Riddled someone you love ever again may

Riddled
by bullets, torn apart by explosion, caught in between bricks of walls that
came crashing down, losing a life while living in the most cautious way
possible and not knowing when might be the last time you see a familiar face of
someone you love ever again may be the fate of every innocent civilian caught
in between an armed conflict between two or more states that leech on power and
supremacy over the other state/states not knowing the damage and the life of
innocent children, adults or even families that are at stake of being
diminished in a split of a second from the destructive  impact of attacks throughout these armed
conflicts.

War
is a cold and petrifying period for many but mainly for civilians that are caught
in between this hot mess. The laws regulated to provide protection for innocent
lives such as civilians are known as International Humanitarian Laws (IHL) and
its main purpose is to limit and prevent human suffering in times of armed
conflict. Part II and Part III of the Geneva Convention Relative to the
Protection of Civilian Persons in times of War of 12 August 1949 sets out an
umbrella of provisions that should be adhered to by states in periods of
conflicts of war. But with all these piles of rules and regulations in times of
war that are still at a constant occurrence as of now, civilians still pay a
hefty price in having to deal with the consequences of it. Bearing that in
mind, the issue arises as to what may be a possible solution or even suggestion
to curb this problem?

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First
and foremost, adherence of International
Humanitarian Laws by states or non-state actors should be strengthened and
respected 1as
it is a prerequisite requirement in order to halt the brutal violation that are
driving an endless cycle of violence and devastation to the civilians. Lack of
compliance only exacts a hefty price on civilian. IHL should not be taken
lightly by states but rather in a more serious approach as lives are being
stringed along with it in its lack of adherence by member states. With that
being said, if a breach of IHL occurs, punishment should be implemented in a
very stringent manner in order for states to be mindful of the consequences of
war. Few of the existing punishment available are by firstly being liable to
pay compensation if the act of the party violates any provision laid down in
any Conventions and also that of imposing sanctions on an offending state. One
of the most common forms of sanction has been an embargo on trade or weapons.

 Embargo is known to be one of the forceful
types of economy sanctions. A clear measure was taken in Iraq during the Gulf War where Saddam Hussein, Iraqi
leader in the 1990s ordered the invasion and also occupation of neighboring
country Kuwait believing it was initially part of Iraq and was intentionally
carved out by the British for imperialistic reasons. Kuwait was also a land
rich with oil and was economically able to lift Iraq from its economic hole
which was caused by the extended war with Iran. However, Kuwait’s invasion by
Iraq flared the western countries and it provoked the United Nations
resolutions condemning Iraq’s invasion as well as imposing an economic sanction
on Iraq for failing to comply with International Humanitarian Laws imposed by
the United Nations2.
Jacques Forster 3,
member of the governing body of the International Committee of the Red Cross,
said that the lack of political will to fully acknowledge and respect
humanitarian laws and any other applicable rules remained as one of the main
impediment and obstruction in fully articulating protection for civilians in
times of armed conflicts. 

In
order to achieve such heights of adherence from States, one must have the accurate information on violation and
this would enhance compliances with the law and also for an effective response
from States. For a clearer picture, in 2005 the Security Council Resolution
16124
which was established by the United Nation’s agencies and other actors was an
impactful mechanism for the collection of information on six particular
violations against children in armed conflict.

Similarly
in our present situation, information gathering arrangements could be arranged
in relation to other IHL violations in order to alleviate the casualties that
are caused in an armed conflict. With the advancement of technology, fact
finding mechanisms have been established and should be put to proper use.

Clarity
and precision of purpose of the mechanism and its operating quality is a very
critical part in this process as justifying one’s wrongdoings may be an eye
opener as to the why international humanitarian laws are modeled in the way it
is and this may encourage and motivate parties to armed conflicts to cooperate
with the process. Without prejudice the to the role of the International
Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission 5which
was established under Article 90 of Additional Protocol 1 which brings together
independent experts from relevant fields, should draw on its expertise, even on
an ad hoc basis.

