Online Learning Series on Humanitarian Law and Policy – Unpacking the concept of direct participation in hostilities

Ongoing course
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International humanitarian law (IHL) establishes rules to protect civilians during armed conflict. One of the most important dictates that “civilians [shall not be the object of attack], unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.” This standard, known as “directly participating in hostilities,” sets the threshold for when civilians may lose the protection from direct attack he or she is otherwise afforded under IHL.

On 14 October, PHAP hosted a session introducing the concept of direct participation with Anne Quintin, Head of Sector for Legal Training at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The session reviewed the various criteria used to determine whether an individual is directly participating, and present key contemporary debates, including the application of this concept to the use of drone strikes.

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