Human Rights in Armed Conflict: Ten Years of Affirmative State Practice within United Nations Resolutions

In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
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  • 1 Teaching Assistant at Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Ilia-maria.siatitsa@geneva-academy.ch
  • 2 PhD Researcher at the European University Institute (EUI)

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The debate concerning the interrelation of international human rights law and international humanitarian law is certainly not new within the relevant academic circles. Nevertheless, a comprehensive study of recent State practice in the UN political bodies, that puts the opposition to the applicability of human rights to a real test, adds a new and rather intriguing twist to the matter. It appears that the statements of governments arguing for the exclusive application of international humanitarian law in armed conflicts are not always supported by their own practice within the UN political bodies. The present article explores the potential influence and importance of this observation for bridging the possible gaps between these two bodies of international law. It further identifies a number of interesting trends in the application of specific human rights norms in armed conflicts.

  • 20

    HRC Res. 12/5, 1 October 2009. Similarly, Question of the violation of human rights in: The occupied Arab territories, including Palestine, CHR Res. 60/10, 15 April 2004; Situation of human rights in Iraq, GA Res. 57/232, 18 December 2002; Situation of Human Rights in Sudan, GA Res. 57/230, 18 December 2002.

  • 23

    GA Res. 61/154, 19 December 2006, Opp 4.

  • 25

    GA Res. 64/91, 10 December 2009, Prp 7; Similar statements can be found inter alia, Situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, GA Res. 57/233, 18 December 2002, Opp 2 (a); Situation of human rights in Iraq, GA Res. 57/232, 18 December 2002, Opp 4 (a); Situation of Human Rights in Sudan, GA Res. 57/230, 18 December 2002, Opp 3 (b), and others.

  • 27

    GA Res. 64/185, 10 December 2009, Prp 7 (emphasis added).

  • 28

    SC Res. 1738, 23 December 2006, Opp 9. See also GA resolutions on Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and on the Rights of the Child, respectively: GA Res. 63/182, 18 December 2008, Prp 6 and GA Res. 63/241, 24 December 2008, Opp 55(g).

  • 29

    GA Res. 63/183, 18 December 2008, Prp 5.

  • 31

    The situation in Chad, SC Res. 1923, 25 May 2010.

  • 37

    GA Res. 64/94, 10 December 2009, Opp 2 (emphasis added). See also GA Res. 63/98, 5 December 2008, Opp 2; GA Res. 62/109, 17 December 2007, Opp 7.

  • 44

    GA Res. 57/232, 18 December 2002, Opp 4 (a); GA Res. 56/174, 19 December 2001, Opp 3 (a); GA Res. 55/115, 4 December 2000, Opp 3 (a) (emphasis added).

  • 45

    GA Res. 57/232, 18 December 2002, Opp 5 (a); GA Res. 56/174, 19 December 2001, Opp 4 (a); GA Res. 55/115, 4 December 2000, Opp 4 (a) (emphasis added).

  • 46

    SC Res. 1790, 18 December 2007, Prp 19.

  • 55

    N. Lubell, supra note 52; R. Kolb and S. Vité, Le droit de l’occupation militaire, Perspectives historiques et enjeux juridiques actuels, Bruylant, Bruxelles, 2009.

  • 58

    HRC Res. 7/28, 28 March 2008, Opp 2-6; GA Res. 63/183, 18 December 2008.

  • 63

    SC Res. 1906, 23 December 2009, Opp 17 (emphasis added).

  • 67

    SC Res. 1906, 23 December 2009, Opp 10 (emphasis added).

  • 68

    SC Res. 1344, 15 March 2001.

  • 69

    GA Res. 61/154, 19 December 2006.

  • 70

    SC Res. 1906, 23 December 2009, Opp 17 and 22. Only one other resolution of HRC can be compared to it but this resolution referred to an occupying situation. ‘Recognizing that the Israeli military attacks and operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have caused severe violations of international humanitarian law and of the human rights of the Palestinian people (…)’, HRC Res. 7/1, 6 March 2008, Prp 5 (emphasis added).

