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International Law

  • Principles of international law

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: Audio-Visual Library of International Law
    Description/subject: "...The Audiovisual Library is a unique, multimedia resource which provides the United Nations with the unprecedented capacity to provide high quality international law training and research materials to an unlimited number of recipients on a global level. The Audiovisual Library consists of three pillars: (1) the Historic Archives containing documents and audiovisual materials relating to the negotiation and adoption of significant legal instruments under the auspices of the United Nations and related agencies since 1945; (2) theLecture Series featuring a permanent collection of lectures on virtually every subject of international law given by leading international law scholars and practitioners from different countries and legal systems; and (3) theResearch Libraryproviding an on-line international law library with links to treaties, jurisprudence, publications and documents, scholarly writings and research guides. The Audiovisual Library is available to all individuals and institutions around the world for free via the Internet..."
    Language: English (Also available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish)
    Source/publisher: United Nations
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 21 December 2010


  • International Humanitarian Law (Laws of War)

    • International Humanitarian Law (standards and mechanisms)

      Websites/Multiple Documents

      Title: International Humanitarian Law
      Description/subject: International Humanitarian Law database; the Conventions and number of other documents and commentaries; The law of war: information for defence and military staff; National Implementation of International Humanitarian law - and other publications.
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
      Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


      Title: International Humanitarian Law - Treaties & Documents
      Description/subject: Treaties & Documents by topic... Treaties & Documents by date... Treaties & Documents by Country... 1949 Conventions & Additional Protocols, & their Commentaries.....The results of research on customary humanitarian law conducted in 2005 are now available in database form. The new database provides rapid access to the rules of customary IHL and enables users to examine practice around the world. Regular updates will include further examples of national practice. The database can be accessed at: ...
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
      Format/size: html
      Date of entry/update: 19 January 2012


      Title: Results of a google search for International Humanitarian Law
      Description/subject: Results retrieved January 2012
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Google
      Format/size: html
      Date of entry/update: 18 January 2012


      Title: Wikipedia entry for International Humanitarian Law
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Wikipedia
      Format/size: html
      Date of entry/update: 18 January 2012


      Individual Documents

      Title: INTERNATIONAL LEGAL PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN ARMED CONFLICT
      Date of publication: 2011
      Description/subject: "...This publication provides a thorough legal analysis and guidance to State authorities, human rights and humanitarian actors and others on the application of international human rights law and international humanitarian law for the protection of persons in armed conflict. It addresses, in particular, the complementary application of these two bodies of law. It does not aim to cover all relevant aspects, but seeks instead to provide an overview of their concurrent application. It provides the necessary legal background and analysis of the relevant notions, in order for the reader to better understand the relationship between both bodies of law, as well as the implications of their complementary application in situations of armed conflict..."
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: United Nations - Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
      Format/size: pdf (911K) 124 pages
      Date of entry/update: 18 January 2012


      Title: Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
      Date of publication: 16 January 2002
      Description/subject: Text of the Rome Statute circulated as document A/CONF.183/9 of 17 July 1998 and corrected by process-verbaux of 10 November 1998, 12 July 1999, 30 November 1999, 8 May 2000, 17 January 2001 and 16 January 2002. The Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002.
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: International Criminal Court
      Format/size: pdf (218K)
      Date of entry/update: 06 March 2009


