subject:International humanitarian law
format: oscola (put footnotes)
This is about humanitarian law, war law that have some convections and protocols to be aplicable, and is not just at the end. The whole coursework is about the Geneva conventions and the additional protocols.
On 12 May 2016 the State of Cataria declares war against the State of Tumberland. A couple of days later a group of individuals living in the region of East Foxy that belongs to Tumberland enter into Cataria. They are armed and randomly attack persons on the streets of two Catarian cities along the border in a region called West Foxy. This is however causing panic all over the country and sporadic attacks against Tumberland nationals are taking place. Cataria replies to these attacks by deploying special police forces in all Catarian cities. A state of emergency is declared in Cataria. All over the country groups of Catarian nationals fearing for their lives create armed neighbourhood watch groups. They often coordinate their actions with some police forces and attack Tumberland nationals who are residing in Cataria. By the end of June 2016 over 300 Tumberland nationals are killed or detained in Cataria. It is unclear whether they are local residents of Cataria or whether they entered into Cataria in May 2016. Tumberland asks for the matter to be examined by the Security Council which on 16 July 2016 passes a resolution asking for the parties to the conflict to settle the dispute peacefully. In July and August 2016 an increasing number of individuals from Tumberland are crossing the border and carrying out attacks in Catarian cities. In parallel, similar attacks are carried out in Tumberland. On 28 August 2016 Critman, the former mayor of Foxtown, the capital of the region of East Foxy, declares that his group ‘Foxy Free’ wants the reunification of East Foxy with West Foxy and appeals to the local population to join him in the fight against Tumberland and Cataria. The local police of Foxtown joins him in the fight against Tumberland, systematically attacking all governmental buildings. The units are organised around former police officers able to coordinate these attacks. On 2 September the President of Cataria strikes a secret deal with Critman: his government will provide training, ammunition and troops if Critman agrees for a reunification of West Foxy and East Foxy under the control of Cataria. By mid-January 2017 the armed forces of Tumberland which were deployed two months earlier are withdrawing from East Foxy. By the beginning of February 2017 East Foxy is under the control of Critman and his troops. In the meantime on 15 December 2016 Cataria using the mayhem in Tumberland launches airborne attacks on the territory of Tumberland and on 6 March 2017 deploys ground troops.
1. Characterise the nature of the conflict(s) over the period of time 12 May 2016 and 6 March 2017. For each period of time, explain which legal instruments are applicable. (30 marks)
In March 2017 Catarian troops are approaching the capital of Tumberland. The Catarian commander of the artillery unit has obtained information that members of the armed forces of Tumberland sleep in the sports hall of a secondary school located in a residential area. He has no information on whether the school is being used for its original purpose. He orders his company to capture the school building and neutralise the soldiers. The attack is scheduled for the night. However, as his company approaches buildings around the school they come under heavy fire and are unable to identify wherefrom. In any case, the soldiers are clearly outnumbered, and the commander, estimating it being too dangerous to proceed, orders them to withdraw and calls for an air attack on the school and nearby buildings. A couple of hours later, as they enter that part of the capital they cannot find any proof of the presence of armed forces of Tumberland in the area.
2. Was this military operation lawful? (20 marks)
The armed forces of Cataria have suffered casualties and are sent to a field hospital where doctors discover that the bullets used by the enemy provoke severe injuries in human bodies. In fact, it appears that the bullets turn inside the body, their kinetic energy is transferred to neighbouring tissues and their shock-wave damage relatively distant organs.
3. Has Tumberland violated international humanitarian law by using such ammunition? (10 marks)
A Catarian soldier who got separated from his fellow soldiers falls in the hands of the armed forces of Tumberland. Tumberland soldiers bring him to a local prison where his name and rank are entered into a registry. He is placed in a cell. Two hours later two men enter the room and ask him to confess that he is a rebel working for Critman. During the interrogation he is repeatedly beaten and electroshocks are applied to his feet and hands. He receives a portion of food once a day and a cup of water three times a day. At night loud music is preventing him from sleeping. A week later a Prosecutor informs him that he has been charged with breaching several provisions of the criminal code of Tumberland. Before the trial the soldier is forced to sign a paper confessing to his crimes and told that by doing so his sentence will be reduced to 10 years in prison. At the trial the judge sentences him to the death penalty and he is executed the next day.
4. Has Tumberland violated international humanitarian law in its treatment of the Catarian soldier? (20 marks)
A group of five Catarian soldiers enter a house in Tumberland and discover a group of young women hiding in a cellar. As they realise that there are no members of the armed forces, three of them leave the house to join another group of soldiers that enters the next house. Two others stay behind. In the evening these two men are exchanging comments on the women. Words such as ‘she kept on screaming but I am sure she enjoyed it’, ‘not too bad for a Tumberland girl’, ‘the younger one was particularly entertaining’ can be overheard by the other soldiers, including the commander.
5. Are the actions of these two soldiers lawful? (20 marks)
NB: All States involved are parties to the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.