Melbourne Law School - Theses

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    'I will fight for freedom until I die': international humanitarian law, international human rights law and the grey zone of regulating violence in cities
    Bradley, Samantha Frances ( 2020)
    This thesis argues that international human rights law and international humanitarian law do not adequately govern the conduct of violence in cities, including violent protests, riots and civil unrest. Specifically, it is theorised that situations of violence in cities fall into a "grey zone" of international law insofar as neither international humanitarian law nor international human rights law provide clear and specific rules governing the conduct of violence in these contexts. While international humanitarian law is the field of public international law best equipped to govern the use of force, including the use of certain kinds of weapons and the protection of civilians from violence, modern situations of urban violence often fall below international humanitarian law’s threshold of application for non-international armed conflicts. Consequently, it falls to the international law of human rights to govern these types of violence. However, international human rights law’s ability to be derogated from, lack of specificity regarding permissible and prohibited means of use of force, and general lack of applicability to non-state armed actors, often means that it has limited utility in regulating such situations and effectively protecting victims. Consequently, there is a clear impetus for a policy-oriented approach based on norms found in both international humanitarian law and international human rights law to protect those affected by urban violence. Specifically, this thesis proposes the development of a “Basic Principles” style document to seek to set standards for the use of force, by both state and non-state parties to violence in cities.