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Implementing International Humanitarian Law: Old and New Ways

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Chapter Summary

The end of the 20th century was marked by a series of celebrations pertaining to human rights and humanitarian law. The beginning of the 21st century brought more realism: the United Nations Millennium listed what still needs to be done. 11 September shifted priorities of many countries from freedom to security. The legal mechanisms are provided in 1949 Geneva Conventions on the protection of war victims. The International Criminal Court is a milestone in the international community's fight to end impunity for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Increasingly, human rights mechanisms, on the international, regional and national level, deal with human rights as well as with international humanitarian law issues. As the ICRC survey conducted in 1999 for the 50th anniversary of 1949 Geneva Conventions demonstrated, the local spiritual values are often the only efficient, convincing factor, which motivate the compliance with humanitarian rules in warfare.

Keywords: Geneva conventions; human rights mechanisms; ICRC survey; international criminal court; international humanitarian law



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