Leopold Adejoby Benito-Idjidina posted an update 4 years, 3 months ago
ASSIGNMENT – 7
1. What is the difference between the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols in terms of application?
The main difference is the type of conflict involved. Indeed, the four Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I apply to international armed conflicts which oppose at least two or more states, while Article 3 common to all the four Geneva Conventions and Protocol II lay down the rules that must be observed by parties to a non-international armed conflict (internal conflict). It is immaterial whether or not a declaration of war has been made or whether the parties to the conflict have recognized that there is a state of war. The only thing required for humanitarian law to become applicable is the fact of an international armed conflict.
Geneva Conventions, which are universally ratified are automatically applicable if an international armed conflict occurs. It is not necessary that a declaration of war has been made. Besides, even if the parties to the conflict haven’t recognized that there is a state of war, the Geneva Conventions are automatically applicable only because of the existence of an international armed conflict.
The Additional Protocol I, further expands the categories of protected persons and contains rules on the conduct of hostilities. This Protocol also enlarges the definition of international armed conflict to integrate armed conflicts in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of self-determination.
The article 3, which is common to all four Geneva Conventions, is said to constitute a “mini-Convention” in itself. It lays down the rules that must be respected by all parties to an international armed conflict, as well as all parties to an internal armed conflict, whether the warring parties are government forces fighting with insurgents or rebel groups fighting among themselves.
The Additional Protocol II, requires that the internal armed conflict be one in which dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups, under responsible command and exercising control over a part of a country’s territory and government forces are fighting against each other within the border of a state.
2. What measures can be taken to strengthen the implementation of the four Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols by states parties to ensure the protection of victims of armed conflicts.
To ensure the protection of victims of armed conflicts, State parties which are not yet parties to the Additional Protocols must ratify these protocols and all the States must comply fully with IHL norms by first training all their defense forces, their internal security forces, their civil servants and their secret services agents. States can also translate IHL conventional and customary norms into their local languages so as to touch a large number of citizens over the world. Besides, States must also plan to train its civilian population, so that IHL be largely popularized and known by a great number of people. States in war, must in cooperation with ICRC also invite the armed groups to comply with IHL norms by all the parties to an armed conflict with their obligations under international humanitarian law to better protect and assist the civilian population and other victims. In addition, States can contribute to the enactment of supportive policies, development of constitutional and legal frameworks, capacity-building, and ratification of relevant international conventions. States must also through dialogue among them, and with ICRC and other relevant actors enhance the IHL implementation mechanism so as to reinforce the protection of victims of armed conflicts. Thus, it was vital that all States acceded to the Rome Statute and that States supported and cooperated with the Court.