Re-examining The Distinction Between International and Non-International Armed Conflicts in The Backdrop of International Human Rights Law

Dr. Amit Anand ,Dr. Preethi Lolaksha Nagaveni ,Amlanika Bora ,Tripti Bhushan
Keywords: International Armed Conflict, Non-International Armed Conflict, International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, Geneva Conventions ,


A majority of armed conflicts in international law have been fought within the boundary of States rather than conventional wars which are fought between States. These internal wars/internal armed conflicts that take place within the boundary of a State involve a confrontation between the authorities of a State and armed groups or among armed groups and are referred to as non-international armed conflicts. Since, these internal conflicts resembled war between States in almost every manner, a need arose to have a body of rules that could make efforts to ‘humanize’ their conduct on par with the laws governing international armed conflict. This paper reflects upon the debate on the distinction between international and non-international armed conflicts and whether that distinction has been virtually eliminated or not. In doing so, this paper also addresses how international humanitarian law as a body of law governs non-international armed conflict. Further, the debate on the distinction is also looked at from an international human rights perspective to understand the characterization of conflicts under international humanitarian law.