      Title: An examination of the usage of systematic sexual violence as a weapon of warfare and tool of repression in non-international armed conflicts
      Date of publication: 06 October 2000
      Description/subject: "In 1994, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women stated, “[rape] remains, the least condemned war crime; throughout history, the rape of hundreds of thousands of women and children in all regions of the world has been a bitter reality.” Despite the pervasiveness of sexual violence during periods of armed conflict, rape and other forms of sexual violence have traditionally been mischaracterized as private acts, the unfortunate but inevitable behaviour of individual soldiers. The revelations of the existence of ‘rape camps’ in Bosnia-Herzegovina, dramatically altered the awareness of systematic sexual violence against women as a facet of warfare. It has become recognised that sexual violence is not purely an unfortunate ancillary effect of armed conflict but rather a tool by which the civilian population is terrorized, dominated, driven from their homes and destroyed. However, although the rapes in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia have attracted a wealth of academic discussion and analysis, numerous other occurrences of widespread and systematic sexual violence have received comparatively little attention. This paper will focus on the systematic use of sexual violence against women in situations of non-international armed conflict, due to both the prevalence of internal conflicts in recent history, and the relative lack of legal provisions of international humanitarian law which apply to conflicts of this nature. The discussion will focus on the use of sexual violence as both a weapon of warfare, i.e. in order to actively achieve a specific political or military objective, and as a form of heinous repression by which the civilian population is dominated, though in practice the distinction between the two concepts may be somewhat fine. It is of the utmost importance to recognise that sexual violence happens systematically. It is only through acknowledging and responding to the occurrence of organised and strategic sexual violence that senior political and military officials can be held accountable. The term systematic is not used to denote the invention of a new crime, but rather to describe certain forms of sexual violence which have been deliberately planned or officially sanctioned by senior military or government figures for the achievement of a specific objective. Part One of the paper will detail the systematic use of sexual violence, in relation to internal armed conflicts and will outline the various purposes which sexual violence has been intended to achieve. Particular emphasis will be given to the conflicts in Peru, Rwanda and Kosovo, though the conflicts in Kashmir Sierra Leone, Liberia and Chechnya are also particularly pertinent to the discussion. Although the characterisation of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia has been the subject of varying determinations by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and is considered by several academics as having been both an international and a non-international conflict, the details of the mass rape which occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina have been well documented and will not be discussed in depth. Part One will also examine the factors which fuel systematic rape, with particular regard to the promulgation of gender and ethnicity based stereotypes and propaganda. Sexual violence in situations of armed conflict amounts to a clear breach of international law. Part Two will consider the importance of the fact that sexual violence has occurred systematically for the characterisation of such acts as violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. In this respect, the adequacy of international humanitarian law in relation not only to the physical victims but also to the witnesses of sexual violence warrants analysis, as sexual violence of this nature is often intended to cause harm to those other than the physical victims. Part Two will also examine the characterisation of rape as a crime against humanity and will analyse the genocidal rape discourse which has evolved following the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia..."
      Author/creator: Bob Last
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: University of Nottingham School of Law (Dissertation)
      Format/size: html (348K)
      Date of entry/update: 19 July 2004


      Title: Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and the 1977 Protocols
      Date of publication: 12 August 1949
      Description/subject: Myanmar ratification: 25 August 1992. See Article 3, commmon to all four Conventions, which covers conflict "not of an international character" i.e. civil war and other forms of internal conflict. Burma is a party to the Conventions but not to the Protocols.
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
      Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


      Title: Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 17 July 1998
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: ICRC
      Format/size: html
      Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


    • International Humanitarian Law (reports of violations in Burma)

      Websites/Multiple Documents

      Title: Association of Humanitarian Lawyers: Archive of Documents
      Description/subject: The Karen Parker Home Page for Humanitarian Law...Several written and oral statements on Burma to U. S. and U.N. bodies. Focus on international humanitarian law (laws of war, armed conflict. Keywords: Karen, Karenni, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, International law, violations of human rights law, violations of humanitarian law, armed conflict, Laws of War, Self-Determaination, United States Policy.
      Author/creator: Karen Parker
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: The Karen Parker Home Page for Humanitarian Law
      Format/size: html
      Alternate URLs: http://www.guidetoaction.org/parker/index.html">http://www.guidetoaction.org/parker/index.html
      http://www.guidetoaction.org/
      http://www.humanlaw.org/
      Date of entry/update: 19 November 2010


      Individual Documents

      Title: Attacks on Health and Education: Trends and incidents from eastern Burma, 2010-2011
      Date of publication: 06 December 2011
      Description/subject: "This report presents primary evidence of attacks on education and health in eastern Burma collected by KHRG during the period February 2010 to May 2011. Section I of this report details KHRG research methodology; Section II analyses general trends in armed conflict and details a loose typology of attacks identified during the reporting period. Section III applies this typology to 16 particularly illustrative incidents, and analyses them in light of relevant international humanitarian law and UN Security Council resolutions 1612, 1882 and 1998. These incidents were selected from a database detailing 59 attacks on civilians documented by KHRG between February 2010 and May 2011."
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: html. pdf (166K)
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg1105.html
      Date of entry/update: 19 January 2012