  • 75

    GA Res. 64/238, 24 December 2009, Opp 23; GA Res. 63/245, 24 December 2008, Opp 5(h). Contrary to the GA, the HRC does not refer to an internal armed conflict in its resolution concerning the situation of Human Rights in Myanmar. It makes reference to the problems that exist but no reference to conflict. (HRC Res. 10/27, 27 March 2009).

  • 79

    SC Res. 1868, 23 March 2009, Opp 15-16.

  • 81

    SC Res. 1890, 8 October 2009, Prp 18; SC Res. 1868, 23 March 2009, Opp 16, 24 and 28-29 (all on the situation in Afghanistan); SC Res. 1865, 27 January 2009, Opp 11-12, (on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire).

  • 87

    CHR Res. 58/38, 22 April 2002, Opp 4-6 and 14.

  • 89

    CHR Res. 58/38, 22 April 2002, Opp 9.

  • 99

    CHR Res. 57/14, 18 April 2001, Opp 2 (d).

  • 100

    SC Res. 1906, 23 December 2009, Prp 8.

  • 102

    CHR Res. 56/31, 20 April 2000, Opp 8.

  • 103

    CHR Res. 61/34, 19 April 2005, Opp 4; Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, GA Res. 63/182, 18 December 2008, Opp 3.

  • 106

    SC Res. 1917, 22 March 2010, Opp 3; SC Res. 1868, 23 March 2009, Opp 29.

  • 107

    HRC Res. 6/19, 28 September 2007, Opp 1.

  • 108

    SC Res. 1881, 30 July 2009, Opp 4; SC Res. 1706, 31 August 2006, Prp 8.

  • 109

    SC Res. 1865, 27 January 2009, Prp 12.

  • 110

    SC Res. 1795, 15 January 2008, Opp 11.

  • 111

    SC Res. 1917, 22 March 2010, Opp 34; GA Res. 64/11, 9 November 2009, Opp 36.

  • 113

    SC Res. 1565, 1 October 2004, Opp 17.

  • 117

    CHR Res. 61/66, 20 April 2005, Prp 13.

  • 118

    HRC Res. 13/5, 24 March 2010, Opp 4.

  • 119

    HRC Res. 13/8, 24 March 2010, Opp 4-5; HRC Res. 10/19, 26 March 2009, Opp 3; GA Res. 63/98, 5 December 2008, Prp 2.

  • 121

    CHR Res. 61/7, 14 April 2005, Prp 5; GA Res. 63/98, 5 December 2008, Opp 9.

  • 124

    GA Res. 64/10, 5 November 2009, Opp 3 and 4 (emphasis added).

  • 128

    GA Res. 63/182, 18 December 2008, Opp 3.

  • 129

    GA Res. 64/238, 24 December 2009, Opp 7; CHR Res. 58/38, 22 April 2002.

  • 130

    CHR Res. 58/36, 22 April 2002, Opp 5.

  • 131

    HRC Res. 10/24, 26 March 2009, Opp 7.

  • 139

    SC Res. 1889, 5 October 2009; SC Res. 1820, 19 June 2008. See also RULAC-Geneva Academy Study, supra note 11. The issue of violence against women is also touched upon by the HRC. In 2008 it adopted a thematic resolution on Elimination of violence against women (HRC Res. 7/24, 28 March 2008). It does not make a distinction between peacetime and wartime situations.

  • 142

    SC Res. 1648, 21 December 2005. One of the first resolutions that addresses the issue is: SC Res. 1436, 24 September 2002, Opp 15. The pattern paragraph appears more rarely after 2007.

  • 143

    SC Res. 1949, 23 November 2010, Opp 19. This sentence encompasses more holistically the issue of participation of women in the operations, including the issue of sexual abuses. It is a much more human rights friendly approach. It also shows how the issues are elaborated upon as the years pass. We have to wait to see if this sentence will become a new pattern in resolutions. Unfortunately, in the new Thematic resolution on Women and Peace and Security, the SC reproduces the old language on zero tolerance policy (SC Res. 1960, 16 December 2010, Opp 16).

  • 148

    HRC Res. 10/19, 26 March 2009, Opp 5.

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