Human Rights Obligations and Accountability of Armed Opposition Groups: the Practice of the UN Security Council

Human Rights & International Legal Discourse (HR&ILD)

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Year
2010
Volume
4
Number
1
Page
89
Language
English
Court
Reference
A. CONSTANTINIDES, “Human Rights Obligations and Accountability of Armed Opposition Groups: the Practice of the UN Security Council ”, HRILD 2010, nr. 1, 89-110

Abstract

The paper presents an empirical account of the ways the Security Council addresses armed opposition groups in human rights terms. The aim is to inform the debate on whether this particular category of non-state actors bears direct obligations under international (human rights) law. The starting point is that the state-centric approach leaves a protection and accountability gap with regard to harmful activities of armed groups in conflict situations. This gap is only partly filled by international humanitarian law and international criminal law. The paper investigates the origins, context, features, contours and legal ramifications of the relevant Security Council practice in country situations and thematic resolutions. It also identifies the Chapter VII measures imposed against leading members of armed opposition groups for human rights violations. It is argued that the Security Council practice serves to buttress an emerging customary rule that extends human rights obligations to armed groups in control of territory. It is also argued that the relevant practice of the Security Council and other actors demonstrates that armed opposition groups bear obligations to take all required measures to respect and protect the civilian population in conflict situations and meet its basic needs, which is a welcome step towards materializing the goal of human security.