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No Good Options against ISIS Barbarism? Human Shields in 21st Century Conflicts

  • Charles J. Dunlap (a1)

Extract

One of the most vexing conundrums of 21st century warfare has been not just the explosive growth in the use of human shields, but the apparent systemization of the tactic, particularly by nonstate actors. In noting the international prohibition, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) defines the practice as the “intentional co-location of military objectives and civilians or persons hors de combat with the specific intent of trying to prevent the targeting of those military objectives.”

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Copyright

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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1 Jean-Marie Henckaerts & Louise Doswald-Beck, 1 Customary International Humanitarian Law 337 (2005).

2 Jim Michaels, U.S. plans to hit ISIL before militants grab human shields, USA Today, (Sept. 6, 2016).

3 Ralph Peters, The New Warrior Class, 24 Parameters 16 (1994).

5 Adil Ahmed Haque, Human Shields in Mosul, JustSecurity (Oct. 21, 2016, 1:01 PM).

6 Jim Michaels, Exclusive: Inside the anti-Islamic State air campaign command center, USA Today, (Sept. 13, 2016).

7 Henckaerts & Doswald-Beck, supra note 1, at 46.

8 Kristina Wong, US aim for ‘zero civilian casualties’ draws criticism, The Hill (June 24, 2015, 6:00 AM).

9 Curtis E. Lemay Center for Doctrine Development and Education, Annex 1-04 Legal Support to Operation 30 (2012).

10 John Michael Loh, ISIS campaign is unjustified, Daily Press (Feb. 6, 2016, 6:18 PM).

11 Department of Defense, Law of War Manual (Dec 2016).

12 Henckaerts & Doswald-Beck, supra note 1, at 3, 19–24.

13 Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., Exclusive: Hays Parks on Human Shields and Restrictive Rules of Engagement, Lawfire (Oct. 17, 2016).

14 Charles J. Dunlap, Jr. DoD Law of War Manual and Its Critics: Some Observations, 92 Int'l L. Stud. 85 (2016).

15 This runs counter to the DoD General Counsel's predication in a late November (2016) that the revised Manual would assert that both voluntary and involuntary human shields “would not be considered to be directly participating in hostilities and would not thereby lose their protections from attack.” Hon. Jennifer O'Connor, Applying the Law of Targeting to the Modern Battlefield, (Nov. 28, 2016).

16 Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., A Squarable Circle?: The Revised DoD Law of War Manual and the Challenge of Human Shields, JustSecurity, (Dec. 15, 2016).

17 Id.

18 Michael Gross, The Paradox of Using Human Shields in War, Ethics & Int'l Aff. (Oct. 6, 2014).

19 Henckaerts & Doswald-Beck, supra note 1, at 46.

20 Id. at 29.

21 Id.

22 Oona Hathaway, The Law of War Manual's Threat to the Principle of Proportionality, JustSecurity (June 23, 2016).

25 Ahmed Rasheed, ISIS suffers near collapse in oil revenue as it loses territory in Iraq, Business Insider (July 28, 2016, 9:00 AM).

26 Kris Osborn, Why Raytheon's New Small Diameter Bomb II Could be a Game Changer, The Nat'l Int. (Sept. 24, 2016).

27 Michaels, supra note 2.

28 Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., The Hyper-Personalization of War: Cyber, Big Data, and the Changing Face of Conflict, 15 Geo. J. Int'l Aff. 108 (2014).

31 The quote is from Jonathan Alexander, Optional Lethality, Harv. Int'l Rev. (May 6, 2006).

32 Michael A. Newton, Reconsidering Reprisals, 20 Duke J. Comp. & Int'l L. 361 (2009).

33 Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., Lawfare, in National Security Law (John Norton Moore & Robert F. Turner eds., 2015).

34 Sean Watts, Reciprocity and the Law of War, 50 Harv. Int'l L.J. 365 (2008).

35 Ben Taub, Does Anyone in Syria Fear International Law?, New Yorker, (Aug. 31, 2016).

36 Kimberly Dozier, International Red Cross Chief to World: ‘What the Hell?’, The Daily Beast (May 2, 2016).

38 Peters, supra note 3.

39 Patrick Porter, Sorry, Folks. There Is No Rules-Based World Order., The Nat'l Int. (Aug. 28, 2016).

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