“The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is the Guardian of International Humanitarian Law (IHL): A Study”

- Md. Shahidul Islam & Md. Mominul Islam

1

Published On - August 13, 2016 [Vol. 5, Jul - Dec, 2016]

1.1. Introduction

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)[1]serves as the “guardian” of International Humanitarian Law (IHL),[2] basing its work on the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the two Additional Protocols of 1977. As the promoter and guardian of International Humanitarian Law, they give the ICRC the right to carry out activities such as bringing relief to wounded, sick or shipwrecked military personnel, visiting prisoners of war, re-establishing contact between members of families separated by conflict, aiding civilians and ensuring that those protected by humanitarian law are treated accordingly. The role and ability of ICRC to help prevent the outbreak of armed conflict have always been a matter for concern and consideration. The International Committee is the “Red Cross” is the only effective international instrument for the implementation of International Humanitarian Law. This sort of effectiveness however is not main table at all times. In the case of armed conflict, whether international or non-international, should if one of the parties to the parties to the conflict is a State which way does not pay heed to the approaches of the International Committee of the Red Cross then has no effective means to place force against the State for compliance with the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law.[3]Since ignorance of the law is an obstacle to its implementation, The ICRC reminds States that they must take all the necessary steps to ensure that the law is applied effectively and therefore respected. It does so mainly through its Advisory Service on International Humanitarian Law, which provides technical guidance to States and helps their authorities adopt national implementing laws and regulations.The role of the ICRC is “to undertake the tasks incumbent upon it under the Geneva Conventions, to work faithfully on the application of international humanitarian law applicable in armed conflicts and to take cognizance of any complaints based on alleged breaches of that law”[4]The role and possibilities of ICRC will no doubt be always rather limited. Moreover, with its humanitarian activities in armed conflict the ICRC may contribute to ending hostilities and reaching a settlement, and thereby prevent a resumption of conflict.

The object of this article is to describe the history, mission and find out the characteristics of the action of the ICRC in favour of persons deprived of liberty as well as the effectiveness of the ICRC for implementation of IHL as the guardian.

1.2 Historical background of the ICRC

The ICRC was founded in 1863[5] to examine the proposals made by Henry Dunant in his book on the Battle of Solferino. Having come upon this terrible battlefield by chance, Dunant reacted to what he saw in just the same way as the ICRC was to react to war throughout its history: his first thought was to bring practical aid to the wounded. Instinctively, he applied the principle of humanity – the endeavour “to prevent and alleviate suffering wherever it may be found”[6]– which is still the essential principle of the entire Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and immediately did everything possible to organize help for the thousands of wounded men who had been left to die where they fell. But this was not all. Feeling that he had to share what he had experienced and a born story-teller, he wrote his book A Memory of Solferino,[7] which met with resounding success in Europe. His role as a witness was, however, only one stage in a much more ambitious programme. He followed it up with two proposals that caused quite a stir and had remarkable results. The first was to declare army medical services neutral and give them a distinctive emblem so that they could function on the battle field. This was the fountainhead of international humanitarian law. The second was to form, in peacetime, voluntary relief societies to act as auxiliaries to army medical services in time of war. This was the origin of the Red Cross Movement.[8] The ICRC was formed to examine these two proposals and to work towards their implementation. Henry Dunant’s book had prepared the ground so well that they were both a tremendous success. At the end of 1863, the very year in which the ICRC was founded, the first voluntary aid societies – the future National Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies – were set up. On 22 August of the following year, 1864, the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field was adopted. This was the source of international humanitarian law. Thus the ICRC has always had a close and special relationship with international humanitarian law, and to this day has invariably acted in accordance with the successive phases of Henry Dunant’s experience. It has worked on battlefields, and has always sought to adapt its action to the latest developments in warfare. It has then reported on the problems encountered, and on that basis has made practical proposals for the improvement of international humanitarian law. In short, it has made a very direct contribution to the process of codification, during which its proposals were examined, and which has led to regular revision and extension of international humanitarian law, notably in 1906, 1929, 1949 and 1977. This special role of the ICRC is now formally recognized in the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement[9], which have been adopted both by the components of the Movement[10] and by the States party to the Geneva Conventions, that is, practically all the worlds ’States.[11]Today The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is known first and foremost for its field operations in aid of victims of armed conflict and internal violence all over the world.