      Title: Definitional ambiguity and UNSCR 1998: Impeding UN-led responses to attacks on health and education in eastern Burma
      Date of publication: 06 December 2011
      Description/subject: "This paper highlights impediments to effective international responses to attacks on health and education in eastern Burma presented by lack of clarity regarding the meaning of “attacks” within the monitoring and reporting framework established by UN Security Council resolutions 1612 and 1998. In order to address this definitional ambiguity and enable recent developments in the UN Security Council to potentially provide support to communities facing attacks in eastern Burma, this paper argues for interpreting “attacks” in a fashion that is consistent with applicable international humanitarian law. The analysis below concludes that UN-led monitoring, reporting and response pursuant to UNSCRs 1612 and 1998 should include acts by parties to armed conflict that both: a) violate relevant international law; and b) attack or threaten to attack personnel related to schools or medical facilities and/ or destroy, damage or force the closure of a school or medical facility."
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (62K)
      Date of entry/update: 18 January 2012


      Title: Request for Inquiry: Service history of Myanmar Ambassador to South Africa
      Date of publication: 25 November 2011
      Description/subject: "This briefing document summarises research conducted by KHRG regarding the service history of Tatmadaw Brigadier General Myint Naung, and documented incidents of abuse reported to have been perpetrated by units Brigadier General Myint Naung may have commanded as Operation Commander of Tatmadaw Military Operation Command (MOC) #4. This information raises serious questions and concerns regarding the background of the current Myanmar Ambassador U Myint Naung. The South Africa government should therefore seek to obtain further information from the Myanmar government that can clarify the Ambassador's service record in the Tatmadaw, and follow up with inquiries regarding any specific incidents of serious abuse perpetrated by units under his command. Such steps are within South Africa's rights under international law governing diplomatic relations, and consistent with all states' duty under customary international humanitarian law to ensure respect for international humanitarian law erga omnes. KHRG believes that such an inquiry would contribute to raising opportunity costs for potential perpetrators of serious abuse in Burma as well as supporting domestic reforms, potentially precipitating positive changes in abusive Tatmadaw practices that could ultimately reduce the frequency with which certain abuses occur, while supporting the strategies used by local communities in Burma to claim their human rights on a day-to-day basis. This document was compiled by KHRG in response to queries by journalists and advocacy organisations in South Africa regarding the background of the Myanmar Ambassador."
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: html, pdf (842K)
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg1104.html
      Date of entry/update: 23 January 2012


      Title: Nyaunglebin Interview: Saw My---, May 2011
      Date of publication: 04 August 2011
      Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted by a KHRG researcher in May 2011 with a villager from Ler Doh Township, Nyaunglebin District. The researcher interviewed Saw My---, a 45 year-old farmer who described his experiences when he was forced to leave his village in a mixed-administration area and live for two years in a neighbouring village, including specific incidents in which Tatmadaw soldiers fired small arms at children in school uniforms, forced women to serve as human shields for Tatmadaw columns during patrols, and ordered villagers at gunpoint to leave their homes and possessions during the rainy season. He further cited the following abuses: movement restrictions; forced labour; and arbitrary taxation and demands. Saw My--- also highlighted the difficulties his village currently faces accessing health care and education, but explained that villagers counter these difficulties by using traditional medicine and by hiring and supporting local teachers."
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
      Format/size: pdf (713K)
      Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2011/khrg11b22.html
      Date of entry/update: 18 February 2012


      Title: Dying Alive - A Legal Assessment of Human Rights Violations in Burma
      Date of publication: April 2005
      Description/subject: AN INVESTIGATION AND LEGAL ASSESSMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS INFLICTED IN BURMA, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE INTERNALLY DISPLACED, EASTERN PEOPLES..."For over a decade, the United Nations and Human Rights organisations have documented systematic and widespread human rights violations inflicted on the people of Burma generally, and on the ethnic people in particular. Most reports, however, with the exception of some references to Article Three of The Geneva Conventions, have refrained from conceptualizing the violations in terms of International Humanitarian Law. This report addresses that gap and, in the aftermath of the State organised ambush of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's convoy on May 30, 2003; the ongoing, widespread, systematic destruction of substantial parts of the eastern ethnic peoples; and the failure to end impunity, recommends a period of consultation, education and consensus building to explore the practicality, political appropriateness, and morality of applying and enforcing relevant International Humanitarian Law. This report analyses the human rights violations, identified by, amongst others, UN Special Rapporteurs for human rights and Amnesty International, and expressed in UN General Assembly Resolutions, that have been inflicted on the people of Burma for decades..." NOTE ON FORMAT: There is a glitch in the CD the online version is based on, with lines from the next page creeping onto the current page. This will be fixed eventually. There is also a plan to break the text up into managable chunks.
      Author/creator: Guy Horton
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: Guy Horton, Images Asia
      Format/size: pdf (4.7MB)
      Date of entry/update: 03 May 2006


