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Fighting at the Legal BoundariesControlling the Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict$
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Kenneth Watkin

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190457976

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190457976.001.0001

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The Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law Interface

The Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law Interface

(p.121) 5 The Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law Interface
Fighting at the Legal Boundaries

Kenneth Watkin

Oxford University Press

This chapter highlights the exclusionary interpretations applied to the two foundational bodies of law, human rights law and humanitarian law, which regulate the use of force in modern society. It sets out the history of that relationship, their common roots, as well as the impact periods of neglect, forced integration, divergence, and now growing reconciliation have had on their interface. The analysis highlights that masked behind the exclusionary arguments is the reality that human rights norms have always been an integral part of humanitarian law, and military forces have long had to apply a law enforcement approach during armed conflict. As States have increasingly had to address threats posed by organized armed groups operating among the people, often in the ungoverned spaces of the world, they are placed in a position of considering not only the overlap of these two bodies of law but also their increasing convergence in application.

Keywords:   civil and political rights, right to life, human rights, use of force, terrorism, insurgents and insurrection, humanitarian law

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