1.3. The mission of the ICRC

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance. It directs and coordinates the international relief activities conducted by the Movement in situations of conflict. It also Endeavour’s to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles. It is a universally recognized and highly effective humanitarian organisation. It is wonderful that such an organisation exists: many thousands of prisoners, wounded and others affected by conflicts over the years owe their lives to the ICRC. Therefore Governments, UN agencies and NGOs should take great care to respect the mandate of the ICRC and should do nothing which would harm it or its work.

1.4. Fundamental principles of the ICRC

The 20th International Conference of the Red Cross[12] proclaims the following seven fundamental principles on which Red Cross action is based:

Humanity

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavours, in its international and national capacity, to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect human life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all people.

Impartiality

It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided solely by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.

Neutrality

In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.

Independence

The Movement is independent. The National Societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with the principles of the Movement.

Voluntary Service

It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.

Unity

There can be only one Red Cross or one Red Crescent Society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry its humanitarian work throughout its territory.

Universality

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide.

The Fundamental Principles were adopted by the International Conference of the Red Cross. In 1986, the Conference decided to include them in the Preamble of the Statutes of the Movement. The latter not only recall that every component of the Movement is bound by the Fundamental Principles, but also establish that States have to respect at all times the adherence of those components to the Fundamental Principles.

1.5 Objectives of the ICRC’s activities

In general, the purpose of the ICRC’s intervention is to have the detaining authority respecting the detainees’ physical and moral integrity. In the course of an armed conflict, whether international or internal, one of the objectives of ICRC visits is to check that international humanitarian law is applied and continues to do so. The various problems that affect the life, the physical and mental well-being and the dignity of a detainee are often interconnected. In all situations the ICRC concentrates on the detainees’ needs it considers to be the most important, i.e. it seeks first and foremost to prevent or terminate:

  • disappearances;
  • torture and other forms of ill-treatment;
  • inadequate or degrading conditions of detention;
  • severance of family links;
  • disregard for essential judicial guarantees.

1.6 Characteristics of the ICRC’s activities

The ICRC’s approach in the field of detention has several particular character­istics.[13]Some are shared by other organizations and bodies. Others are specific to the ICRC (comprehensive approach, individual follow-up, total independ­ence vis-à-vis political authorities, ability to intervene inside the countries con­cerned, on going dialogue with all relevant authorities at various levels). Those characteristics combined are what make the ICRC’s approach unique. The ICRC’s priority is to persuade the responsible authorities to respect the fun­damental rights of individuals. For that purpose the best response or responses have to be defined, based on an analysis of the situation as a whole and adapted to the problems identified and their causes. Lastly, social factors, such as the level of tolerance for the use of violence, may play a role. In practice, it is not always possible to identify clearly the respective importance of these different parameters. The ICRC thus makes regular efforts to adapt accordingly the forms of action it takes.31 The ICRC determines the beneficiaries of its activities on the basis of existing humanitarian needs and according to criteria linked to the prevailing situation in a given context. In situations of international armed conflict, the ICRC’s mandate for its activities on behalf of detainees (prisoners of war, civilian internees and secu­rity or common law detainees in occupied territories) is very clear. The Geneva Conventions give the ICRC the right of access to these persons and entitle it to receive all relevant information pertaining to them.[14] In determining the detainees for whom its activities are deployed in internal armed conflicts, the ICRC draws in practice partly on concepts applica­ble to international armed conflicts. In such cases, the ICRC considers either that all detainees are affected by the prevailing situation, or that it is contrary to its principles of humanity and impartiality to address the needs of only one category of detainees when others have identical, or sometimes even greater, humanitarian needs. The ICRC offers its services if warranted by the gravity of humanitar­ian needs and the urgency of responding to them. In so doing it acts on the basis of its own right of initiative conferred by the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.[15] ICRC visits are designed first of all for persons detained in connection with a situation of internal violence, mainly those who, because of their words, actions or writings, or even the simple fact of belonging to a particular ethnic group or religion, are considered by the authorities as a threat to the existing system. Broadly speaking, these persons are often classified as opponents who must be punished or at least controlled by depriving them of their liberty.

1.7 Statutes of the ICRC

The ICRC is sometimes thought of as the Grandfather of the modern humanitarian movement. It is very well funded, sets high standards, and is highly respected around the world. The ICRC is not an NGO. It is an independent, neutral organisation ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence. The Geneva Conventions give it a unique status.  The ICRC has a permanent mandate under international law to take impartial action for prisoners, the wounded and sick, and civilians affected by conflict.

One of its best known activities is to visit prisoners of war and other detainees during conflicts, to ensure they are properly treated and to enable them to communicate with their families through Red Cross Messages. The Statutes of the International Red Cross[16]dealt the International Committee of the Red Cross and stated: “ As a neutral institution whose humanitarian work is carried out particularly in time or war, civil war, or internal strife, it endeavors at all times to ensure the protection of and assistance to military and civilian victims of such conflicts and or their direct results. It takes any humanitarian initiative which comes to way and plays a vital role as a specifically neutral and independent institution and considers any questions requiting examination by such an institution.”[17] There is no doubt that, by the adoption of such a clause, the States sought to give an organization which enjoyed their full confidence and extensive right of humanitarian initiative, permitting it to offer its services whenever necessary, without the States being obliged, to accept.[18]As for the Statutes of the International Committee of the Red Cross itself, they preceded or followed those of the International Red Cross, employing wording which is identical or similar.[19]

1.8 The Role of the ICRC as guardian of International Humanitarian Law

The ICRC also acts as the guardian of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), also sometimes known as the Law of Armed Conflict. It willingly offers advice on any aspect of IHL, for example:

  • the protection of civilians in armed conflict;
  • the protection of women, children, or internally displaced persons;
  • the rights of prisoners of war or civilian internees.

The “guardian angel” functions means, as the phrase implies, watching over the law itself to protect it from those who may undermine or weaken it, either because they disregard it or because they are too close to it. This function is of course connected with the monitoring function and may serve to promote that activity, but it has characteristics of its own and needs constant attention, as the following recent examples show. The ICRC had to intervene to draw up an acceptable text and introduce a saving clause to safeguard the gains made by international humanitarian law. A second example of this necessary “protection” of humanitarian law to preserve the gains already made can be found in the steps taken to afford better protection for displaced persons. In this context attention had to be drawn to the fact that persons displaced in armed conflicts are covered by international humanitarian law and is part of the civilian population as a whole, which must be protected from the effects of hostilities. A third example is offered by the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, drafted and adopted by the UN.[20] Here too the idea was prompted by a real problem which certainly called for examination and discussion. It is therefore essential that the soldiers be judged for offences against the law and not for the political decisions of their leaders, for which they cannot be held responsible. A great deal of argument was necessary before this essential distinction was incorporated in the Convention.[21] Representatives or delegates of the Protecting Powers shall have permission to go to all places where prisoners of war may be, particularly to places of internment, imprisonment and labour. Moreover the delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross shall enjoy the same prerogatives.[22]The delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross shall also enjoy the above prerogatives. The appointment of such delegates shall be submitted to the approval of the Power governing the territories where they will carry out their duties.[23]The Movements Statutes specify that the roles of ICRC is: to undertake the tasks incumbent upon it under the Geneva Conventions, to work for the faithful application of international humanitarian law applicable in armed conflicts and to take cognizance of any complaints based on alleged breaches of that law.[24] Brief discussions of these matters have been made in following points.

1.8.1 Protecting Powers of the ICRC

The idea that the implementation of international humanitarian law should be submitted to international supervision which has developed mainly within the framework of the law of Geneva.[25] During the armed conflict protecting power, a State not party to the conflict, safeguards the interests of the parties to the conflict. To this end, the four Geneva Conventions and Protocols additions to the Geneva Conventions are applied with the co-operations and under the scrutiny of the Protecting Power.

These Conventions “shall be applied with the co-operation and under the scrutiny of the Protecting Prowers whose duty it is to safeguard the interest of the parties to the conflict”[26] For this purpose, the Protecting Power may use their diplomatic or consular staff, or appoint special delegates; for obvious reasons, any such special appointments require the approval of the party to the conflict with which the delegates are to carry out their duties,: “The co-operation and scrutiny of the Protecting Prowers has in practice assumed the character of management of interests and mediation. When their delegates became aware, whether from personal observance or complaints of the victims, that prisoners of war are suffering from bad housing conditions or a lack of food, or are compelled to forbidden types of work are not allowed to send and receive mail, or are maltreated in any other manner, it is their job to seek an improvement of the situation. On the other hand, it is not the task of Protecting Powers to act as a sort of public prosecutors, investigating and exposing violations of the Conventions; were they to embark on such a course of action, they would soon find themselves discharged of their functions”[27] “Constitute no obstacles to the humanitarian activities which the International Committee of the Red Cross or any other impartial humanitarian organization may, subject to the consent of the Party to the Conflict concerned, undertake for the protection of wounded and sick, medical personnel and chaplains and for their relief.’ The express mention of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Article amounts to an official recognition of its customary right of initiative in matters of humanitarian succor.”[28] The Article does not, however, provide the International Committee of the Red Cross with a formal supervisory capacity such as that which has been assigned to the Protecting Powers”[29] The third paragraph of the Article provides that none of the above leads to protection being arranged, the Detaining Power “shall request or shall accept, subject to the provisions of this Article, the offer of the services of a humanitarian organization, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, to assume the humanitarian functions performed by the Protecting Powers” under the Conventions.

1.8.2 The Monitoring Powers of the ICRC

The ICRC convened several meetings of experts and published a report on their proceedings[30]. These proceedings, the resulting report and intense efforts in terms of dialogue and information were decisive for the successful outcome of the review procedure, which ended with the adoption of a Protocol on anti-personnel weapons causing blindness.[31] Above all, the Conference established, probably once and for all,[32] the principle that it is unlawful to use blinding as a means of warfare.In short, the monitoring function requires constant analysis of failures to observe international humanitarian law, so as to determine whether they are due to shortcomings in the law and, if so, whether these shortcomings are serious enough to justify the risk and expense of embarking on a revision procedure; and then, if the time seems ripe for revision, taking steps to facilitate it and to highlight the humanitarian dimension of the problems involved, on the basis of experience gained in armed conflicts.

1.8.3 The Directory Powers of the ICRC

The ICRC is on the scene of every conflict; it visit prisoners to ensure that they are detained in acceptable conditions and can communicate with their families, helps to care for the wounded, and endeavours to protect the entire civilian population from the effects of hostilities, which are taking an increasing toll among civilians. International humanitarian law clearly sets out the rights and duties of parties to, and victims of, armed conflicts. The duty of combatants is to spare the civilian population and the wounded, and to treat prisoners well. As for victims, they all have a right to humane treatment; the wounded are entitled to be cared for, prisoners to be detained in good conditions, and the population to enjoy the means essential to its survival. Therefore the ICRC’s field operations are clearly part of its function as guardian of international humanitarian law, because their purpose is to ensure that its rules are applied in practice. That right is conferred on it by international humanitarian law itself, and hence by all the States that drew up and adopted that law. The law provides for its own application “with the co-operation and under the scrutiny” of Protecting Powers,[33] and asks the ICRC to offer its services if there are no States assuming that function. It also gives the ICRC a right of initiative in taking any action it considers appropriate to help victims of conflict A firm and clear stance must be taken against violations of international humanitarian law and failures to apply its provisions; neutrality imposes no restraint in this regard. It does, on the other hand, oblige the ICRC to stand apart from the political problems underlying the conflict, because it is obvious that to enter into discussion of these would inevitably mean a loss of confidence and credibility that would jeopardize dialogue and action aimed at promoting respect for humanitarian law. In short, humanitarian matters must keep clear of politics, just as politics must not try to interfere in humanitarian matters. In short, the ICRC has to assess all the parameters of situations that it obviously cannot handle unaided, so as to identify areas requiring the cooperation of other members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement areas in which it has to rely on its own efforts.

