Breaking Imaginary Barriers

Obligations of Armed Non-State Actors Under General Human Rights Law – the Case of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child

in Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
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This paper seeks to clarify the confusions regarding the relationships between international human rights law and international humanitarian law, the principle of equality of belligerents, and the use of the term “should” in treaties. For this purpose, it examines, as a case study, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, on which doctrine is divided whether Article 4(1) thereof is binding on armed non-State actors. First, this paper reconceptualizes international humanitarian law as a subset of international human rights law, which share the same purpose, mutually reinforce, and depend on each other. Second, drawing on the customary rules of treaty interpretation under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and through a comprehensive analysis of the authentic texts in other languages and the travaux préparatoires, it argues that the term “should” in the operative part of treaties always creates legally binding obligations and that the equality principle does not strictly apply to norms applicable during peacetime. As such, despite its use of “should” and differential treatment between States and armed non-State actors, Article 4(1) of the Protocol creates a direct human rights obligation on armed non-State actors.

Breaking Imaginary Barriers

Obligations of Armed Non-State Actors Under General Human Rights Law – the Case of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child

in Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies

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References

9

Henckaerts and Wiesenersupra note 3 at 147.

11

Henckaerts and Wiesenersupra note 3 at 148.

19

Hellesupra note 17 at 801.

35

Angsupra note 33 paras. 58–64.

38

Hellesupra note 17 at 801.

43

Henckaerts and Wiesenersupra note 3 at 151.

44

Brettsupra note 17 para. 1.

48

Vandewielesupra note 17 para. 56.

49

Happoldsupra note 37 at 226.

59

Coomaraswamysupra note 15 at 539.

66

R. Brettsupra note 17 para. 1.

68

Angsupra note 33 para. 16.

69

Dörr and Schmalenbachsupra note 67 at 543.

74

Vandewielesupra note 17 paras. 61 and 63.

77

Cullensupra note 15 at 118.

82

Dörr and Schmalenbachsupra note 67 at 544. See also Judgment Dispute Regarding Navigational and Related Rights (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)icj 2009 paras. 77–79 and 84.

85

Claphamsupra note 15 at 75. Note however that this is a minority opinion.

94

Claphamsupra note 15 at 75.

116

Detricksupra note 107 at 377–390. The French text employs a strong word “doivent”.

146

Condonsupra note 143 at 195.

185

Claphamsupra note 15 at 75.

194

Hellesupra note 17 at 801.

197

Coomaraswamysupra note 15 at 541.

200

Claphamsupra note 15 at 75.

206

A/67/256 6 August 2012para. 20.

209

Bellal Giacca and Casey-Maslen.supra note 15 at 669.

213

Claphamsupra note 16 at 296.

214

Up to 2003“the Special Representative has received some 60 commitments”: A/58/328 29 August 2003 para. 21. Another commitment in 2006: A/61/275 17 August 2006 para. 21. Two more in 2007: A/62/228 13 August 2007 paras. 17 and 20. Another commitment in 2008: A/hrc/9/3 27 June 2008 para. 35. Three more in 2009: A/hrc/12/49 30 July 2009 para. 18. Four more in 2010: A/hrc/15/58 3 September 2010 para. 29. Two more in 2011 A/65/820–S/2011/250 23 April 2011 para. 6. Three more in 2012 A/hrc/21/38 28 June 2012 para. 16.

216

Claphamsupra note 212 at 33.

217

Gazagnesupra note 51 at 248.

219

Chetailsupra note 23 at 701.

220

Chetailsupra note 184 at 22.

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