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The Making of International Criminal JusticeThe View from the Bench: Selected Speeches$
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Theodor Meron

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199608935

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608935.001.0001

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The Humanization of the Law of War (Marek Nowicki Memorial Lecture)

The Humanization of the Law of War (Marek Nowicki Memorial Lecture)

Chapter:
(p.42) 4 The Humanization of the Law of War (Marek Nowicki Memorial Lecture)
Source:
The Making of International Criminal Justice
Author(s):

Theodor Meron

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608935.003.0004

Since ancient times, rules protecting individuals and rules governing the conduct of war have been contradictory. The Bible says: ‘Thou shalt not kill’. But in the Book of Samuel, God tells the Israelites to kill every man, woman, and child of Amalek. We are torn between our conscientious desire to uphold the sanctity of human life and acknowledging the stark reality that warfare has existed since the dawn of humankind. How do we reconcile the two? This chapter shows that such a reconciliation is already taking place, thanks to the development and authority of human rights law. Human rights have humanized the law of war, so that even in armed conflict the focus is on protecting individuals to the greatest extent possible.

Keywords:   human rights law, law of war, armed conflict, humanization, humanitarian law

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