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Israel-Hamas Conflict, Is it IAC or NIAC?

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Israel-Hamas Conflict, Is it IAC or NIAC?

Israel-Hamas Conflict, Is it IAC or NIAC?
Renata Christha Auli, S.H.Si Pokrol
Si Pokrol
Bacaan 10 Menit
Israel-Hamas Conflict, Is it IAC or NIAC?

PERTANYAAN

What are International Armed Conflicts/IAC and Non-International Armed Conflicts/NIAC? What is the scope of applicability of the law of war crimes? Does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict qualify as an IAC or NIAC?

DAFTAR ISI

    INTISARI JAWABAN

    Fundamentally, there are two types of armed conflict: International Armed Conflict ("IAC") and Non-International Armed Conflict ("NIAC").

    So, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict an IAC or NIAC? How is the Israel-Hamas conflict classified? Is the Israel-Hamas conflict an international armed conflict?

    Please take a look at the review below for a further explanation.

    ULASAN LENGKAP

    This article is an English translation of Konflik Israel-Hamas, Termasuk IAC atau NIAC?, written by Renata Christha Auli, S.H., and was published on 13 November 2023.

    All legal information available on Klinik hukumonline.com has been prepared for educational purposes only and is general in nature (read the complete Disclaimer). In order to obtain legal advice specific to your case, please consult with Justika Partner Consultant.

    Definition of IAC and NIAC

    International humanitarian law which is applicable in armed conflict is derived from the term "laws of war", which later developed into "laws of armed conflict", which is currently known as International Humanitarian Law ("IHL").[1]

    Based on the term IHL, humanitarian law only applies in the event of war/armed conflict. Armed conflict itself consists of two types, namely International Armed Conflict (“IAC”) and Non-International Armed Conflict (“NIAC”).[2]

    IAC is a conflict that occurs between states, such as two or more states fighting each other. For example, the wars between the United States and Iraq, Argentina and Britain, and World Wars I and II. While NIAC is a conflict that occurs within the territory of the state (internal conflict), for example between the state and the belligerents or between the belligerents themselves. For example, the armed conflict in the Philippines between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, in Indonesia between the government and the belligerent of Free Aceh Movement.[3]

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    Furthermore, the applicability of IHL instruments depends on the classification of the armed conflict. The 1907 Hague Convention, 1949 Geneva Convention, and 1977 Additional Protocol I are the basis of IHL for the IAC. Meanwhile, Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 Additional Protocol II are the basis of IHL for NIAC.[4]

    Moreover, it is important to note that IHL will remain in force until a peace agreement is reached, or the entire territory is under the country's control in an internal conflict.[5]

    Also read: Definition and Principles of International Humanitarian Law

    Scope of Applicability of War Crimes Law

    Furthermore, summarized from War Crimes: Definition, Types, and Tribunals, a grave breach of IHL is a violation of a serious nature that is categorized as a war crime. In the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the use of the term serious violations is known as grave breaches. In essence, war crimes are grave violations of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

    The scope of application of war crimes law refers to Article 2 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions regarding concurrent provisions (provisions stipulated in conventions I, II, III, and IV or called common articles). The common articles cover three things:

    1. In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peacetime, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.[6]
    2. The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.[7]
    3. Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.[8]

    Meanwhile, according to the 1977 Additional Protocol I, the scope of application of war crimes law is everything mentioned in Article 2 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions plus if it meets Article 1 section (4) of 1977 Additional Protocol I. The situations referred to in the preceding paragraph include armed conflicts in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist régimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations (“UN”) and the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the UN.[9]

    Then, in the 1977 Additional Protocol II, the scope of application of war crimes law is contained in Article 1 section (1). The article implies that the law of war crimes will apply to situations of armed conflict taking place on the territory of the state party between the forces of the state party and forces of the belligerent, or other organized armed groups under a command responsible for exercising control over a part of the territory of the state party, enabling them to carry out military operations on a sustained and regular basis and enabling them to respect humanitarian law.[10]

    Meanwhile, Article 1 section (2) of 1977 Additional Protocol II provides restrictions on the applicability of the law of war crimes, namely that the law of war crimes will not apply to situations of domestic chaos and tension, such as riots, isolated and sporadic acts of violence and other similar acts that do not constitute armed disputes.[11]

    Classification of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

    So, is the Israel v. Palestine conflict classified as IAC or NIAC? Answering your question, basically, the establishment of the state of Palestine has actually received international recognition from the United Nations, through UN General Assembly Resolution 3236 as follows:

    Recognizing that the Palestinian people is entitled to self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, …

    1. Reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in Palestine, including:
    1. The right to self-determination without external interference;
    2. The right to national independence and sovereignty.

