The Use of Human Shields in International Armed Conflicts

Dangerous and invisible: A little boy stands on a military pickup outside the Daymarudi camp just outside Mogadishu. (Photo: REUTERS)
Dangerous and invisible: A little boy stands on a military pickup outside the Daymarudi camp just outside Mogadishu. (Photo: REUTERS)

Author: Irnela Silnović - Edited by: Michael R. Zieniewicz and Giacomo Toffanello

Discrimination has a special place in International Humanitarian Law; unfortunately, though, the determination of whether a person is a combatant or a civilian, crucial to understand his targetability under the Laws of Armed Conflict, is not always clear. Moreover, the use of human shields makes the situation even blurrier. Civilian life is to be spared whenever possible, making the judgement difficult of whether attacking a military goal is legal when shielded by a civilian. In this legal analysis Irnela Silnović, Master student in International Security and Law, seeks to investigate the legal status of human shields and whether human shields should merely be seen as collateral damage in an armed conflict.

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Can Peace be achieved with Military Interventions?

Norwegian Peacekeeping forces relax during an inspection (Photo: Forsvarets Mediesenter/Taral Jensen)
Norwegian Peacekeeping forces relax during an inspection (Photo: Forsvarets Mediesenter/Taral Jensen)

Author: Annika Borgert - Edited by: Giacomo Toffanello and Michael R. Zieniewicz

“Si vis pacem, para bellum” can be freely translated as If you want peace, prepare for war. Maintaining or even encountering peace by the use of military means is, hence, no idea deriving from the comparably modern times of the past few centuries. But can peace be achieved with military interventions? Is the literal act of fighting for peace more than hypocrisy but a necessity instead? In this essay Annika Borgert, a Master’s Student in International Security and Law, will provide us with a comprehensive analysis on the subject.

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The legality of Barrel Bombs: A short analysis

Deadly Blasts Rip Through Aleppo, Syria (by Robert Riches on November 14, 2012 via The Loquitur)

Author: Johannes Sender

The topic of specific weapons, not being weapons of mass destruction, get little coverage in popular media. In the past years, especially under the influence of the on-going civil war in Syria, one kind of weapon appears more regularly in international media: the so-called barrel bombs, often used by the Syrian armed forces of Bashar Hafez al-Assad. This article written by Johannes Sender, Master’s Student in International Security and Law,  will provide a short analysis of barrel bombs under International Humanitarian Law (IHL), including what has to be considered for a potential legal or illegal use.

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