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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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Improving Compliance by Non-State Actors with Obligations in International Humanitarian Law: A Global Responsibility

Improving Compliance by Non-State Actors with Obligations in International Humanitarian Law: A Global Responsibility

Chapter:
(p.66) 6 Improving Compliance by Non-State Actors with Obligations in International Humanitarian Law: A Global Responsibility
Source:
The Making of International Criminal Justice
Author(s):

Theodor Meron

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608935.003.0006

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.

Keywords:   non-state actors, international system, international humanitarian law, radicals, international relations

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