Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Research Student: Dr Van Hai Le

The Challenge of Asymmetric Warfare to Jus in Bello: Should International Law Be Modified and if so How?

Jus in bello was developed to govern European warfare, in which there was a clear distinction between combatant and civilian populations. Contemporary asymmetric warfare is very different from European wars of the past. The transformation of warfare thus challenges the relevance of jus in bello. This paper will examine these challenges, focusing in particular on the blurring between combatant and non-combatant status in asymmetric warfare and non-state status of the asymmetric enemy. The paper argues that while the principles of jus in bello should be preserved, some amendments to international laws of war are needed to govern the transformation of contemporary warfare. One such amendment should be giving the asymmetric enemy combatants POW status when captured. The paper concludes by demonstrating how such an amendment would be an incentive for such combatants to abide by the international law of war.

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