Year in Review
2010 was characterised by incidents that raised age-old questions pertaining to IHL, albeit in different guises. The increase in the use of unmanned weapon systems, or drones, triggered heated debate on the interplay between jus ad bellum and jus in bello as well as between IHR and IHL. This raised a host of further questions including: under what conditions does IHL come into operation? Which normative regime—international or non-international—governs the particular armed engagement? And, what is the geographical scope of IHL? As the armed conflict in Afghanistan continued into its tenth year, questions continued to surface on the characterisation of the conflicts and the different legal regimes that may apply concurrently in complex multi-national operations. In particular, the scope and applicability of IHR in armed conflict has continued to generate debate not least in respect of the conduct of hostilities and detention. During the first half of the year, international pressure on Israel mounted as the humanitarian situation in Gaza deteriorated, in part as a consequence of Israel’s blockade. But it was the Mavi Marmara Incident in May which galvanised the legal community to re-examine the nature of the conflict and to ask, once more, what legal regime and rules apply in the hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Amidst the armed conflicts that continue to be waged on the DRC’s territory and the endemic sexual violence against women for which the DRC has become notorious, the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights released a Mapping Report documenting the most serious violations of IHR and IHL perpetrated during the armed conflicts that raged in the Congo between 1993 and 2003. The Mapping Report serves both as a poignant reminder of the progress that has been made since the maxim inter arma enim silent leges was popularised but also of the huge challenges that confront the international community.
KeywordsSexual Violence Security Council Rome Statute Central African Republic Gaza Strip
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