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International humanitarian law in the European Union’s Foreign and Common Security Policy

30-06-2002 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 846, by Tristan Ferraro

Abstract of the article " Le droit international humanitaire dans la politique étrangère et de sécurité commune de l’Union européenne "

Like other international organizations, the European Union has progressively included an “international humanitarian law” dimension in the policies it intends to pursue in its international relations.  Initially focused on human rights, the regional European organization has taken the convergence between the various legal instruments for the protection of the individual into account. Today it no longer regards international humanitarian law as an alternative, but as a useful complement to be applied within its foreign and common security policy. At first concentrated in its basic policy statement  that law now features in all legal instruments at the organization’s disposal to act in accordance with its international vocation. This new reference thus highlights the European Union’s role not only in disseminating the Geneva Conventions and Protocols and promoting respect for them, but also in ensuring that the rules of international humanitarian law progress and become adapted to new forms of conflict.