RICR No. 833

Un avenir pour le droit international humanitaire et ses principes?

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AbstractBefore addressing the question raised in the title of his article, the author looks to the past and shows that the ICRC has been able not only to adapt international humanitarian law to new challenges but also to find new approaches to emerging humanitarian issues. This was the case, for example, when wars produced huge numbers of POWs, or when the plight of political detainees called for innovative action by the ICRC. The emergence of national liberation movements raised particularly difficult problems, but by and large satisfactory solutions were found within the existing humanitarian system. Today we are facing new forms of conflicts, with increasing involvement by non-State actors. After examining the nature of the challenges and discussing possible answers, the author concludes that it would be a tragedy if our time were unable to find a suitable response to them.

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