International Law, War and Human Rights: The Humanitarian Response

Research output: Other contribution


One of the most important issues in the international political and legal system comprises the interaction between human rights and humanitarian law. In particular, the separate treatment of such areas of law allows to delineate different contents and application procedures, while the joint consideration is not simple, in view of the reasons for which each of the two has been created. Humanitarian law is a set of rules of conduct limited to a political and legal situation pathological, and presumably temporary. Against this regulatory system, the international law of human rights is the establishment of a political and legal concept of man as endowed with certain inalienable rights that constitutes an obstacle to the arbitrary use of force by states in the international community. The aim of the paper is to identify the conflicts arising from the interaction between these regulatory systems, starting from the “exemption clauses”, the circumstances in which occurs the suspension of fundamental rights of the individual in the face of an imminent public emergency. These circumstances are the basis of humanitarian law which serves as a guarantee transient. Feedback regulatory useful is Article 15 of the European Convention of Human Rights, concerning the exemption in case of emergencies. Moreover, it is necessary to analyze the containment of the war between the States, establishing whether humanitarian law is a possible exception to human rights, in view of armed conflict. The four Geneva Conventions provide measures for the suppression of international crimes such as torture and inhuman and degrading treatment or murder, proceeding on the basis of the principle of “universal jurisdiction”. Therefore, a key objective is to determine whether humanitarian law generates a full-fledged “State of exception”, on the basis of global warfare scenario, where there are situations of chronic emergency (Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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