Historical background War crimes are violations of the and customs of the law of armed conflict and are punishable whether committed by combatants or civilians, including the nationals of neutral states. 2 Occasionally the term has been used to include acts like espionage 3 or war treason 4
Introduction Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) 1 includes in its list of war crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court: (b) … serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict, within the established framework of international law, namely the following
the consequences of his acts at the time he committed them. It has occasionally been argued that Article 77(2) itself fixes the minimum age of criminal responsibility for war crimes at 15. Such a reading of the provision is based on the idea that if a child under 15 is too young to fight he should also be considered to be too young to be held criminally responsible for his actions. Such a reading of
Nine years of continuous conflict in Syria have borne witness to various atrocities against civilians, some of which amount to war crimes. Most of the involved parties have committed such atrocities, but the Government of Syria (GoS) and its allies remain at the top of the list of perpetrators. Out of a population of 21 million in 2010, more than half a million Syrians were killed as of January 2019 with more than 13 million displaced either inside the country, in neighbouring countries or elsewhere. Moreover, civilian infrastructures, including but not limited to health, have been severely affected, resulting in interrupted services and suffering. Looking at patterns of these atrocities, timing of occurrence, and consequences, could allow us to draw conclusions about motivations. While the GoS maintains these attacks were against combating civilians, we argue that civilians and civilian infrastructure were military and strategic targets, rather than collateral damage to the attacks committed by the GoS and its allies. The motives behind attacking civilians may be related to military gains in imposing submission and surrender; whereas others may be linked to long-term goals such as forced displacement and demographic engineering. This paper argues, supported by several examples throughout the course of the Syrian conflict, that GoS has used a five-point military tactic with targeting healthcare being at the heart of it. This military tactic has been extremely effective in regaining most opposition strongholds at the expense of civilian suffering and health catastrophe.
It has been accepted since antiquity that some restraint should be observed during armed conflict. This book examines the apparent dichotomy and introduces any study of the law of armed conflict by considering the nature and legality of war. The purpose of what is known as the law of armed conflict or, more commonly, the law of war is to reduce the horrors inherent therein to the greatest extent possible, bearing in mind the political purpose for which the war is fought, namely to achieve one's policies over one's enemies. The discussion on the history and sources of the law of armed conflict pays most attention to warfare on land because that is the region for which most agreements have been drawn up, although attention has been accorded to both aerial and naval warfare where it has been considered necessary. Traditionally, international law was divided into the law of war and the law of peace, with no intermediate stage between. Although diplomatic relations between belligerents are normally severed once a conflict has commenced, there remain a number of issues, not all of which are concerned with their inter-belligerent relations, which require them to remain in contact. War crimes are violations of the and customs of the law of armed conflict and are punishable whether committed by combatants or civilians, including the nationals of neutral states. The book also talks about the rights and duties of the Occupying Power, civil defence, branches of international law and prisoners of war.
, security of staff and access to populations became important priorities, and témoignage came to be increasingly seen as jeopardising MSF’s operational presence ( Binet, 2010 : 43). Around the same time, the International Criminal Court was established to promote accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Although MSF collectively decided not to cooperate with the Court, it could do little to prevent its public statements from being used as evidence
scrambled to treat the wounded while appealing to Afghan, US, and UN officials to stop the attack. By the time the firing stopped over an hour later, at least forty-two people had been killed – including MSF staff, hospital patients, and family members – over thirty were injured, and thirty-three were missing. MSF later alleged that the attack constituted a war crime and called for an independent and impartial investigation. The bombing of MSF’s trauma centre in Kunduz, Afghanistan by a US Air Force AC-130U gunship quickly garnered headlines around the world, generating
issues such as attacks on health care, talking about documenting war crimes, there are of course even more strict protocols to follow.’ Hence, quality is emphasised over quantity. Another representative remarked: ‘We don’t need one [more piece of] evidence that those attacks are happening. We just need to analyse the data that we know are true. […] Whether it is 100 attacks or 120, it means nothing. At the end, one attack [on a health facility] is a crime’ (interview with a
region of its inhabitants (a clear objective of Serb nationalists in the Bosnian war, for example). Conversely, civilians have been used as human shields by rebel groups keeping them hostage in an attempt to secure military positions or to force governmental forces to commit war crimes. This was, for example, the strategy of the LTTE when the Sri Lankan government troops advanced on the Vanni region in early 2009. Ultimately, what matters is the reason underlying the decision to open or to call for a humanitarian corridor. Corridors can be misappropriated by a third
, 2012 ; Veeder, 1990 ). The newly founded League of Red Cross had sixty films available in 1921, as well as Italian, Swedish, and English Red Cross societies. The ARA (1919–23) was also keen on using cinema to raise awareness, with films such as Starvation produced as early as 1919, to America’s Gift to Famine Stricken Russia released after the end of famine in 1923. The former followed American food relief operations in Central and Southern Europe after World War I amid persistent fighting, leading the film crew to witness war crimes in the Baltics. The latter