ATHA Podcast on Implications of Applying IHL to Low-Intensity Conflict

About the author(s):

Katharine Fortin

Katharine Fortin is an Associate Professor at Utrecht University where she teaches IHL and IHRL. Before joining Utrecht University, she worked at the ICTY, ICC and Norton Rose Fulbright. She is the author of The Accountability of Armed Groups under Human Rights Law (Oxford University Press, 2017) which won the 2018 Lieber Prize. She has written widely about the framework of law that applies to armed groups in non-international armed conflicts and is one of the editors of the Armed Groups and International Law blog.

This month’s Humanitarian Assistance Podcast produced by the Advanced Training Program on Humanitarian Action (ATHA) is called “From Internal Disturbance to Armed Conflict: Implications of Applying IHL to Low-Intensity Conflict“. It features, Jann Kleffner, Professor of International Law and Head of the International Law Centre at the Swedish Defence University, Armando Meneses Larios, National Autonomous University of Mexico and Giovanni Bassu, Regional Deputy Representative (Protection) from the UNHCR

Humanitarian actors increasingly find themselves in contexts where the application of the norms and concepts of international humanitarian law (IHL) is contested. In particular, those working in possible situations of non-international armed conflict are often faced with the fact that it can be far from clear whether or not there exists a situation of armed conflict, which is required for the application of IHL. Especially in cases of armed insurgencies, spill-over conflicts, riots, urban violence, or violence in fragile states, the application of IHL may be disputed, resulting in a lack of clarity as to the applicable norms, and the obligations parties have with regard to the use of lethal force, the protection of civilians, detention practices, and other issues.

The qualification of armed violence, and the resulting potential application of IHL raise a number of important questions for humanitarian actors, from both a factual, legal and policy perspective. In conversations with key experts and practitioners, this podcast will examine legal and policy considerations with regards to ‘low level’ armed violence and the strategic importance of application or non application of IHL in such contexts.

The podcast can be listened to here:

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