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International humanitarian law and its implementation

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Chapter Summary

The Statute of the ICC entered in force too recently to enable us to provide any stock taking of any Courts action in the field of international humanitarian law. The provisions on war crimes are based on a negative definition. They are legally not more than the other side of the coin of the law of armed conflict; they are secondary or derived rules. The traditional law of warfare, as it existed for centuries in the era of so-called classical international law, was a law relating to armed conflicts between States. In some areas of the law the merger-tendency could not completely succeed. Thus, in the field of the grave breaches regime, the Geneva Conventions themselves require the existence of an international armed conflict. The question of the exhaustiveness of protection under the Geneva Conventions has always been a debated one.

Keywords: armed conflict; classical international law; Geneva Conventions; grave breaches; international humanitarian law; law of warfare



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