9 June 2020
Due to the ongoing airstrikes by Turkey against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq – carried out without the consent of the Iraqi government – there has been an international armed conflict (IAC) between Turkey and Iraq since 2007.
The Turkish military operations in northern Iraq are an extension of the ongoing non-international armed conflict in Turkey between the Turkish armed and security forces and the PKK.
Our Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) online portal has been monitoring this IAC by providing an overview of the conflict, information about its classification as an IAC, the parties to the conflict, and applicable international law.
The RULAC entry on this conflict has been updated with an analysis of the situation and its evolution since the beginning of the conflict back in 2007, as well as developments in 2020 as the fighting continues in spite of COVID-19.
In 2020, Turkey has continued to conduct military operations against the PKK in Iraq, with notably two air strikes in March and April and a drone attack in April near the Makhmour refugee camp, leaving three civilian women dead.
The Turkish Defense Ministry affirmed that Turkey will continue its operations in the region ‘until the last terrorist is neutralized’.
While the Iraqi government has always condemned the Turkish airstrikes in its territory, there has been no explicit condemnation of Turkey’s operations since February 2019, which goes hand in hand with an improvement of the relations between the two countries.
‘The only exception is a summon issued by Iraq’s Ministry of Defense to the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad on 27 January 2019 and a request to end Ankara’s unilateral military action in relation to Turkish airstrikes on civilian areas on 23 and 25 January 2019’ explains Dr Chiara Redaelli, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy.
‘Overall, from the publicly available information and the rejection by Iraq of Turkey’s repeated incursion into its territory, the actions of Turkey trigger an IAC as defined under common Article 2 (1) of the Geneva Conventions. This being said, it should be noted that neither Turkey nor Iraq have publicly stated that they are involved in an IAC. In any case, this is not a condition for the existence of an IAC’ she adds.
Tim Freccia/Enough Project
Students of our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (2019-2020 academic year) dedicated their summer to the writing of their LLM papers – a key output of the programme.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Delegation in Armenia and the American University of Armenia are organizing for the third year a Regional Summer School on international humanitarian law (IHL). Scheduled to take place in Yerevan from 7-11 July 2020, it will take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This online IHL Talk aims at shining light on the various ways of promoting respect for and implementation of international humanitarian law.
This panel discussion marks the Launch of our New Research Initiative, carried out jointly by our Swiss IHL Chair Robin Geiß and the ICRC.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, will cover the ‘nuts and bolts’ of implementation, including national legislation, dissemination and training, and discuss the mechanisms such as the International Fact-Finding Commission, as set out in the treaties.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, looks at the sources from which public international law rules stem and at the entities that are empowered with the capacity of law-making in the international legal order. It aims at enabling participants to develop a global perception of the international normative system.
Via a new lecture series on disruptive military technologies, this project aims at staying abreast of the various military technology trends; promoting legal and policy debate on new military technologies; and furthering the understanding of the convergent effects of different technological trends shaping the digital battlefield of the future.
This project will explore humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these needs are addressed by international law, especially international humanitarian law.