13 November 2020
Cameroon is engaged in a non-international armed conflict (NIAC) against Boko Haram in the Far North region.
Boko Haram has been present in Cameroon since 2009. Following armed confrontations between fighters and Nigerian security forces in Maiduguri, a number of fighters crossed the border and sought refuge in Cameroon’s Far North region. Over the following years, Boko Haram’s presence in Cameroon evolved dramatically. While at first, the armed group was rather passive, it started recruiting Cameroonians as fighters between 2011 and 2013 and used the Far North region as a safe haven.
The first armed confrontation registered between the armed group and state armed forces took place in March 2014. Between 2014 and 2016, Boko Haram started carrying out attacks against the armed forces and the civilian population, focusing in particular on abductions and kidnapping of foreigners and suicide bombing.
While the intensity of violence has diminished but it has not ceased in 2016 and 2017, fighting increased again in 2018 and has continued since then.
‘Both the intensity of the armed violence opposing the Cameroon armed forces and Boko Haram, as well as the level of organization of Boko Haram in Cameroon, allow us to conclude to the existence of a NIAC’ underlines Dr Chiara Redaelli, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy.
In a worrying development, vigilante groups have emerged to fight against Boko Haram in the Far North.
‘Our analysis – developed on our RULAC online portal – does not allow us to conclude that vigilante groups are a party to the conflict because they do not meet the organization requirement’ explains Dr Chiara Redaelli.
Since late 2017, Cameroon’s armed forces, including an elite combat unit Rapid Intervention Battalion (RIB), have been involved in armed confrontations against a number of Anglophone separatist groups operating in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, in particular the Ambazonia Governing Council (AGC) and its military wing (the Ambazonia Defense Forces, ADF) and the Interim Government of Ambazonia (IG) and its military wing (the Ambazonia Self-Defence Council, ASC).
‘While confrontations have increased since 2017, both the level of armed violence as well as the level of organization of the separatist groups do not meet the threshold required by IHL to consider this situation as a NIAC’ says Dr Chiara Redaelli.
In addition to the ongoing non-international armed conflict (NIAC) that opposes Ethiopia to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, our RULAC online portal just classified a parallel NIAC between Ethiopia and the Oromo Liberation Army.
The Geneva Academy PhD Forum is a space that gathers PhD researchers and experts – in Geneva and beyond – who work in the scientific focus area of the Geneva Academy.
This IHL Talk will address today's place of nuclear weapons, including their humanitarian impact, the impact of technological advancements, the relevance of the deterrence narrative and implications on the international legal framework.
At this book launch, one of the book’s editors will discuss cultural heritage and mass atrocities with contributors to the book and specialists.
This online short course discusses the protection offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) and addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.
This online short course focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.
UN Photo/Violaine Martin
The IHL-EP works to strengthen the capacity of human rights mechanisms to incorporate IHL into their work in an efficacious and comprehensive manner. By so doing, it aims to address the normative and practical challenges that human rights bodies encounter when dealing with cases in which IHL applies.
This project aimed at compiling and analysing the practice and interpretation of selected international humanitarian law and human rights norms by armed non-state actors (ANSAs). It had a pragmatic double objective: first, to offer a comparative analysis of IHL and human rights norms from the perspective of ANSAs, and second, to inform strategies of humanitarian engagement with ANSAs, in particular the content of a possible ‘Model Code of Conduct’.