The vast majority of armed conflicts today are not “traditional” inter-State confrontations but are rather of a non-international character. Furthermore, armed conflicts have become more complex – with some involving dozens or even hundreds of different armed groups, as well as varying levels of involvement and influence of other actors – resulting in greater challenges for the protection of civilians.
This workshop provides an in-depth analysis of the norms applicable in non-international armed conflicts, with a primary focus on IHL, in light of the most salient contemporary issues for the protection of civilians. In particular, it is designed to review the logic and development of the law of non-international armed conflict while addressing the on-going debates in its application on the basis of the key legal and practical differences with the law of international armed conflict.
Through examination of cases based on current complex emergency contexts, the workshop explores specific questions humanitarian professionals face, from the central notions of ‘civilian’ and ‘direct participation in hostilities’ to urban warfare, access issues, and humanitarian engagement with armed actors. Ultimately, it is designed to strengthen the capacity of practitioners to more effectively address protection of civilians concerns in non-international armed conflicts through a deeper understanding of existing norms and their interpretation and application in practice.