      Title: Report to the Senate Foreign Operations Subcommittee
      Date of publication: 25 July 1995
      Description/subject: Testimony of Karen Parker J.D. before the Foreign Operations Sub-Committee Senate Appropriations Committee. " The three features of the situation of human rights in Burma described in my 1993 statement are still valid today: (1) the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) regime is illegitimate yet continues in power; (2) the regime continues to be particularly brutal; and (3) armed conflict continues, primarily involving the ethnic nationalities who have been fighting against the SLORC regime and its predecessor governments. Violations of armed conflict law, as set out in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and all customary humanitarian law, continue to be violated. Thus, the SLORC regime continues to commit grave war crimes..." Keywords: Karen, Karenni, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, International law, violations of human rights law, violations of humanitarian law, armed conflict, Laws of War, United States Policy.
      Author/creator: Karen Parker
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: The Karen Parker Home Page for Humanitarian Law
      Format/size: html
      Date of entry/update: 22 November 2010


      Title: Report to the U.S. House Subcomittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs(1993)
      Date of publication: 1993
      Description/subject: Testimony of Karen Parker J. D. before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Asian and Pacific Affairs. Main headings: Illegitimacy of SLORC; G ross violatoins of human rights; Armed Conflict; The NDF/DAB-SLORC War; The Karenni-SLORC War; U.S. Policy. "I am pleased to have this opportunity to provide the Sub- Committee with information regarding Burma and my views on what United States policy should be towards that country... This statement will set out the situation in Burma from the point of view of international law norms. It will also present actions taken at the United Nations and its human rights bodies, including a review of Aung San Suu Kyi's case at the Working Group. It will conclude with recommendations regarding United States policy. There are three salient features of the situation of human rights in Burma: (1) the current regime is illegitimate; (2) the regime is particularly brutal; and (3) there is wide scale armed conflict, primarily involving the ethnic nationalities who have been fighting against the SLORC regime and its predecessor governments..."
      Author/creator: Karen Parker
      Language: English
      Source/publisher: The Karen Parker Home Page for Humanitarian Law
      Date of entry/update: 22 November 2010


  • Burma/Myanmar's international legal obligations

    • Burma/Myanmar's obligations under the UN Charter and customary international law

      • Burma/Myanmar's obligations under the UN Charter and customary international law (commentaries)
        Look in the section on the UN System for the UN resolutions on the situation of human rights in Myanmar and the reports to the General Assembly and Commission on Human Rights of the Special Rapporteurs on Myanmar.

        Individual Documents

        Title: Myanmar: Justice on Trial
        Date of publication: 30 July 2003
        Description/subject: "On 22 May 2003 Amnesty International submitted a 29-page memorandum to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, Myanmar's military government), in order to provide the SPDC with the opportunity to comment on and to clarify various issues about the administration of justice raised in the document. The Memorandum reflected the organization's findings during its first visit to the country from 30 January to 8 February 2003, and drew on its institutional knowledge and expertise about both international human rights standards and human rights in Myanmar. The text of the original Memorandum has now been updated to reflect comments from the SPDC, which were received by Amnesty International on 9 July 2003. The updated Memorandum forms the text of this document, along with a summary of the current human rights situation in Myanmar... Since the submission of the Memorandum to the SPDC on 22 May, political tensions escalated sharply during a National League for Democracy (NLD) tour of Upper Myanmar, culminating in a violent attack on NLD leaders on 30 May. What follows below is a summary of both the attack and the subsequent deterioration in the human rights situation in Myanmar. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD General Secretary, U Tin Oo, NLD Vice Chairman, and other NLD members had been travelling in Upper Myanmar, with the prior permission of the SPDC, during the month of May. As larger and larger crowds gathered to see the NLD leaders, tension increased between the NLD and the Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA), an organization established, organized, and supported by the SPDC.(1) NLD members and supporters were reportedly harassed, intimidated, and threatened by USDA members in various locations as they attempted to conduct their legitimate political party activities, including giving speeches and opening local NLD offices. However the SPDC reportedly did very little to diffuse tensions between the USDA and the NLD. While Amnesty International acknowledges the universal right to peacefully assemble and conduct protest demonstrations, the actions of the USDA went beyond such non-violent expressions of dissent. .."
        Language: English
        Source/publisher: Amnesty International
        Format/size: html
        Alternate URLs: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA16/019/2003
        http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=E8E42C86A0BF5F7980256D72004704AB&lang=e
        Date of entry/update: 19 November 2010