Healthcare in conflict: Do armed groups have obligations and responsibilities?
Project Commenced: 01/01/2017
Project Completion Date: 31/12/2019
Other staff or partners
Health & Human Rights Unit, School of Law, Queen's University Belfast
The aim of the project is to critically examine the emerging obligations and responsibilities of armed non-state actors to secure access to health care and life-saving conditions of populations under their influence or control. To this end, it analyses the organisational, institutional and military capacities as well as the normative characteristics that armed non-state actors should have to
a) apply existing international humanitarian law applicable to situations of non-international armed conflict; as well as to potentially comply with either
b) an adapted law of occupation; or
c) so-called ‘responsibilities for human rights’; or
d) human rights obligations.
The project adopts a holistic approach by engaging with these four legal alternatives to bind ANSAs as well as by doing so through a thorough doctrinal legal analysis guided by normative (human rights/international humanitarian law) theory and an extensive analysis of numerous armed non-state actors’ actual ‘practice’ and ‘opinio iuris’. Thematically, the focus is on armed non-state actors’ potential obligations and responsibilities in relation to law-making, the administration of justice and securing access to health care and humanitarian assistance. The holistic approach allows the project to advance legally-grounded, practice-informed and normatively compelling suggestions of how existing international law binding armed non-state actors should be interpreted and how it should be developed to enhance the protection of individuals who find themselves under the control or influence of armed non-state actors.
Development is needed in particular for situations in which insufficient protection is offered by international humanitarian law of non-international armed conflicts, i.e. when no armed conflict exists and when international humanitarian law of non-international armed conflict thus does not apply; and where gaps exist in international humanitarian law of non-international armed conflict.
Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship