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Realizing UtopiaThe Future of International Law$
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The Late Antonio Cassese

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199691661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691661.001.0001

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Good Time for a Change: Recognizing Individuals’ Rights under the Rules of International Humanitarian Law on the Conduct of Hostilities

Good Time for a Change: Recognizing Individuals’ Rights under the Rules of International Humanitarian Law on the Conduct of Hostilities

Chapter:
(p.571) 43 Good Time for a Change: Recognizing Individuals’ Rights under the Rules of International Humanitarian Law on the Conduct of Hostilities
Source:
Realizing Utopia
Author(s):

Giulia Pinzauti

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691661.003.0043

Given the current state of international law and international relations, in the near future it would be impossible, though highly desirable, to improve the situation of all civilians adversely affected by the outbreak of an armed conflict. It is, however, both necessary and realistic to address the condition of at least those individuals who suffer damage as a result of violations of the rules of jus in bello on the conduct of hostilities (the so-called ‘Hague law’). A belligerent violating international humanitarian law bears responsibility for the breach of such rules and is liable to make reparation for the consequences thereof. Arguably, the time is ripe for recognizing that the rules of the Hague law also protect individuals' rights, and that injured individuals are therefore entitled to remedy and reparation for the wrong suffered. The shift from the traditional paradigm of inter-state responsibility to responsibility of the state vis-à-vis individuals could be achieved through the creation of ad hoc international mechanisms (such as claims commissions) for the processing of individual complaints. In addition, the task of making a major breakthrough would fall to domestic courts and human rights supervisory bodies, which have ample potential for affirming the existence of individuals' rights under the rules of international humanitarian law regulating means and methods of warfare.

Keywords:   international law, international relations, armed conflict, human rights, civilians

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