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Who Is Protected by International Humanitarian Law

Theoretically, humanitarian law uses the term protected persons only in the context of international armed conflicts, as the exact term is not used in relation to internal armed conflicts. Nevertheless, for the sake of simplicity, we will use it in this post to qualify the notion of protection to which individuals are entitled, including in non-international conflicts. International humanitarian law identifies a total of fifteen categories of protected persons in international armed conflicts and five in internal conflicts. The ICRC also provides training in international humanitarian law and supports National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies by providing first-aid courses for journalists. – the entire civilian population: all civilians must be protected from the effects of hostilities, i.e. they must not be attacked (Art. 48-51). They must also be able to obtain all necessary repairs (CGIV Art. 23, API Art. 68-71). They also benefit from the fundamental guarantees protected by the Conventions (GCI-IV Common Art. 3, API Art. 75); International humanitarian law (IHL), also known as the law of armed conflict, is the law that governs war (jus in bello).

[1] [2] It is a branch of international law that seeks to limit the effects of armed conflict by protecting persons not taking part in hostilities and by limiting and regulating the means and methods of warfare available to combatants. The European Commission, through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Division (ECHO), promotes respect for international humanitarian law and principles worldwide. Examples of activities supported by the European Commission include: It is not true that other media professionals who fall into the hands of a warring party have no protection. On the contrary, the legal protection to which they are entitled is quite extensive. By the way, this point is often overlooked. First, if they are not nationals of the country in which they are accommodated, they benefit from all the relevant guarantees offered by the Fourth Geneva Convention. Furthermore, whatever the circumstances, journalists and other media professionals must always enjoy at least the fundamental guarantees provided for in Article 75 of Additional Protocol I, a provision prohibiting, inter alia, attacks on the life or health of persons at the hands of a party to an armed conflict, torture of any kind, outrages upon personal dignity and hostage-taking. It also guarantees a fair trial for those imprisoned for criminal offences.

Detained media workers enjoy the same fundamental safeguards, whether their detention is in the context of an international or non-international armed conflict. As civilians, journalists in non-international armed conflict are protected by Article 3, which is common to the four Geneva Conventions, Additional Protocol II and customary international law. IHL is based on the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Conflict of 1949 and the Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005. The principles guiding and protecting humanitarian action in armed conflict are also based on international humanitarian law. This includes rules to ensure that “embedded journalists” is a modern term. It was apparently first used during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and has since become widely used. It does not appear in any provision of international humanitarian law and, as far as I know, it is not clearly defined. However, it is safe to say that war correspondents are often, but not necessarily in all cases, equated with “embedded journalists”. To become a war correspondent within the meaning of international humanitarian law, official accreditation by the armed forces is mandatory. So, if an “embedded journalist” has received official accreditation, then legally he is a war correspondent.

To name just a few examples from a long list of history. Fritz Munch summarizes historical military practice before 1800: “The essential points seem to be the following: in battles and in cities taken by force, combatants and non-combatants were killed and property destroyed or looted.” [15] In the 17th century, the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius, widely regarded as the founder or father of international law, wrote that “wars, in order to achieve their objectives, it cannot be denied, must use violence and terror as their most appropriate agents.” [16] Representatives of the Protecting Powers and the ICRC have the right to visit any place where protected persons are present (CGIV Art. 130). This possibility will be extended to other aid organisations. International humanitarian law protects large numbers of people and property during armed conflict. The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols protect the sick, wounded and shipwrecked not taking part in hostilities, prisoners of war and other prisoners, civilians and civilian objects. Read more Nationals of a neutral State who are on the territory of a belligerent State and nationals of an ally of the belligerent State (“co-contentious State”) are not considered protected persons as long as their State, of which they are nationals, maintains a normal diplomatic mission in the State in which they are present (CGIV Art. 4). The Geneva Conventions establish specific rights for protected persons to protection and assistance in times of international or internal armed conflict.

The denial of protected person status constitutes a serious violation of humanitarian law (CGIV Art. 29). The International Criminal Tribunals have considered the definitions of categories of persons protected by the four Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols. The aim was to ensure that these categories were compatible with the evolution and diversity of modern situations and forms of conflict, particularly with regard to types of ethnic conflict. In the Celebici case (16 November 1998), the ICTY Trial Chamber held that the Fourth Geneva Convention appeared to limit the concept of protected persons to those who, at any time and in any manner in the event of conflict or occupation, are in the hands of a party to the conflict or an occupying power of which they are not nationals (para. 236). However, the judges considered it necessary to interpret the law in such a way that humanitarian conventions could serve their protective objectives in order to maintain the relevance and effectiveness of the standards of the Geneva Conventions (para. 266). Journalists and other media workers are at risk of arbitrary detention for perceived security reasons.



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