Improving Compliance by Non-State Actors with Obligations in International Humanitarian Law: A Global Responsibility
In terms of conflict, non-state actors — and the problems they pose for the workings of the international system — were catapulted into the limelight by the World Trade Center attacks. It is not that non-state actors did not exist before that time, but rather that a new type of non-state actor seized the agenda and forced the international community as a whole to focus on the issue. Seemingly committed to the destabilization of many states, they have no discernible territorial aims and no wish to join the international system of states as it currently stands. They oftentimes publicly denounce the values expressed in international humanitarian law and one of their key tactics — that of deliberately targeting civilians — runs contrary to the fundamental rationale for having a body of international humanitarian law in the first place. What hope, then, is there that these increasingly radical non-state actors can be brought into the international system? How can non-state actors — of all types — be persuaded to accept obligations under international humanitarian law and how can the international community ensure that humanitarian standards are enforced? These are the key issues discussed in this chapter.
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