International Review of the Red Cross, 2011 - No. 883 – Engaging armed groups
Issue No. 883 – 2011
Theme – Engaging armed groups
Download PDF 6 MB Most wars today pit states against armed groups, and talking with such groups is therefore vital for all those working to promote compliance with the law and strengthen the protection of conflict victims. Reaching them, however, involves overcoming material, security-related, legal and political obstacles. What arguments can be invoked to convince armed groups? How can their adherence to international humanitarian law (IHL) be strengthened when they are themselves outlaws according to domestic law? How to engage with armed groups in an international context in which any dialogue may be perceived as a form of betrayal or complicity?
Table of contents
Editorial: Engaging armed groups – IRRC September No 883
Engaging armed groups
Interview with David Kilcullen
David Kilcullen, a leading expert on counter-insurgency policy, gives his views on recent developments relating to armed groups and military tactics, but also on some of the humanitarian community’s main concerns related to counter-insurgency strategies.
Engaging non-state armed actors in state and peace-building: options and strategies
Claudia Hofmann and Ulrich Schneckener
Drawing on international relations theory, this article assesses particular strategies for engagement with armed groups, and their suitability and applicability with regard to specific actors.
Humanitarian engagement under counter-terrorism: a conflict of norms and the emerging policy landscape
Naz K. Modirzadeh, Dustin A. Lewis, Claude Bruderlein
This article identifies two countervailing sets of norms and discusses how this conflict of norms might affect the capacity of humanitarian organizations to deliver life-saving assistance in areas under the control of one of these groups.
Participation of armed groups in the development of the law applicable to armed conflicts
After reviewing five main reasons why armed groups should be involved in the advancement of the law governing armed conflicts, this article offers a brief overview of selected means by which armed groups should be engaged in the creation of future norms, as well as in the interpretation and contextualization of existing norms.
Monitoring armed non-state actor compliance with humanitarian norms: a look at international mechanisms and the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment
Pascal Bongard and Jonathan Somer
Armed non-state actors are involved in most armed conflicts today, yet international law provides few mechanisms to ensure that they comply with humanitarian norms applicable to them.
Between insurgents and government: the International Committee of the Red Cross’s action in the Algerian War (1954–1962)
Françoise Perret and François Bugnion
The French government and an armed insurrectionary movement confronted each other for over seven years in the Algerian War, which would become the archetype of wars of national liberation. It brought the new conditions of struggle in revolutionary warfare to a convulsive climax characterized by terrorist attacks, underground warfare, and repression.
Taking prisoners: reviewing the international humanitarian law grounds for deprivation of liberty by armed opposition groups
This article looks at the customary international humanitarian law prohibition on arbitrary deprivation of liberty, and how it can apply to armed opposition groups in a manner that makes compliance realistic.
Detention by armed groups: overcoming challenges to humanitarian action
The author presents the challenges inherent in approaching armed groups with regard to persons detained by them, and explores the options open to humanitarian practitioners in that regard. Tuck describes the ICRC practice in this field and its limitations, sharing the unique know-how that the organization has acquired throughout the years.
Closing the gap: symbolic reparations and armed groups
The question of whether non-state armed groups could and should provide reparations to their victims has been largely overlooked. This article explores this gap, with a particular focus on symbolic reparations, such as acknowledgement of the truth and apologies.
Selected articles on IHL
Enhancing civilian protection from use of explosive weapons in populated areas: building a policy and research agenda
John Borrie, Maya Brehm
This article describes the effects of explosive violence, critically examines how the existing humanitarian law regime tends to address this issue and explores some current developments in building a research and policy agenda to try to reduce civilian harm from the use of explosive weapons.
Comments and opinions
The European Court of Human Rights’ Al-Jedda judgment: the oversight of international humanitarian law
The author discusses the implications of the recent Al-Jedda judgment of the European Court on Human Rights for the ability of states parties to that treaty to conduct detention operations in situations of armed conflict.
Reports and documents
What’s new in law and case law across the world
Biannual update on national legislation and case law January–June 2011
Books and articles
Books and articles
Recent acquisitions of the Library and Public Archives, ICRC