Another
effective solution that could provide increased protection for civilians in
time of armed conflicts would be that of stronger
and more sustainable partnerships between countries in conflict and the United
Nations system that systematically identifies their various protection needs6.
Prevention of casualties, protection of civilians and impunity could only be
bridged by a combined action by all of the parties concerned in a conflict
setting their hatred and ego aside for a minute to thing of the consequences
that may follow if they were to go through with an armed conflict against each
other.

This
doesn’t only involve the individual States but also the international community
and the United Nations agencies. This step would seek to achieve agreement
between parties to a dispute with a view of preventing a violent conflict. The
activities concerned in this field would be through mediation or facilitating
talks or reconciliation between conflicted States. A Mediation Support Unit 7 established
in the 2006 has been set up by the United Nation Secretariat which can be use
to facilitate mediation and provide services such as operational support to
peace processes and providing advice to resolve issues between conflicting
states. This Mediation Support Unit should be emphasized and regulated more
often and especially to conflicting states. Opportunities for exerting
influence on parties are the greatest if communication with all parties concern
takes place at an early stage of the conflict and before any violence has been
erupted. This would not only be a breakthrough to ensure peace and harmony on
earth but would also save the hundreds of millions innocent lives that suffer pain
and injury or sometimes even death.

Besides
that, establishing a dedicated focal
point on IHL in the United Nations such as a Special Representative who acts as
a neutral person in dealing with conflicts between countries and one that is
not politically inclined. The United Nation system should establish a
permanent and a dedicated position in order to supervise and focus mainly on
the international humanitarian laws. This position if created would be of great
value in raising concerns and awareness of violations and protection
challenges. This would be an independent and impartial monitoring of incidents
involving loss of lives or injury to civilians and such institutional
arrangement could reduce the risk of being much politically inclined and the
mandate of the Special Representative for IHL could be developed slowly but
progressively as states would gain confidence in the position. A more precise
picture would emerge clearly distinguishing what is necessary and what is
possible and practical to be done in a convenient manner as it is a meticulous
duty to deal with conflicts involving states that are only interested in their
own welfare and benefits.

Another
solution that can be discussed in order to provide a more wholesome protection
for the civilians is by all parties involved in an armed conflict should avoid using explosive weapons that
has a high and wide impact area in a populated place. The United Nations
should restrict or even ban the usage of such explosives in an armed conflict
as this act of using very dangerous explosive weapons don’t only discriminate
civilian’s death and injury but it can also cause extensive damage to critical
infrastructure such as health care centers and education centers which
eventually leads disruption in the convenience of a civilian’s life as it is
under the laws of international humanitarian law that civilians must not only
be protected from such attacks from the impacts of conflict but must also be
able to go about their daily lives. But in every case of armed conflict more
than often we see the fabric of communities being destroyed and eroded away.
Hence, lead politicians that call the shots on an attack on another state
should bear in mind the grave consequences that these attacks serve to the
innocent public in general and try their level best to minimize the impact of
destruction or find an alternative way in handling the issue at hand instead of
an act of hostility.

Last
but not least, in order to increase the protection of civilians the United
Nations could systematically incorporate the International Humanitarian Law
into military manuals and operational order and directives as a constant
reminder in times of war.

In
a nutshell, I would like to quote a prominent International Committee of the
Red Cross war surgeon who has worked in conflicts across the world Doctor Marco
Baldan that said “As I stand in the emergency theatre, operating patients torn
apart physically by explosion and mentally and emotionally by their
surroundings, I wish a handful of prime politicians in war-torn countries could
join me. Would their decisions be any different if faced on a day to day basis
with the human cost of war in its most raw manifestation? It does not have to
be like this, the people in the room today have the power to make a change for
a better tomorrow and to ensure the protection of civilians from the worst
impact of war and violence.”

 

 

 

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