Scientific article
Open access

The Implementation of International Humanitarian Law : Current and Inherent Challenges

ContributorsSassòli, Marco
Published inYearbook of international humanitarian law, vol. 10, p. 45-73
Publication date2007

The implementation of humanitarian law (IHL) is confronted to many challenges. Some of them are inherent, because IHL applies to armed conflicts. A situation must be classified before IHL can be applied. Existing implementation mechanisms either do not function. Those which function, such as the ICRC and criminal prosecution, have their limits. In certain conflicts, such as asymmetric conflicts, and with regard to certain players, such as armed groups, it is particularly difficult to obtain respect of IHL. Beyond that, there is a perhaps even more dangerous challenge in perception. The gap between the ever-growing promises of protection by the law made by doctrine, jurisprudence and sometimes even by States, and the systematic non-respect of that law, which (in the author's view wrongly) transpires from the media and NGO reports, undermines the credibility of the law and the willingness to respect it. The author advocates ways to reduce this gap.

  • International humanitarian law
  • Implementation
  • ICRC
  • International criminal justice
  • Asymmetric warfare
  • Non-state armed groups
  • Credibility
  • Perception
  • Droit international humanitaire
  • Mise en oeuvre
  • CICR
  • Justice pénale internationale
  • Guerre asymétrique
  • Groupe armé non étatique
  • Crédibilité
  • Perception
Citation (ISO format)
SASSÒLI, Marco. The Implementation of International Humanitarian Law : Current and Inherent Challenges. In: Yearbook of international humanitarian law, 2007, vol. 10, p. 45–73. doi: 10.1017/S1389135906000459
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Article (Accepted version)
ISSN of the journal1389-1359

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