Use of Force, and International Humanitarian Law
The multi-faction insurgency that has been tearing Iraq apart ever since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003 has often involved the use of such crude and indiscriminate methods and means of warfare as the suicide bomb and the improvised explosive device. But in mid-2014 there were reports that some aspects of the armed conflict had risen to unexpected heights of contemporary sophistication, with the apparent use of cyberspace as a domain for hostilities.
The U.S. State Department recently announced a new policy for exports of military drones (unmanned aerial vehicles). Military drones are today’s most sophisticated tools for aerial surveillance, capable of persistent and distant overflight of any terrain. While not all military drones can fire weapons, armed drones have generated controversy because of their prominent role in targeted killings of foreign and American supporters of terrorist organizations.
Humanitarian intervention as a basis for using force against another nation, or within another nation’s territory, is not without its own set of legal challenges and criticisms. Russia’s justification for using force in the Crimean peninsula, in the wake of repeated calls for intervention in Syria, highlights difficulties associated with humanitarian intervention as a basis for the use of force.
On September 29, 2014 it may have become considerably harder for civilian and military superiors to avoid criminal liability for mass sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) after a landmark conviction by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was affirmed on appeal. In the trial judgement for The Prosecutor v.