Comparing Experiences: Engaging States and Non-State Armed Groups on International Humanitarian Law

In: The Companion to International Humanitarian Law

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The genesis of this contribution was a conversation between the authors when they were working respectively as point persons for training State armed forces with the ICRC (Andrew) and non-State armed forces with Geneva Call (Jonathan). When discussing the barriers to IHL compliance buy-in by each type of armed actor, Andrew mentioned that his audience regularly points the finger at non-State armed groups (NSAGs) as the principal perpetrators of IHL violations – to which Jonathan replied that his audience points the finger in precisely the opposite direction. With that revelation, a seed was planted to pursue the conversation. The opportunity to do so was presented when University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and the Canadian Red Cross hosted a 2017 IHL conference entitled Order in Chaos: the Evolution of Law Governing Armed Conflict. The discussion, upon which this contribution is based, was moderated by Carmen Cheung, Professor of Global Practice at the Munk School.