All Resources

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OPS Issue 3: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law

International human rights law and international humanitarian law are parallel and complementary branches of international law with their distinct and distinctive supervision arrangements. In the conflicts taking place in the world today, both the institutions of international humanitarian law...

May 2005
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  • "Public Enemy Number Two?: Rising Crime and Human Rights Advocacy in Transitional Societies,"

    On March 5, 2002, a special division of the São Paulo military police in Brazil positioned several vehicles with heavily armed ofªcers on a highway near Campinas. The police sought to intercept and ambush a truck transporting twelve suspects that their intelligence services had indicated was on...

    May 2005
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  • Security Management Initiative Progress Report

    The purpose of this note is to present a first report on the progress of the Security Management Initiative project as of March 15, 2005. This report covers the research and consultation phase, in preparation for the development of a draft curriculum and assessment tools, to be presented to an...

    Mar 2005
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  • The Pitfalls of Lawlessness: Disorder, Emergencies, and Conflict

    This paper examines the issues of disorder, emergency, and conflict and their management in a rule of law-based framework, with illustration from the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and the war in Iraq. Noting that the promotion of the rule of law by state...

    Feb 2005
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  • OPS Issue 2: Warriors Without Rights? Combatants, Unprivileged Belligerents, and the Struggle Over Legitimacy

    Combatancy has throughout the history of organized warfare been an exclusionary concept. Distinguishing between combatants and civilians has long represented an important aspect of warfare and has been recognized as the indispensable means by which humanitarian principles are injected into the...

    Jan 2005
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  • Towards a Common Security Framework: Securing Access and Managing Risks in Hazardous Missions

    International agencies are facing increasing levels of threats against their staff and activities in many of their operations. Since the end of the Cold War, these agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental alike, have been called to work more intensely in conflict areas.1 These areas have...

    Oct 2004
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  • OPS Issue 1: Legislation Under Article 43 of the Hague Regulations: Belligerent Occupation and Peacebuilding

    Article 43 of the Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, annexed to Hague Convention (II) of 1899 and (IV) of 1907, is the linchpin of the international law of belligerent occupation. Two diverse obligations are imposed on the Occupying Power by Hague Article 43: (a) to...

    Oct 2004
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  • The Dilemmas Relating to Legislation Under Article 43 of the Hague Regulations, and Peace-Building Jun 2004
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  • Improving Compliance with International Humanitarian Law

    Over the years, states, supported by other actors, have devoted considerable effort to devising and implementing in peacetime preventive measures aimed at ensuring better respect for international humanitarian law (IHL). Dissemination of IHL generally, within academic circles and among armed...

    Jun 2004
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  • Legitimate Targets of Attacks Under International Humanitarian Law

    According to an uncontroversial principle of customary international humanitarian law (IHL), parties to an armed conflict must distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives. In order to spare civilians and the civilian population...

    Jun 2004
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  • Article 43 of the Hague Regulations and Peace Operations in the Twenty-First Century

    Under Article 43 of the Hague Regulations, an occupying power must restore and maintain public order and civil life, including public welfare, in an occupied territory. This is not a result it has to achieve, but an aim it has to pursue with all available proportionate means not prohibited by...

    Jun 2004
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  • Combatants, Unprivileged Belligerents and Conflicts in the 21st Century

    At the dawn of the 21st century international humanitarian law2 is facing a number of significant challenges. The events since 11 September 2001 in particular have focused a bright spotlight on issues such as: the law governing conflict between states and nonstate actors; the criteria to be...

    Jun 2004
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  • The Temporal Scope of Application of International Humanitarian Law in Contemporary Conflicts

    When does the application of international humanitarian law properly begin and end in modern conflicts? Classical international law distinguished three types of armed conflict: (1) war; (2) civil war; and (3) armed hostilities short of war. The laws of war were applicable in time of war--from...

    Jun 2004
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  • Computers and War: The Legal Battlespace

    The use of computers in modern warfare stretches back over decades. Computers have been employed for functions that range from managing materiel and personnel flows into an area of operations to sorting intelligence data and improving the precision capabilities of weapons. In recent conflicts,...

    Jun 2004
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  • Conduct of Military Operations in Urban Areas

    This policy brief reviews the rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) applicable to the conduct of hostilities in urban environments, and identifies key legal provisions designed to enhance the protection of civilians in these areas.

    May 2004
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  • Iraqi Voices: Attitudes Toward Transitional Justice and Social Reconstruction

    In attempt to move beyond a past marked by conflict, terror, and violence, Iraq has many hurdles to overcome in achieving social reconstruction and transitional justice. This study reflects the views of Iraqis regarding past human rights abuses, justice and accountability, truth-seeking...

    May 2004
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  • Rules of IHL Applicable to the Conduct of Military Operations in Urban Areas

    Urban warfare constitutes one of the most serious threats to the security and integrity of civilians in times of war. It represents, consequently, one of the most challenging areas of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in practice. This note reviews the rules of IHL applicable to the conduct...

    May 2004
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  • The Legality of House Demolitions Under IHL

    This note examines the legal aspects, under international humanitarian law (IHL), of Israel's practice of demolitions of Palestinian houses in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).1 It outlines the basis, history, and practice of house demolitions, sets forth the relevant IHL...

    May 2004
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  • The Separation Barrier and International Humanitarian Law

    This briefing note discusses the legal implications under international humanitarian law (IHL) of erecting and maintaining a separation barrier in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The main objective of this note is to review the applicable IHL rules and present the various legal...

    Feb 2004
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  • End of Occupation in Iraq Jan 2004
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  • Roundtable Report on Human Rights and Rule of Law: Constitutional and Legal Reform

    The opportunities for engaging the Afghan public in the process of constitution building and legal reform are quickly disappearing. Decades of war have left the legal system, and its legal culture, in ruins. The project of constitutional and legal reform will be central to the success of...

    Sep 2003
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  • The Future of the Afghan Legal System: Perspectives from the Young Generation - Roundtable Report

    The purpose of this report is to present the results of a youth roundtable on constitutional and legal reform, hosted February 5-6, 2003, by the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) and co-organized by the Afghanistan Youth Center (AYC). This roundtable discussion...

    Jun 2003
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  • The Future of the Afghan Legal System: Perspectives from the Young Generation - Roundtable Report

    The purpose of this report is to present the results of a youth roundtable on constitutional and legal reform, hosted February 5-6, 2003, by the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) and co-organized by the Afghanistan Youth Center (AYC). This roundtable discussion...

    Jun 2003
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  • Economics and Violent Conflict

    This essay reviews recent research on the relationships between economies and violent conflict. The type of economic policies that governments choose plays a significant role in determining the likelihood of conflict. Policies that induce conflict may result from deliberate decisions to weaken...

    Feb 2003
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  • Afghan Legal Reform: Challenges and Opportunities

    The purpose of this brief is to summarize a series of observations on the current status of legal reform in Afghanistan gathered during a research mission undertaken by the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) in November 2002, identify a key set of challenges to...

    Jan 2003
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