Rules, Controversies, and Solutions to Problems Arising in Warfare
Chapter 6: Scope of application: when does IHL apply?
One of IHL’s distinguishing features is that it does not apply to all people in all places at all times. Except for rules that are also applicable in peacetime, IHL applies only to armed conflicts. This chapter will examine IHL’s material, geographical, temporal and personal (active and passive) scope of application as well as the concept of nexus. As IHL only applies to armed conflicts, its material scope requires understanding what constitutes an armed conflict. Its geographical scope relates to determining where IHL applies if an armed conflict exists, while its temporal scope addresses the period of time IHL applies. IHL’s active and passive personal scope of application addresses who is bound and who is protected by IHL, respectively. Finally, we will also examine the concept of nexus that determines which acts committed during an armed conflict are governed by IHL.
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