Opposition Groups Armed with Rational Choice and International Humanitarian Law: Is Compliance the Outcome?

Aruna Michiels
Een interdisciplinair onderzoek waar internationaal humanitair recht en theorie van internationale betrekkingen kruisen. Het voorwerp is nalevingsgedrag van staten en gewapende groeperingen benaderd vanuit het perspectief van Rational Choice Theory.

Waarom gewapende groeperingen verdragen moeten kunnen sluiten

Waarom gewapende groeperingen verdragen moeten kunnen sluiten

Het zijn onthutsende cijfers: ruim negentig procent van de doden die vallen bij gewapende conflicten zijn onschuldige burgers. Dat heeft het Internationaal Comité van het Rode Kruis berekend. “We zien steeds vaker dat het Internationaal Humanitair Recht – datat deze mensen moet beschermen bij gewapende conflicten – niet wordt nageleefd”, zegt juriste Aruna Michiels. Ze pleit dan ook voor een grondige herziening van de wetgeving om ze beter te laten aansluiten bij recente tendensen.het recht om het beter te laten aansluiten bij recente tendensen.

Volgens de laatste cijfers van de Verenigde Naties maakte de verwoestende oorlog in Syrië al meer dan 400.000 dodelijke slachtoffers. Een groot deel van hen zijn vrouwen en kinderen, en nog iedere dag loopt dede dodentol van burgerslachtoffers in de regio op. Erger nog, ze kunnen soms zelfs niet rekenen op toevoer van essentiële levensmiddelen, wat het Internationaal Humanitair Recht (IHR) nochtans voorschrijft.Het zijn mensen die niets met het conflict te maken hebben, maar op het verkeerde moment op de verkeerde plaats waren. Bovendien verbiedt het IHR de strijdende krachten om andere dan militaire doelwitten te viseren.Er bestaat nochtans wetgeving om net deze mensen in gewapende conflicten te beschermen. Het Internationaal Humanitair Recht (IHR), bijvoorbeeld, verbiedt de strijdende krachten om mensen aan te vallen die niet of niet langer deelnemen aan het gewapend conflict. In realiteit worden deze norment deze wet echter zeersteeds vaak met de voeten getreden.

Wereld in verandering

“Dat heeft onder anderevooral te maken met het feit dat de wereld vandaag erg veranderd is in vergelijking met de 19e eeuw, toen de eerste verdragen gesloten werden wet gemaakt werd”, zegt juristestudente in het Internationaal Recht Aruna Michiels. Zij onderzocht waarom het Internationaal Humanitair Recht vandaag zo weinig wordt nageleefd. “Vroeger was oorlog een conflict tussen staten, maar vandaag zie je dat er veel andere actoren bij betrokken zijn. Denk maar aan gewapende groeperingen zoals Islamitische Staat, Boko Haram of het FARC. Steeds vaker maken gewapende groeperingen deel uit van gewapende conflicteneen conflict, niet alleen meer staten.” En net daar blijkt een groothet grote probleem te zitten. Staten moeten zich ten allen tijdetegenover elkaar aan het Internationaal Humanitair Recht houden, maar ten opzichte vanbij gewapende groeperingen is dat niet altijd het geval. De wetgeving is niet in iedere situatie op hen van toepassing en bovendien is het ook veel moeilijker om hen te vervolgen voor oorlogsmisdaden.

Image removed.Dat blijkt niet alleen een invloed te hebben op het gedrag van deze gewapende groeperingen, het heeft ook een effect op hoe staten zich gedragen. “We zien namelijk dat staten hun eigen verplichtingen aan de kant schuiven wanneer ze geconfronteerd worden met strijders die niet verdragsrechtelijk dooraan het IHR gebonden zijn”, zegt Michiels. Kortom: de staten beginnen het zelf minder nauw te nemen met de regels wanneer hun tegenstanders zich niet aan de wetgeving hoeven te houden. Dat is overigens geen uitzondering, want sommige gewapende groeperingen maken er zelfs hun doel van om het IHR te schenden. Maar anderen zijn dan weer vragende partij om meer verantwoordelijkheid te krijgen en zo ook staten te dwingen zich aan het IHR te houden. Net voor deze groepen zou het humanitair recht een krachtig instrument moeten zijn. Helaas kunnen deze groepen enkel niet-afdwingbare verplichtingen op zich nemen.

Wet grondig herbekijken

Volgens Michiels moeten die mogelijkheden dan ook grondig herzien worden de wetgeving dan ook grondig herzien worden. “Het zou de naleving van het IHR ten goede kunnen komen als gewapende groeperingen afdwingbare humanitaire rechten en plichten op zich kunnen nemen. Dan zijn de gevolgen veel zwaarder wanneer het IHR wordt geschondenzou beter zijn ook humanitaire verplichtingen op te leggen aan bijvoorbeeld Islamitische Staat, zoals deze ook gelden voor staten als Frankrijk of België. Bovendien kunnen staten zich dan niet langer verschuilen achter het gedrag van hun tegenstander om hun eigen plichten op te schorten.” Uit het onderzoek is namelijk gebleken dat het Internationaal Humanitair Recht  veel beter wordt nageleefd, wanneer er ook effectief een afdwingbare verplichting aan vast hangt. “Het humanitair recht moet erop gericht zijn incentives in te bouwen opdat alle betrokken partijen zich er aan houden”, besluit Michiels. als iedereen zich aan dezelfde regels moet houden.”

Wie meer over het onderzoek wil te weten komen kan uitkijken naar het jaarboek van de Juridische meesterwerken van de VUB, dat najaar 2016 bij Larcier verschijnt.

 

De auteur wenst in het bijzonder prof. dr. Stefaan Smis en Tessa Rens te bedanken.

 

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Universiteit of Hogeschool
Master of Laws in International and European Law
Publicatiejaar
2016
Promotor(en)
Prof. Dr. Stefaan Smis
Kernwoorden
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