1.8.4 Powers of the ICRC as the Watchdog

The ICRC has often been blamed for failing to speak out when it should and for not doing enough to make the international community aware of unacceptable situations. This was the main criticism leveled at its conduct during the Second World War, conduct which has been closely scrutinized through documents in the organization’s archives and has been the subject of several publications.[34] The matter will not be further explored here, but it is interesting to consider briefly what the watchdog function now comprises. Experience has led the ICRC to adopt a number of policy guidelines governing the manner in which it reacts to breach the international humanitarian law[35]. The restraint it has traditionally observed in this regard has been the most frequent source of misunderstanding concerning the ICRC, being wrongly ascribed to its principle of neutrality. Having taken the decision, the ICRC puts it into effect first and foremost on the basis of international humanitarian law, reminding all States party to the Geneva Conventions of their collective obligation to “ensure respect”[36] for the Conventions. The way in which this reminder is issued and above all complied with, that is, the way in which it is decided what practical action is required to convince the parties concerned that they have to put a stop to violations, raises a host of questions that cannot be dealt with in a few lines and will therefore not be considered here.[37]That is why the humanitarian activities conducted in the former Yugoslavia, despite their enormous scale, suffered serious setbacks and have left a bitter taste.[38] In both of the cases described above, the ICRC must play its “watchdog” role. It must warn the community of nations, and especially the UN Security Council because of its peace-keeping and peace-making role, that the ICRC can do little or nothing in the prevailing circumstances. The magnitude of the problems is far beyond the scope of humanitarian aid, and it is the duty of the ICRC to say so lest humanitarian action become an excuse for political inaction. In such situations, which are fortunately exceptional, all that can be done is to hand over to the politicians.

1.8.5 Jurisdiction of the ICRC in case of Breach of International Humanitarian Law

In the preceding sections the procedures for the implementation of international humanitarian law by the International Committee of the Red Cross have been discussed. The International Committee of the Red Cross faces some practical problems for the implementation of international humanitarian law.[39] They are as follows: (1) Sometimes some States do not recognize the applicability of international humanitarian law. As for instance, Indonesia, Timur, Israel etc. (2) Sometimes State say that they are applying international humanitarian law but in fact violating it. They say that they are not violating but they have different approaches for interpretation. As for instance, Iran goes against the doctrine of Convention and states that it has its own approach for interpretation. (3) Under the pretext that the respect for fundamental rules of international humanitarian law requires reciprocity, the application of the provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Protocols of 1977. Mutual recognition of the rights of protected persons is an essential element of the structure of today’s international community.[40] To deny these rights, to make their respect subject to what another party does, is to deny the existence of that community”.[41]Inspite of these problems the International Committee of the Red Cross takes some steps when there is a breach of international humanitarian law. The steps taken by the International Committee of the Red Cross are as follows: (1) action taken by the International Committee of the Red Cross on its own initiative; (2) reception and transmission of complaints; (3) requests for inquiries; and (4) requests for taking note of violations.[42] Public statements are inevitably more incriminating and the International Committee of the Red Cross has recourse to them sparingly, when three specific conditions are fulfilled: firstly, the violations must be major breaches of international humanitarian law; secondly, the publicity given to them must be in the interest of the persons or population affected o: threatened; and thirdly, either the delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross must have witnessed them with their own eyes or the violations must be matters of common knowledge.[43] The International Committee of the Red Cross takes cognizance of any complaints based on alleged breaches of international humanitarian law.[44] The Geneva Conventions of 1949 stipulate that “at the request of a Party to the conflict, an inquiry shall be instituted, in a manner to be decided between the interested Parties, concerning the alleged violation of the Convention.”[45] This Article does not provide for any action by the International Committee of the Red Cross, but the institution was nevertheless called upon a number of times to initiate inquiry. The weakness of the above provision lies in the fact that, in practice, it subjects the opening of an inquiry to consent by the Parties involved. The International Committee of the Red Cross is no judge above the parties involved. Moreover, it cannot engage in controversies that only jeopardize its activities for the Victims[46]

