Fighting Global Terrorism Must Not Undermine the Integrity and Relevance of IHL

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the 5th Review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in New York, June 30-July 1, 2016. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the 5th Review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in New York, June 30-July 1, 2016. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Stéphane Ojeda, Deputy Head & Legal Advisor for the ICRC delegation in New York wrote a compelling piece this week for the Humanitarian Law & Policy Blog. For nearly 20 years, the United Nations General Assembly's Sixth Committee, which deals with legal affairs, has been struggling in a drafting impasse on the originally Indian-sponsored draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT). Both 9/11 and and the recent rise of Islamic State group led to surges in negotiation activities, but the results have just confirmed the existence of long-standing divergent positions.

In his piece, Ojeda writes that branding an armed group as “terrorist” cannot alone cancel the applicability of international humanitarian law (IHL). The vast majority of contemporary armed conflicts involve non-State armed groups with which the law of armed conflict can be addressed. In three important clarifications of the law, Ojeda shows why counter-terrorism efforts – including the ongoing negotiation of the CCIT – should take care not to undermine the integrity and relevance of IHL, as well as ongoing efforts to bring armed groups to comply with the law.

To read his full article, click here