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International Human Rights Law

International Human Rights Law (3rd edn)

Daniel Moeckli, Sangeeta Shah, Sandesh Sivakumaran, and David Harris
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date: 30 March 2023

p. 50325. International humanitarian lawlocked

p. 50325. International humanitarian lawlocked

  • Sandesh Sivakumaran


This chapter examines international humanitarian law, the principal body of international law which applies in times of armed conflict, and which seeks to balance the violence inherent in an armed conflict with the dictates of humanity. International humanitarian law protects the civilian population from the ravages of conflict, and establishes limitations on the means and methods of combat. The chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 considers the nature of international humanitarian law and identifies some of its cardinal principles and key rules. Section 3 explores the similarities and differences between international humanitarian law and international human rights law, comparing and contrasting their historical origins and conceptual approaches. Given that international humanitarian law applies during armed conflict, Section 4 considers whether there is a need for international human rights law also to apply. Section 5 ascertains the relationship between the two bodies of law and Section 6 considers some of the difficulties with the application of international human rights law in time of armed conflict.

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