Lastly, the promoter and guardian of international humanitarian law, the ICRC must encourage respect for the law. It does so by spreading knowledge of the humanitarian rules and by reminding parties to conflicts of their obligations. The action of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the event of the breach of international humanitarian law is praiseworthy. Though the International Committee of the Red Cross faces difficulties in this regard, but in the course of time it can make the party, who violates that law, respect the law and in this way helps to restore peace and tranquility in that part of the world where the violation of the international humanitarian law takes place.[47] The International Committee of the Red Cross takes initiative in the implementation of international humanitarian law in various ways; and the tradition, the Geneva conventions and the Protocols form the basis of authority of International Committee of the Red Cross ion this regard. During the continuance of the non-international armed conflict the International Committee of the Red Cross plays a ‘vital role in the protection of the victims. The Central Tracing Agency, the most successful organ of the International Committees of the Red Cross, trace missing persons during the continuance of international armed conflict and non- international armed conflict.[48] The role of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the event of the breach of the International Humanitarian law deserved credit and attention of the civilized world.

1.9 Conclusion

On the strength of the conclusions, The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is known as the first and foremost for its field operations in aid of victims of armed conflict and internal violence all over the world. It draws from its protection and assistance work, the ICRC makes confidential representations to the relevant authorities in the event of violations of humanitarian law. If the violations are serious and repeated and it can be established with certainty that they have occurred, the ICRC reserves the right to take a public stance; it does so only if it deems such publicity to be in the interest of the people affected or threatened. This therefore remains an exceptional measure. But above all, the role of guardian of international humanitarian law should be regarded as an act of faith. It would be intolerable to work in the midst of conflict, surrounded by the horrors of war, without hoping for a better future and without faith in humanity. The guardian of international humanitarian law must also stand by those who in spite of everything and even when things are at their worst are determined to believe in and to defend the values on which that law is built. The four Conventions of 1949 and two additional Protocols Comprise basic international humanitarian law for the implementation of which responsibility has been mainly imposed on the International Committee of the Red Cross. The International Committee of the Red Cross may adopt steps for the implementation of international humanitarian law in various ways and under various circumstances; as a substitute for protecting power; Central Tracing Agency; Internal disturbances and tensions: Non-international Armed conflict; Action in the event of breaches of international humanitarian law. The bases of Implementation are conventions, Protocols and traditions and practicesThe effectiveness of the International Committee of the Red Cross as an instrument for the implementation of international humanitarian law is praiseworthy; but both the changes of time and technology the instrumentality of the International Committee of the Red Cross needs some basic changes which will give more power and authority to the Committee in connection with the strengthening of its effectiveness. The ICRC is making considerable efforts to bring a minimum level of humanity to place of detention and ensure that the dignity of detainees is respected. In connection with the implementation of international humanitarian law it may be suggested and recommended for adoption of an implementation norm which would give more power and authority to the International Committee of the Red Cross or any other international institution for the purpose of effective implementation of international humanitarian law.

