22 November 2018
Our Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC) online portal provides a detailed analysis and legal classification of the multiple non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) that are taking place in Myanmar between the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) and several Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs), as well as between various EAOs.
Visitors can discover an overview of these conflicts, recent developments, the factual and methodological basis for their classification as NIACs, parties to these conflicts, and the applicable international law.
‘EAOs are armed non-state actors affiliated to ethnic groups. They are the military wings of political movements that seek autonomy and recognition of their right notably in Kachin, Shan, and Rakhine states’ underlines Dr Chiara Redaelli, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy.
The RULAC database is unique in the world in that it legally classifies situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict – international or non-international – under international humanitarian law (IHL).
‘This is crucial because IHL applies only in armed conflicts. Before humanitarian players, civil servants or academics can invoke IHL or analyze whether IHL was violated, they must know whether it applies. Outside armed conflicts, only international human rights law applies’ underlines Marco Sassòli, Director of the Geneva Academy.
‘We use the following two criteria to assess whether a situation of armed violence amounts to a NIAC under IHL: on one hand, the level of armed violence must reach a certain degree of intensity that goes beyond internal disturbances and tensions, and, on the other at least one side to the conflict must be a non-state armed group that exhibits a certain level of organization’ explains Dr Chiara Redaelli.
The Myanmar entry on RULAC provides a detailed analysis of the intensity of armed violence and EAOs’ level of organization in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states, including recent developments.
‘On that basis, we concludes that the Myanmar Armed Forces are involved in a multitude of NIACs in these three states, notably against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), the Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N), and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA)’ underlines Dr Chiara Redaelli.
Besides these NIACs, RULAC also concludes that a parallel NIAC is taking place between the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in Kachin and Shan states.
Initiated in 2007, RULAC is an online portal that systematically qualifies situations of armed violence using the definition of armed conflict under IHL. While RULAC is still under development and new entries continue to be regularly added, it currently monitors more than 26 armed conflicts involving at least 39 states that visitors can discover either by browsing the map or by browsing conflicts by type or region.
Vance Culbert is a senior development and humanitarian professional who has managed operations for NGOs and UN agencies over the past twenty years. He just started as a Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy and will stay with us until the end of October.
Giada Rubino follows our online Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict while working as a Human Rights Associate at OHCHR in Colombia.
This annual conference co-organized with the University of Essex provides a space for experts and practitioners, diplomats, academics, young scholars and civil society representatives to discuss contemporary legal issues in armed conflict.
This online short course will examine the sources of international humanitarian law (IHL), as well as the threshold criteria for its applicability in an armed conflict
This online short course focuses on the role of public international law in international relations and on international legal persons.
This project will develop guidance to inform security, human rights and environmental debates on the linkages between environmental rights and conflict, and how their better management can serve as a tool in conflict prevention, resilience and early warning.
The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.