SFB Governance working paper series / Englische Ausgabe ; 40
341 International law 343 Military, tax, trade, industrial law 355 Military science
In this paper, the author addresses the question of whether armed groups’ courts are suitable to enforce international humanitarian law. The ensuing question of whether the existence of these courts conforms to international law is answered in the affirmative: international humanitarian law and human rights law do not in principle prohibit the operation of such courts. Adjudication by armed groups has a relatively high potential to deter the groups’ fighters from committing violations of international humanitarian law. This is to a large extent because convictions by armed groups’ courts gain more attention among fighters than convictions by national or international criminal courts. However, the empirical record of armed groups’ courts is mixed. The African armed groups examined in this paper violated international humanitarian law, including due process guarantees. Yet, they showed more respect for civilians than many armed groups without their own jurisdiction.
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