Violations of the Rules Applicable in Non-International Armed Conflicts and Their Possible Causes

The Case of Somalia


While all armed conflicts are marked by violations of international humanitarian law, non-international armed conflicts appear to be characterised by even more serious violations of international humanitarian law on a colossal scale. This study is aimed at understanding the possible factors that may cause parties to non-international armed conflicts to engage in violations despite the fact that not only international humanitarian law but also other bodies of rules (e.g. legal and moral) impose restrictions and obligations similar to international humanitarian law. Somalia, which for over two decaces has been experiencing internal armed conflicts marked by widespread violations, is a typical case.

This study addresses the root causes of the internal armed conflict in Somalia and identifies factors which contributed to the collapse of the Somali state and the reasons for its continuing conflict. It also examines the characteristics of the conflict. In order to examine the extent to which applicable rules have been respected or not, the study examines both international rules applicable in non-international armed conflicts and specific Somali rules of warfare. After demonstrating evidence of violations and analysing it, this study seeks to identify possible direct and indirect causes of these violations. In addition, it also seeks to identify whether such possible causes contribute to violations that are unique to the situation in Somalia, or, if not, whether there may be lessons to be learnt for other situations similar to that in Somalia.
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Biographical Note

Omar Abdulle Alasow holds a M.I.L from the University of Lund, Faculty of Law (Sweden), a LL.M from the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law (Finland) and a Ph.D from the University of Essex, School of Law (UK). He is an expert on Somalia and international humanitarian law based in the UK. He served as an independent legal advisor to former Somali Prime Ministers (July 2005-October 2007 and December 2007-February 2009). His current research interest includes international humanitarian law, human rights and constitutional law, international criminal law and transitional justice.

Table of contents

Excerpt of table of contents:
Acknowledgement; Table of Treaties and Other International Acts; Table of Cases;List of Abbreviations; Glossary;
Chapter One The Background and Root Causes of the Conflicts in Somalia;
Chapter Two Characteristics of Confl icts in Somalia;
Chapter Three Traditional Somali Customary Rules;
Chapter Four Rules of International Law Applicable to Non-International Armed Conflicts;
Chapter Five Evidence of Humanitarian Law Violations in Somalia;
Chapter Six Possible Causes of Violations of Humanitarian Rules;
Select Bibliography;Appendices;Index.


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