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What can be done to increase the acceptability of the ICRC in the field ?

31-03-1999 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 833, by Jean-Daniel Tauxe

 Abstract of the article " Faire mieux accepter le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge sur le terrain "

The author begins by observing that most conflicts today are non-international in character and do not follow the pattern of classical warfare. Indeed, they are marked by a decline in State monopoly on the use of force and by the proliferation of private players who resort to violence for reasons that more often than not are linked to economic interests. At the same time, many of these conflicts are ethnic in origin and are particularly cruel in that the killing and displacement of civilians are not incidental but are the main object of the violence. The author doubts whether in such situations classical international humanitarian law provides adequate tools for influencing the behaviour of the “fighters” ( who have replaced combatants, with their rights and duties under the laws of war). He pleads for an imaginative approach, based on general and universally accepted ethical rules and on action in the field, close to the victims.

 The Review