International humanitarian law does not contain precise enough criteria to determine which situations fall within its material field of application, as the reality of armed conflict is more complex than the categories anticipated by IHL. This article sets out to show how these categories can be interpreted in light of recent international legal developments, and examines various controversial cases of application.
The current legal regime relative to occupation is no longer based solely on customary law and treaty-based law as set forth in the law of The Hague and the law of Geneva. The article explores how this regime has undergone a thorough change with the progressive recognition of the applicability of human rights law to the situations that it governs. The author examines the interrelation of international humanitarian law and human rights at the level of their individual rules, and considers whether the rules of international humanitarian law are confirmed, complemented, relativized or even contradicted by those deriving from human rights.