Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law

Article

Certain Factors Influencing Compliance with International Humanitarian Law

Keywords implementation of international humanitarian law, compliance measures and mechanisms, enforcement of international humanitarian law, non-state actors, individual criminal responsibility
Authors Réka Varga
Author's information

364471 Réka Varga
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; Member of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.
  • Abstract

      There are various mechanisms within and outside the sphere of international humanitarian law (IHL) which contribute to a better application, respect and enforcement of its rules. The present study takes stock of specific factors or mechanisms that may have an effect on better respect. This analysis attempts to demonstrate that even though states could not agree on the setting up of a permanent mechanism to meet regularly and discuss IHLrelated issues (the so-called Compliance process), there are certain instruments which could lead to similar result. The UN’s role with respect to IHL is examined. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is also briefly analyzed from this perspective, bearing in mind the international politics within which it has to function. The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) that has successfully completed its first mandate is a string of hope if more frequently used. Soft law documents are filling a void caused by the fatigue of states in adopting new rules, at the same time they start to have a similarly binding effect as legally binding obligations. All these factors become especially interesting if we understand that most conflicts today are fought with the involvement of non-state armed groups who are not involved in law-making. This reality gives training, both within state and non-state armed forces a special significance. States should also make efforts to undertake enquiries in cases of serious violations of IHL, as well as through exercising jurisdiction to repress violations, be they their own nationals or not.

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