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Voluntary human shields in international armed conflict : a proposal for suitable future regulation.

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The paper examines the international humanitarian law framework, the Geneva Conventions, the Additional Protocols thereto, and the subsequent filtration of these norms into the domestic laws and practices of states around the globe. More specifically, it looks at the status and regulation of the voluntary human shield in international armed conflicts. The current body of writing on the prevalence of voluntary human shields indicate a bifurcated application of the international laws, culminating in uncertainty for commanders during the conduct of hostilities. The paper looks at the basic principles of international humanitarian law, the prohibition on human shielding, the international law classification of a voluntary human shield, whether or not a voluntary human shield is a direct participant in hostilities, whether and how the principle of proportionality applies in cases of voluntary human shielding, whether the current regulation of voluntary human shields compliments the delicate balance sought between military necessity and humanitarian considerations, and finally looks at suggestions of a more suitable future regulation of voluntary human shields. Ultimately, the paper is a review of the current regulation with an aim to settle the uncertainty and hopefully provide clarity as to the best way forward for regulating voluntary human shields in international armed conflict.


Master of Law in Constitutional and Human Rights Litigation. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College 2015.


Theses--Constitutional and Human Rights Litigation., Mercenary troops., Combatants and noncombatants (International law)., War (International law)., Military service, Voluntary.