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Lessons for the law of armed conflict from commitments of armed groups: identification of legitimate targets and prisoners of war

30-06-2011 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 882, by Sandesh Sivakumaran

Armed groups frequently issue ad hoc commitments that contain a law of armed conflict component. These commitments detail the obligation of the relevant armed group to abide by international humanitarian law, the Geneva Conventions, or particular rules set out in the commitment.

Abstact

Armed groups frequently issue ad hoc commitments that contain a law of armed conflict component. These commitments detail the obligation of the relevant armed group to abide by international humanitarian law, the Geneva Conventions, or particular rules set out in the commitment. They commit the group to abide by international standards, sometimes exceed international standards, or in certain respects violate international standards. Although these commitments are often overlooked, they offer certain lessons for the law of armed conflict. This article considers the commitments of armed groups with respect to two specific areas of the law that are either of contested  interpretation or seemingly inapplicable to non-international armed conflicts, namely the identification of legitimate targets and the prisoners of war regime.

Biography

Sandesh Sivakumaran is a lecturer at the School of Law, University of Nottingham.


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