Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law
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Research Handbook on International Conflict and Security Law

Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello and Jus post Bellum

Edited by Nigel White and Christian Henderson

This innovative Research Handbook brings together leading international law scholars from around the world to discuss and highlight the contemporary debate regarding issues of conflict prevention and the legality of resorting to the use of armed force through to those arising during an armed conflict and in the phase between conflict and peace.
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Chapter 11: Protected persons in international armed conflicts

Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello and Jus post Bellum

Tom Ruys and Christian De Cock


On 24 June 1859, a Swiss merchant, aged 31, was clearly what most would label ‘in the wrong place, at the wrong time.’ Having travelled to Italy on a business mission, the young Henri Dunant was journeying in Castiglione delta Pieve on the exact day when the French and Sardinian armies clashed with the troops of the Austrian Emperor at the nearby village of Solferino. As the town was flooded with casualties, the sceneries witnessed by Dunant changed his life forever. Shocked by the lack of adequate care for the sick and wounded – with so many young men simply left to die on the battlefield – Dunant embarked on a crusade for the protection of those hors de combat. Dunant’s quest resulted in the creation, in 1863, of an international movement that would eventually become the International Committee of the Red Cross (hereinafter ‘ICRC’), as well as the adoption, one year later, of the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field. This Convention became the first instrument of what is sometimes referred to as the ‘Geneva Law’, viz. the branch of the law of armed conflict (hereinafter ‘LOAC’) dealing with the protection of persons in the hands of the enemy, as opposed to the ‘Hague Law’, which developed mainly from the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conferences and which focuses on the actual conduct of hostilities as such. The distinction between two analytically separate branches of LOAC has rightly been criticized as a chimera, primarily because the two have always intersected.

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