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Human Shields, Sovereign Power, and the Evisceration of the Civilian

  • Neve Gordon (a1) and Nicola Perugini (a1)

Extract

Human shields were prominent in the 2016 military campaign seeking to recapture Mosul from the hands of ISIS militants. On October 24, 2016, Pope Francis expressed his concern over the use of over two hundred boys and men as human shields in the Iraqi city. In an election rally the following day, Donald Trump decried the enemy's use of “human shields all over the place,” while the New York Times reported that the Islamic State is driving hundreds of civilians into Mosul, using them as human shields. A few days later, the United Nations disseminated a press release, warning that ISIS militants are using “tens of thousands” as human shields, thus casting massive numbers of Iraqi civilians as weapons of war.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

References

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4 Matthew W. Ezzo & Amos N. Guiora, A Critical Decision Point on the Battlefield – Friend, Foe or Innocent Bystander, in Security: A Multidisciplinary Normative Approach (Cecilia M. Bailliet ed., 2009).

7 Department of Defence, Law of War Manual (2015).

8 Adil Ahmad Haque, The Defense Department's Indefensible Position on Killing Human Shields, JustSecurity (June 22, 2015, 2:11 PM).

9 Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., Human Shields and the DoD Law of War Manual: Can't We Improve the Debate?, JustSecurity (June 25, 2015, 9:43 AM).

10 Neve Gordon & Nicola Perugini, Human Shields: The Weapon of the Strong, JustSecurity (Oct. 22, 2015, 9:30 AM).

11 John Langshaw Austin, How to do Things with Words 101 (2d ed. 1975).

12 Judith Butler, Human Shields, 3 London Rev. Int'l L. 2, 5 (2015).

13 Jamie McIntyre, U.S. held fire as ISIS fighters fled Syrian city using human shields, Wash. Exammer (Aug. 16, 2016, 2:54 PM).

14 Martin Smith, Iraqi forces halt Fallujah advance amid fears for 50,000 human shields, UPI (June 3, 2016, 10:23 AM).

15 Cited in William Edward Hall, A Treatise on International Law 475 (1890).

16 Lassa Francis Lawrence Oppenheim, 2 International Law: A Treatise 272 (1912).

17 Antoine Pillet, Les Lois Actuelles De La Guerre (1901) (translation ours); Henry Bonfils, Manuel De Droit International Public (Droit Des Gens) (1898). Hall, supra note 15.

18 Pillet, supra note 17, at 213.

19 Oppenheim, supra note 16; James Molony Spaight, War Rights on Land (1911).

20 Neve Gordon & Nicola Perugini, The Human Right to Dominate 84–100 (2016).

22 Bargu, Banu, Bodies against War: Voluntary Human Shielding as a Practice of Resistance , 110 AJIL Unbound 299 (2016).

23 Banu Bargu, Human Shields, 12 Contemp. Pol. Theory 277 (2013).

24 Beth Van Schaack, Human Shields: Complementary Duties under IHL, 110 AJIL Unbound 317 (2016).

25 Andreas Wenger & Simon JA Mason, The Civilianization of Armed Conflict: Trends and Implications, 90 ICRC Rev. 835 (2008).

26 The search identified 1,903 articles that used the phrase human shields, but 682 of these were duplicates. When counting the number of people used as shields, we counted each incident only once but used the largest figure provided in the articles describing the incident.

27 Nesiah, Vasuki, Human Shields/Human Crosshairs: Colonial Legacies and Contemporary Wars , 110 AJIL Unbound 323 (2016).

29 Protocol I, supra note 5.

30 Neve Gordon & Nicola Perugini, The Politics of Human Shielding: On the Resignification of Space and the Constitution of Civilians as Shields in Liberal Wars, 34 Env't & Plan. D: Soc'y & Space 34 168, 183 (2016).

31 Charles J. Dunlap. Jr., Lawfare Today: A Perspective, 3 Yale J. Int'l Aff. 146 (2008).

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AJIL Unbound
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2398-7723
  • URL: /core/journals/american-journal-of-international-law
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