International humanitarian law and other legal regimes: interplay in situations of violence

30-11-2003 Report

Summary report Prepared by the International Committee of the Red Cross Supplement to the report prepared by the International Committee of the Red Cross entitled "International Humanitarian Law and the Challenges of Contemporary Armed Conflicts"

The comprehensive protection of persons in situations of armed conflict requires the complementary application of several bodies of international law - including humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. Their common underlying purpose is protection of the life, health and dignity of human beings. While these bodies of law share similar goals and while the content of some of their norms overlaps, determining the exact interplay of these various legal regimes in situations of violence is a challenging task, both on a legal and a practical level.

With a view to examining some of the outstanding issues in the application of the different bodies of law, the International Institute of Humanitarian Law and the ICRC devoted the 27th Round Table on Current Problems of International Humanitarian Law to " IHL and Other Legal Regimes: Interplay in Situations of Violence " . More than 200 participants from governments, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, academia and NGOs examined questions such as the threshold of violence necessary for a situation to be qualified as armed conflict and the legal characterization of new forms of violence, including the fight against terrorism. Special emphasis was placed on the interaction of the different legal regimes in three specific contexts: deprivation of liberty, judicial guarantees and the use of force.