Non-International Armed Conflict

Transatlantic Dialogue on Int'l Law and Armed Conflict: Verdirame on Theory, Human Rights, and Conflict

By Robert Chesney
Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 6:20 PM

The newest installment in the Transatlantic Dialogue series is now posted at ICRC's Intercross blog. It is from Professor Guglielmo Verdirame, and it addresses the larger implications of IHRL's expansion into the armed conflict setting, including implications for matters of theory. A preview:

The relationship between theory and practice in international law eludes easy explanations. In the history of international law there are examples of ideas shaping practice. But at times the phenomenon of international law – with its complex mix of state practice, adjudication and politics – finds directions not foreseen by any theory.

The application of human rights law to armed conflict may be a case in point. It emerged over the last two decades from the decisions of international and domestic courts without being preceded by a reflection – by jurists, policy-makers or others – on how human rights could contribute to regulating armed conflict. Can this development be accommodated within the system of international law or does it in some way challenge its architecture?