Non-International Armed Conflicts Added to our RULAC Online Database

Map of the Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Online Portal with non-international armed conflicts Map of the Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Online Portal with non-international armed conflicts

Our Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC) online database features new non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) that are taking place in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Somalia.

It provides, for each conflict, the factual and methodological basis for its classification and identifies the parties and the applicable international law. Visitors can discover these new NIACs either by browsing the map or by browsing conflicts by type or region.

‘While sometimes the parties to the conflict change, for example when new non-state armed groups emerge, these conflicts have been going on for years with a devastating impact on the civilian population’ under lines Dr Sandra Krähenmann, Research fellow at the Geneva Academy. ‘In Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the U.S. also operates its controversial drone strikes. Some of the drone strikes, but not necessarily all of them, are linked to the on-going non-international armed conflicts’ she adds.

RULAC is still under development and new entries continue to be regularly added.

Afghanistan

For decades, Afghanistan has been mired in conflict. Supported by the United States, the Afghan government continues to fight against the Taliban and other armed groups, including the newly established Khorasan Branch of the group that calls itself Islamic State.

India

The Indian Government is involved in a NIAC against the Communist Party of India – Maoist, a non-state armed group. This group is also frequently referred to as the Naxalites.

Pakistan

The government of Pakistan is involved in NIACs with various armed groups acting throughout its territory, particularly Taliban-affiliated groups in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and independence fighters in Balochistan.

Somalia

The Somali government is engaged in a NIAC on its territory against non-state armed groups, most notably al-Shabaab. It is supported by the African Union Mission in Somalia and the United States of America.

A Collaboration with the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex

Our RULAC project is supported by students from the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex. Some of the new conflict entries were drafted by students enrolled in the University of Essex’s LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, in accordance with the RULAC methodology. These were then revised and complemented by the Geneva Academy.

An Independent and Impartial Assessment

While there are many different definitions of armed conflict used for different purposes, the question whether a situation of armed violence amounts to an armed conflict under IHL has important consequences. States involved in armed conflicts have rights and duties that do not exist in times of peace.

The classification of situations of armed violence is fraught with difficulties. Many states deny that they are involved in armed conflicts, arguing instead that they are engaged in counter-terrorism operations. Others apply IHL to situations that do not amount to an armed conflict. Moreover, contemporary armed conflicts are increasingly complex due to the multitude of state and non-state parties involved.
Based on open source information, RULAC provides an independent and impartial assessment that identifies situations of armed conflict under IHL. It is intended to assist other actors that may want to classify situations of armed violence for their purposes.

By making such information available to a broad, non-specialist audience, including by using visual tools, the RULAC project strives to promote a more coherent approach classifying conflicts, and, ultimately, to foster implementation of the applicable legal framework, a key element for accountability and the protection of victims.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Destroyed Building during the 2008 War News

Georgia-Abkhazia: The Predominance of Irreconcilable Positions

19 October 2018

The War Report article Georgia-Abkhazia: The Predominance of Irreconcilable Positions presents an overview of the Georgia-Abkhaz conflict, its humanitarian implications, as well as the main actors involved.

Read more

Central African Republic, Bangui. Soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Congo patrol the Multinational Force of Central African States - News

The Non-International Armed Conflicts in the Central African Republic Added to our RULAC Online Portal

15 October 2018

We have now added to our Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC) online portal a detailed analysis and legal classification of the non-international armed conflicts that take place in the Central African Republic since December 2012.

Read more

Colombia, 2010: Mountains in the Valle del Cauca region, between Santander de Quilichao et Popayan. FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) combattants walking next to native houses. Military Briefings

Landmines and Other Explosive Devices: From a Tactic of War to a Threat to Peace

20 November 2018, 18:30-20:00

In this Military Briefing, co-organized with Geneva Call, panelists will discuss the operational challenges and opportunities of turning guerrillas into deminers.

Read more

Short Course

The Law of Non-International Armed Conflicts

15-29 March 2019

This 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.

Read more

ICC Trial Chamber VIII declares Mr Al Mahdi guilty of the war crime of attacking historic and religious buildings in Timbuktu and sentences him to nine years’ imprisonment Project

Modes of Liability for International Crimes

Started in January 2015

This project intends to clarify the conditions of accountability for international crimes by providing a detailed assessment of the customary international law status of, in particular, the actus reus and mens rea elements of modes of liability: planning, instigating, conspiracy, direct and indirect perpetration, co-perpetration, the three forms of joint criminal enterprise, the doctrine of common purpose under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, command responsibility and aiding and abetting.

Read more

Syria, Aleppo, Sheikh Massoud neighbourhood, near the frontline. Fighters of the Free Syrian Army. Project

‘Foreign Fighters’ and Counter-Terrorism

Completed in January 2014

Against the background of the mobilization of ‘foreign fighters’ for the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, the Geneva Academy undertook various research projects to highlight and clarify a range of international law issues that arise through their participation and measures taken to stem their mobilization.

Read more