[1] Established in 1863, the ICRC is at the origin of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

[2] International humanitarian law is part of international law, which is set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict.International humanitarian law is also known as the law of war or the law of armed conflicts and its “aim to protect persons suffering from the evils of armed conflicts

[3] A.B.M. Mafizul Islam Patwaei, Principle of Modern International Humanitarian Law: An Oriented Perspective (Second Published 20 June 2007) Page 140.

[4] Article 5 of the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

[5] See Pierre Boissier, From Solferino to Tsushima: History of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant Institute, Geneva, 1985, p. 54 ff.; François Bugnion, Le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge et la protection des victimes de la guerre, Geneva, ICRC, 1994, p. 11 ff.

[6]On these principles, see Jean Pictet, Red Cross Principles, ICRC, Geneva, 1956; and The Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross, Commentary, Henry Dunant Institute, Geneva, 1979.

[7]Henry Dunant, A Memory of Solferino, ICRC, Geneva, 1986 edition

[8]See Bugnion, op.cit, p. 78 ff.

[9]These Statutes are reproduced in the Handbook of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, 13th ed., ICRC/International Federation, Geneva, 1994, pp. 415-432.

[10]These components are the International Committee of the Red Cross, the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (currently numbering 170), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

[11]There are at present 188 States party to the Geneva Conventions.

[12] The Fundamental Principles were adopted by the International Conference of the Red Cross, in Veana in 1965 .

[13] See in particular Pascal Daudin and Hernan Reyes, “How visits by the ICRC can help prisoners cope with the effects of traumatic stress”, in International Responses to Traumatic Stress, Baywood Publishers, New York, 1996, pp. 219-256.Volume 87 Number 857 March 2005 95

[14]Articles 123 and 126 Third Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war of 1949 (GC III) and Articles 76, 140 and 143 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons in times of war (GC IV).

[15]Article 5 (2) lit. (d) of the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement which establish the ICRC mandate to provide assistance and protection to the victims of internal disturbances; see also Article 5 (3) of the Statutes.

[16] The Statutes of the International Red Cross were revised by the Eighteenth International Conference of the Red Cross held in Toronto in 1952.

[17] Article VI of The Statutes of the International Red Cross,1952

[18] Jacques Morellion, “International Solidarity and Protection of Political Detainees”, Extract from the International Review of the Red Cross. May-June, 1981

[19] See Paragraph 1 (d) and 2 of Article 4 of the Statutes of the International Committee of the Red Cross, as amended in 1982

[20]The Convention was adopted by consensus on 9 December 1994 (Resolution A/49/59 and annex). See Antoine Bouvier, “Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel”, IRRC, No. 309, November-December 1995, pp. 638-666.

[21]See Art. 20.

[22]Art. 126, Third Convention

[23] Article 143 of the Fourth Convention of 1949

[24]Art. 5, Para. 2c, of the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

[25] A.B.M. Mafizul Islam Patwaei,Principle of Modern International Humanitarian Law: An Oriented Perspective (Second Published 20 June 2007) Page 109.

[26] Article 8 common to Conventions 1 to 111 and Article 9 of the Conventions IV

[27] Frits Kaishoven, Constraints of the Waging of War (Geneva: International Committee of the Red Cross, 1987), 62

[28] Article 9 common to Conventions 1 to 111 and Article 10 of the Convention IV of 1949

[29] Frits Kaishoven, Constraints of the Waging of War (Geneva: International Committee of the Red Cross, 1987), 62

[30]Blinding weapons: Reports of the meetings of experts convened by the International Committee of the Red Cross on battlefield laser weapons 1989-1991; Louise Doswald-Beck ed., ICRC, Geneva, 1993

[31] Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (Protocol IV), adopted on 12 October 1995 (UN/CCW/CONF.I/7)

[32]See, for example, Louise Doswald-Beck, “New Protocol on blinding laser weapons”, IRRC, No. 312, May-June 1996, pp. 272-299

[33]Article 8/8/8/9 common to the four Geneva Conventions and Art.5 of Additional Protocol I of 1977. See also the commentary on this article in: Commentary on the Additional Protocols of 8 June 1977 to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, Sandoz, Swinarski, Zimmerman eds., MartinusNijhoff/ICRC, Geneva, 1987, pp. 75-89.

