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Human Rights Obligations of Non-State Armed Groups: An Assessment Based on Recent Practice

  • Jean-Marie HenckaertsEmail author
  • Cornelius Wiesener
Chapter
  • 166 Downloads

Abstract

This chapter examines whether and to what extent non-State armed groups can be considered bound by human rights law. To that end, it contrasts the traditional State-centricity of human rights law with the legal framework of international humanitarian law, which applies to States as well as to armed groups. It examines the arguments put forward in favour and against the application of human rights law to non-state groups. Drawing on actual practice, in particular from international bodies, the chapter argues that such groups are at least bound by human rights law when they have control over territory, allowing them to exercise government-like functions. The precise origin of such obligations and exactly which human rights they would include requires further research. The existing human rights machinery and related bodies are ill-equipped to hold armed groups accountable for their human rights violations and provide victims with effective remedies. Hence, there is a need for further research and political will to close this accountability gap.

Keywords

Human Rights Humanitarian Law Armed Groups Territorial Control Protection Gap Accountability 

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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICRCGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.iCourts, KU JURCopenhagenDenmark

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