Requirement of recognition of an armed conflict

Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 17.12.2004 KORDIĆ & ČERKEZ

373. […] Article 2 of Geneva Convention IV speaks of “armed conflict […] between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognised by one of them.”[1]  However, this article cannot be interpreted to rule out the characterisation of the conflict as being international in a case when none of the parties to the armed conflict recognises the state of war.  The purpose of Geneva Convention IV, i.e. safeguarding the protected persons, would be endangered if States were permitted to escape from their obligations by denying a state of armed conflict. The Appeals Chamber recalls that “[i]t must not be forgotten that the Conventions have been drawn up first and foremost to protect individuals, and not to serve State interests.”[2]

[1] Geneva Convention IV, Art. 2 (emphasis added).

[2] Cf. Commentary to Geneva Convention IV, p. 21.

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