part I: Introduction
I. Intro
A.     Public International Law
o   International Relations between States (i.e. not private actors)
o   Sources:
·         Treaties (written)
–        Signing
·      Intent to commit/ratify
·      Not bound to provision of treaty, but bound to not do anything that will defeat the object/purpose of the treaty
–        Ratifying
·      Not bound unless ratified – treaty does not apply if not ratified
·      Gap b/w signing and ratifying can be looong
–        Unsigning
·      Intent to act against purpose of treaty
·      Treaties depend upon custom for enforcement (i.e. custom before
·      treaty)
·         Custom (unwritten)
–        Practice of states over time undertaken with a sense of legal obligation
·      Consistent and recurring practice
·      Practice b/c of the belief that it is required by law (legal obligation)
·         General Principles
–        Local or domestic laws that bubble up
·      Finding a common element that has bubbled up so that it has int’l application
·      Exp: attorney client privilege
·         Publicists
–        Scholars and writers
–        Grotius
·      “father of int’l law”
·      Dutch jurist and scholar
–        Case law
o   Non-State Actors
·         International Red Cross (ICRC)
–        Not only developmental role, but also an enforcement role
·         Human Rights Organizations
–        Deeply influenced drafting of ICJ
o   Institutions
·         United Nations
–        Save succeeding generations from the scourge of war
–        Sub-contracting to regional organizations (for enforcement mechanisms)
·         International Court of Justice (ICJ) & Tribunals
–        No precedential value
–        Only binding on the parties in front of the court for that particular dispute
–        Whether decisions are binding upon Domestic law depends on the State – varies
·      U.S. – not binding
–        ICJ came from Rome Statute
–        ICJ only try prospective acts – occurred after the assembling of ICJ
–        Ad Hauk Tribunals
·         Layered, on top of domestic law
–        Constitution states that international law applies
o   Venacular
·         Rule of War vs. Law of War
·         Law of War vs. Law of Armed Conflict
–        Law of War
·      Huge area
–        Law of Armed Conflict
·      Narrower – focus is on the conflict itself
·         International Humanitarian Law vs. International Human Rights Law
–        IHL
–        IHRL
–        May, at times, overlap and/or create a conflict
·         Int’l Humanitarian Law vs. Law of Armed Conflict
–        IHL – has Geneva Convention at it’s heart (caring/humanitarian notion)
·         LOAC – broader notion (exp: what are acceptable targets)
B.     Jus ad Bello
– Just cause for going to war – legality of initiating war
            – Historically was seen as a “good thing” – accomplish many things
o   Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928
·         Provided for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy
o   League of Nations
·         Failed
–        U.S. not a party
–        Required complete consensus
–        Non-proliferation clause
o   Nuremburg Charter
·         Crimes Against Humanity
·         Crimes Against Peace
–        Art. 6
·      “planning, preparation, initiation or waging of war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing”…
o   United Nations
·         Created by major powers after WWII
–        Conferences
–        Draft treaty
                    Purposes and Principles
–        Maintain international peace and security **
–        Prevention and removal of threats to the peace
–        Suppression of acts of aggression
–        Settlement of international disputes which might lead to breach of the peace
·         Economic and Social Counsel
–        Oversee human rights
·         Int’l Court of Justice (ICJ)
–        Statute of ICJ – annexed to the Charter
–        Members  bound to ICJ
·         Secretariat
–        Head – Secretary General
–        Administrative arm of UN, Public base
–        Not an executive role, as in president of U.S.
·         General Assembly
–        “Democratic” part of UN
–        Each member state has representation in General Assembly
–        Each state – one vote
–        Int’l peace and sec

·         International responsibilities – coalition
·         Different tactics/resources
II. IHL Philosophical Frameworks (p. 73-86)
A.     Geneva Conventions
o   Four Significant Innovations
1.      Require ratifying states to enact domestic legislation to prosecute those who commit “grave breaches”
2.      Ratifying states seek out and try those who’ve committed “grave breaches”
3.      Concept of “grave breaches” itself
4.      Common Article 3 protections
o   Overarching Goals and Principles
·         Basic level of treatment
·         Coverage – applies to Contracting Parties (194/195 countries)
·         Nonderegable
o   Three P’s
·         Principles
·         Persons Protected
·         Protections Afforded
o   Amelioration of Wounded & Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (First)
·         Persons Protected
·      Armed forces
·      Medical personnel
·      Chaplains
·      Dead persons
·      Art. 13
·         Protections Afforded
·      shall be respected and protected in all circumstances.
·      Art. 12
o   Treatment of Wounded, Sick, Shipwrecked Members Armed Forces at Sea (Second)
·         Persons Protected
·      Same as 1, but at sea, not in the field
·      If you’re found at sea but then moved to land – switch to “in the field” (not “at sea”)
o   Treatment of Prisoners of War (Third)
·         Persons Protected
·      Article 4
·      Article 5
·      Once you have control, they are a pow (i.e. still a combatant until in your control)
·         Protections Afforded
·      Humanely treated
·      Respect for their persons and honor
·      Medical attention
o   Treatment of Civilian Persons in Time of War (Fourth)
·         Persons Protected
·      Persons not covered by other 3 conventions