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.
Treaties & Documents
Treaties & Documents
Treaties & Documents
1949 Conventions &
& 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: ...
"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..."
University of Nottingham School of Law (Dissertation)
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.
"...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..."
United Nations - Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
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.
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.
"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."
"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."
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.
"...This memorandum describes a Myanmar military counterinsurgency offensive that
involved the widespread targeting of civilians in northern Kayin State and eastern Bago
Division. Myanmar Army soldiers fired mortars at villages, opened fire on fleeing
villagers, destroyed homes, laid landmines in civilian locations, forced villagers to work
and porter, and captured and executed civilians. The impact on the population was
massive. Tens of thousands of individuals were displaced during the campaign and many
were killed. In Thandaung Township—the area which was the focus of the Clinic’s
investigation—nearly every village was affected by the Offensive and almost all of the
villagers residing in black areas were forced to flee.
Evidence collected by the Clinic during the investigation demonstrates that the actions
of Myanmar Army personnel during the Offensive constitute crimes under international
criminal law. These crimes include the war crimes of attacking civilians, displacing
civilians, destroying or seizing the enemy’s property, pillage, murder, execution without
due process, torture, and outrages upon personal dignity, and the crimes against
humanity of forcible transfer of a population, murder, enslavement, torture, and other
inhumane acts. The Clinic has also collected evidence relevant to the war crime of rape,
as well as the crimes against humanity of rape and persecution. More research and
analysis is necessary to determine whether these crimes could be included in a criminal
case associated with the Offensive..."
International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School
"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."
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.
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..."
"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."