One hundred years after The Hague, 50 years after Geneva - international humanitarian law in an age of civil war
30-06-1999 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 834, by Marie-José Domestici-Met
In the author’s view the state of international humanitarian law as we approach the 21st century may be characterized by two major developments. The first is the trend away from well-structured conflicts between States and towards chaotic violence within the territory of the classic State entity. The second is the growing tendency to target civilians. The result is an increase in suffering and casualties among the civilian population. After considering the major obstacles to humanitarian action in present-day conflicts, the author looks at what she calls “the remarkable development of the international rules governing non-international armed conflicts”. She discusses ways of strengthening and developing standards applicable to such conflict other than formal codification of new rules. The paper finishes by stressing the decisive importance of making the law known among those who need to know it, particularly those engaged in violence.