Research Project C8 analyzes questions of enforcement of international humanitarian law. Despite the law’s aim to protect civilian populations in armed conflicts, 75% of the victims of such conflicts are nevertheless civilians. Reasons for deliberate violence against the civilian population are manifold; among other purposes, it can serve to implement or assert political goals (e.g. ethnic cleansing).
During a non-international armed conflict on its territory, a state is by definition unable to fully implement its monopoly on the use of force. Likewise, such a state has only limited ability to enforce international humanitarian law vis-à-vis armed groups. Often, hostilities take place between sparsely organized non-state armed groups, and the implementation of international humanitarian law proves even more difficult than with regard to states, the law’s traditional addressees. Moreover, states themselves are frequently responsible for gross violations of international humanitarian law.
As as result, non-state actors and weak States lack the will and ability to respect international humanitarian law. The C8 project investigates how international humanitarian law can be enforced with regard to these actors, and especially how – on the basis of international humanitarian law – security for civilians can be achieved in areas of limited statehood.