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Displacement of civilians as a war crime other than a violation of common Article 3 in internal armed conflicts

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Chapter Summary

The displacement of civilians has become a relatively common feature of modern internal armed conflict. It is therefore important to distinguish lawful acts of displacement, from unlawful. The ICTY, for example, has discussed the issue of ethnic cleansing, including sexual assaults as ethnic cleansing in an effort to displace civilians. The war crime of displacement of civilians in internal armed conflicts is also distinct from deportation or forcible transfer as a crime against humanity. In the context of both crimes, deportation or forcible transfer is prohibited in areas under control of a party or in situations of combat, provided that the acts are part of a widespread or systematic attack against the civilian population, and are not otherwise justified under the laws of war.

Keywords: civilians; internal armed conflicts; war crime



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