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International Review of the Red Cross, 2008, No. 869 – Conflict in Iraq (II)

Theme: Conflict in Iraq (II)

The war in Iraq presents challenges to all those involved in it, including humanitarian actors. In this issue of the Review, various authors look at the socio-political and humanitarian environment in Iraq today and assess the impact of the conflict on humanitarian law and humanitarian action. The issue is divided into two parts: the first part (Iraq I, December 2007 edition) comprises all articles dealing with the socio-political and humanitarian environment, while the second one (Iraq II, March 2008 edition) is concerned with humanitarian law and action.

It is hoped that the author's insights into these topics will contribute to a better understanding of the complexity of this conflict and point towards possible ways to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Issue No. 869- 2008

Theme: Conflict in Iraq (II)

Table of contents

  • Justice on Hold. Accountability and social reconstruction in Iraq
    Eric Stover, Miranda Sissons, Phuong Pham, Patrick Vinck
    This article takes a critical look at the accountability measures implemented by the United States in Iraq. What is needed is a secure environment and a legitimate authority to implement a comprehensive transitional justice strategy that reflects the needs and priorities of a wide range of Iraqis. Such a strategy should contain several measures, including prosecutions, reparations, a balanced approach to vetting, truth-seeking mechanisms, and institutional reform.
  • Occupation in Iraq since 2003 and the powers of the UN Security Council
    Robert Kolb
    This article provides a summary analysis of the topical question as to how far the Security Council may derogate from occupation law. The answer is that the Council may not derogate from those provisions of IHL that are of a specifically humanitarian nature (humanitarian ordre public), that derogations from international law or IHL are in any case not to be presumed, and that the Council has not derogated in any way from occupation law in the case of the Iraqi occupation since 2003.
  • International humanitarian law and its implementation in Iraq
    Zouhair Al Hassani
    Despite the fact that four years have elapsed since the end of the major combat operations, completion of the requirements for national sovereignty in accordance with the various resolutions of the Security Council has not been achieved. The author explains the different rules which were and are applicable to the situation in Iraq and presents the current humanitarian problems from the perspective of international humanitarian law.
  • Suicide attacks and Islamic law
    Muhammad Munir
    Suicide attacks are a recurrent feature of many conflicts. Whereas warfare heroism and martyrdom are allowed in certain circumstances in times of war, a suicide bomber might be committing at least five crimes according to Islamic law. The author examines such attacks from an Islamic jus in bello perspective.
  • Human Rights in Iraq’s transition – the search for inclusiveness
    John P. Pace
    The aftermath of the invasion of Iraq set unprecedented challenges to the United Nations in the political and in the human rights spheres. The article looks at its role in Iraq from the angle of the involvement of the Security Council, the legal context, the protection of human rights and the strife for reconciliation, sovereignty and inclusiveness.
  • The ethos-practice gap: perceptions of humanitarianism in Iraq
    Greg Hansen
    This article summarizes a country study on Iraq, which focussed on what Iraqis and aid workers believe to be true about the way the humanitarian apparatus has functioned or malfunctioned in Iraq, and why. Its findings confirm both the strength of the humanitarian ethos in Iraq and the operational value of principled humanitarianism, but call attention to significant gaps at ground level between ethos and practice.
  • Crossing the desert – the ICRC in Iraq. Analysis of a humanitarian operation
    Daniel Palmieri
    This article describes the humanitarian operations of the ICRC in Iraq from 1950 to the present day. It is shown, that the challenge for the ICRC is to strike a balance between meeting its treaty-based obligations and exercising its right of humanitarian initiative, and to avoid selecting the recipients of its aid on the sole basis of opportunities made available by governments.
  • A neutral, impartial and independent approach: key to ICRC's acceptance in Iraq
    Karl Mattli, Jörg Gasser
    The article describes the context of the ICRC’s operations in Iraq. The many serious attacks and continuing threats to the ICRC delegates, led to a low-visibility presence and required a new modus operandi in which a real presence on the ground was backed up by remote control mechanisms for assistance activities in the most insecure areas. The authors argue that despite inherent security risks, there is room for independent, neutral and impartial humanitarian action in Iraq.
  • Iraq's refugees: ignored and unwanted
    Andrew Harper
    The article provides a brief overview of the scale and characteristics of Iraq’s refugee population as well as their protection and assistance needs in asylum countries. It also reviews their relative impact on neighbouring states and the sustainability of recent returns.
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