[34]Article 98, paras. 1 and 2, asks the ICRC to consult States regularly as to whether the Annex needs to be reviewed and, if they so wish, to convene meetings of experts to prepare amendments.

[35]See “Action by the International Committee of the Red Cross in the event of breaches of international humanitarian law”, IRRC, No. 221, March-April 1981, pp. 76-83.

[36]See Luigi Condorelli and Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, “Quelquesremarques à propos de l’obligation des États de ‘respecter et faire respecter’ le droit international humanitaire ‘en toutescirconstances’ ”, in: Studies and essays on international humanitarian law and Red Cross principles in honour of Jean Pictet,C. Swinarski ed., ICRC/MartinusNijhoff, Geneva/The Hague, 1984, pp.17-35.

[37]See UmeshPalwankar, “Measures available to States for fulfilling their obligation to ensure respect for international humanitarian law”, IRRC, No. 298, January-February 1994, pp. 9-25.

[38]See Michèle Mercier, Crimes without punishment: Humanitarian action in former Yugoslavia, Pluto Press, London and East Haven, Conn., 1995; Yves Sandoz, “Réflexionssur la mise en oeuvre du droithumanitaire et sur le rôle du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge en ex-Yougoslavie”, Revue suisse de droit international et de droiteuropéen, 4/1993, pp. 461-490; Jean-François Berger, The humanitarian diplomacy of the ICRC and the conflict in Croatia (1991-1992), ICRC, Geneva, 1995; and the articles by Milan Sahovic, BoskoJakovljevic and Konstantin Obradovic in the Revue yougoslave de droit international, Nos. 2-3, Belgrade, 1992.

[39] A.B.M. Mafizul Islam Patwaei,Principle of Modern International Humanitarian Law: An Oriented Perspective (Second Published 20 June 2007) Page 134.

[40] A.B.M. Mafizul Islam Patwaei,Principle of Modern International Humanitarian Law: An Oriented Perspective (Second Published 20 June 2007) Page 134

[41]J. de Preux, “The Geneva Conventions and Reciprocity” No. 22, January-February, 1985, Internatioinal Review of the Red Cross, 25, 28

[42] A.B.M. Mafizul Islam Patwaei,Principle of Modern International Humanitarian Law: An Oriented Perspective (Second Published 20 June 2007) Page 135

[43] See the booklet, Action by the International Committee of the Red Cross in the event of the Breaches of International Humanitarian Law (Geneva; International Committee of the Red Cross, 1981), 3.

[44] Under Paragraph 2 (c) of Article 5 of the Statures of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement adopted in Geneva in 1986

[45] See Article 52 of Convention I, Article 53 of Convention II Article 132 of Convention III and Article 149 of Convention IV.

[46] A.B.M. Mafizul Islam Patwaei,Principle of Modern International Humanitarian Law: An Oriented Perspective (Second Published 20 June 2007) Page 139

[47] A.B.M. Mafizul Islam Patwaei,Principle of Modern International Humanitarian Law: An Oriented Perspective (Second Published 20 June 2007) Page 139

[48] A.B.M. Mafizul Islam Patwaei,Principle of Modern International Humanitarian Law: An Oriented Perspective (Second Published 20 June 2007) Page 140

About The Writer

Article Author Image

Md. Shahidul Islam & Md. Mominul Islam

.

Md. Shahidul Islam
Associate Professor
Department of Law and Justice
Bangladesh Army University of Engineering & Technology
Qadirabad Cantonment, Natore.
And
Md. Mominul Islam
Assistant Professor
Department of Law
Northern University Bangladesh
E-mail: momin_law@yahoo.com

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