Human Rights Law Applicable to ICA Weapons and Riot Control Agents

  • Michael Crowley
Part of the Global Issues Series book series (GLOISS)


Although human rights law does not specifically address the use of discrete arms or security equipment, it is certainly of great relevance to the employment of such weapons, as it regulates the use of force by law enforcement officials and other agents of the State. An important strength of international human rights law (IHRL) is its applicability in a broad range of circumstances where use of ICA weapons or RCAs might be considered. The International Court of Justice has affirmed that human rights law continues to apply in situations to which IHL is applicable,1 whilst the UN Human Rights Committee has stated that, in situations of armed conflict, “both spheres of law are complementary, not mutually exclusive”.2 Thus, IHRL would be applicable to domestic policing operations, to non-international conflicts, whether or not the State recognized it as such, and to those aspects of an international conflict occurring in national territory. The importance of this breadth of coverage has been highlighted by Hampson, who has noted that “States frequently refuse to characterize an internal armed conflict as such, preferring to call it criminal or terrorist activity. In such a situation, they can hardly challenge the applicability of human rights law.”3


Special Rapporteur Degrading Treatment Lethal Injection Lethal Force Pepper Spray 
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© Michael Crowley 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Crowley
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BradfordUK

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