Interaction of the norms of protection

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Norms and laws originate in various backgrounds and traditions, they advance historically in parallel and often overlap and interact. Questions arise as to whether, how and when their interaction is beneficial or counter-productive for international law and for world peace. In editing a major recent volume, Roberta Arnold and Noelle Quenivet (2008) looked comprehensively at this issue. They argued in favour of the complementarity of international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (HRL), but at the same time they acknowledged possible risks. They did not go so far as to advocate a “merger” of the two branches of law, as the title of the book provocatively suggested. They correctly concluded “that IHL and HRL are two distinct categories with their specific aims and fields of application. However, particularly in grey area situations such as military occupation or insurgencies, their complementary application may guarantee the respect of the rule of law” (ibid.: 592). Contributing a chapter for the same volume – on the protection of children as the most vulnerable group in the population – I argued in a similar way, that overlap between IHL and HRL could be problematic, but it could also be beneficial

Related Subject(s): Human Rights and Refugees
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