From Sudan to the Middle East and the Sahel, current conflicts indicate that civilians as well as combatants in armed conflicts are increasingly falling victim to blatant violations of their basic rights as granted by International Humanitarian Law and in particular by the Geneva Conventions. These attacks come together with a widespread feeling of impunity for those responsible of the violations, hence weakening the overall premise of an international rules-based order. This session gathering seasoned political, humanitarian and civilian representatives unpacked the root causes of the current stress that is put on the rules of war (IHL) as a whole from a wide array of political, humanitarian, military and civilian perspectives. Participants also explored practical avenues to reinvigorate IHL in increasingly polarized and fragmented conflicts. This included discussing incentives and pathways for both states and non-state parties to the conflict such as armed groups, de facto authorities or private-military companies to adhere and comply with IHL.

CIVIC’s Interim Executive Director, Udo Jude Ilo, was one the panelists. He denounced the global hypocrisy and double standards when it comes to the application of IHL & other legal frameworks to protect civilians in armed conflict. Ilo stressed nonetheless that the world needs to protect the international body of legal frameworks used in armed conflict. “We have no alternative. But we also need to create pressure points to force world leaders to respect the rules,” he said.


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