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The Notion of External NIACs: Reconsidering the Intensity Threshold in Light of Contemporary Armed Conflicts

  • Samit D’Cunha
Chapter
Part of the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law book series (YIHL, volume 20)

Abstract

The growing capacity of armed groups to project their influence transnationally has fundamentally changed the nature of what we consider non-international armed conflicts (NIACs). However, in several instances, the classification of situations of violence between states and transnational armed groups does not neatly fit within the conventional framework for classifying conflicts under international humanitarian law (IHL). As a result, it has become important to reconsider how we classify armed conflicts to ensure that those affected by these situations of violence are able to avail themselves of the humanitarian protections to which they are entitled under international law. Indeed, the extent to which IHL applies to these situations of violence has emerged as one of the most highly contested issues concerning the law regulating armed conflict, in part because the unique characteristics of these situations often fail to overcome the high-threshold requirements of the Tadić test. In the wake of these situations of violence, this chapter considers the wisdom of maintaining a universal high-intensity threshold for NIACs and, while recognizing the great value of the Tadić test, proposes a slightly different test for the classification of the sort of conflicts contemplated herein. In reaching this conclusion, this chapter also considers the extraterritorial application of human rights law, the application of IHL as a matter of policy or custom, and the history and purpose of the Tadić test itself.

Keywords

Tadić Intensity Terrorism Non-international armed conflict NIAC War on Terror Threshold 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank my classmate, colleague, and partner, Sabrina Henry, for her assistance in the writing of this work. I would also like to thank Jonathan Somer, Legal Adviser, IHL, at the Danish Red Cross, for his helpful insights and revisions.

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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser press and the authors 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Canadian Red CrossOttawaCanada

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