    Thus, although Palestine is occupied by Israel, Palestine has officially become a recognized state. Therefore, this conflict is an interstate conflict. In addition, given the many indications surrounding the role of foreign states in this armed conflict, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be categorized as an international armed conflict or IAC.[12]

    For information, based on the IHL Database, Israel has ratified the 1949 Geneva Conventions I, II, III, and IV, and ratified the 2005 Additional Protocol III. Meanwhile, Palestine has ratified the 1949 Geneva Conventions I, II, III, and IV, 1977 Additional Protocols I and II, and also ratified 2005 Additional Protocol III. Thus, both countries are obliged to respect and uphold international humanitarian law.[13]

    Classification of the Israel-Hamas Conflict

    Then, what about the classification of the armed conflict of Israel v. Hamas? Is the Israel-Hamas conflict an IAC or NIAC?

    Before that, let us know what Hamas is and what its status is in international law. Summarized from State Jurisdiction in the Hamas v. Israel Case, Hamas is an Islamist group based in the Gaza Strip.[14] The formation of Hamas was motivated by the dissatisfaction of some Palestinians with the diplomatic struggle of existing Palestinian resistance organizations, such as the Palestine Liberation Organization ("PLO"). Thus, Hamas is a group of freedom fighters who are fighting for their independence.

    As we explained, an international armed conflict is a conflict involving two or more states. Thus, in our opinion, the armed conflict between Israel and Hamas is a non-international armed conflict or NIAC. The conflict is non-international because the parties to the conflict between Israel and Hamas are the Israeli national army and Hamas forces which are not the official armed forces of Palestine.[15]

    It is important to note that for a non-state armed group to be considered a party to the conflict, Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Convention does not require recognition as a belligerent by the opposing state, nor does it require mass support, territorial control or political motivation. However, the concept of "parties to an armed conflict" presupposes a minimum of organization without which coordinated military operations and collective adherence to IHL would not be possible. Furthermore, to qualify as an armed conflict, a non-international confrontation must always involve violence that reaches a certain threshold of intensity.[16]

    However, the Human Security Center in Classifying the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict has a different take on the classification of the Israel-Hamas conflict. When Hamas' actions can be attributed to Palestine, the conflict can be categorized as IAC. However, when Hamas' actions cannot be attributed to Palestine, the conflict will be categorized as NIAC.

    Then, Dapo Akande in Legal Issues Raised by Israel's Blockade of Gaza (UPDATED) wrote that international law provides that states can create and enforce blockades during armed conflict, as long as the blockade meets humanitarian standards and complies with international law. However, Israel's defense of the blockade thus appears to create a serious dilemma. Insofar as Israel insists that it is not occupying Gaza, it cannot claim that it is involved in an IAC with Hamas. Then, if Israel is not currently involved in an IAC with Hamas, it is difficult to see how Israel can legally justify the blockade of Gaza. The blockade of Gaza therefore depends on Israel's willingness to concede that Israel is occupying Gaza and is thus in an IAC with Hamas.

    Then basically, armed conflicts involving foreign (including multinational) intervention can be considered international or non-international in nature. This depends on whether it involves armed confrontation between states, or between states and organized armed groups.[17]

    Based on the above considerations, we need to be careful in classifying a conflict as either IAC or NIAC. Although Hamas is not a state, we need more study to determine the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

    This is our answer, hopefully, you find it useful.

    Legal Basis:

    1. 1907 Hague Convention;
    2. 1949 Geneva Convention;
    3. 1977 Additional Protocol I and II;
    4. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3236

    Reference:

    1. Andrey Sujatmoko. Hukum HAM dan Hukum Humaniter. Jakarta: PT RajaGrafindo Persada, 2015;
    2. Arlina Permanasari (et.al). Pengantar Hukum Humaniter. Jakarta: International Committee of the Red Cross, 1999;
    3. Diajeng Wulan Christianti. Hukum Pidana Internasional. Jakarta: Sinar Grafika Offset, 2021;
    4. Hengky Ho, Penerapan Hukum Humaniter Internasional dalam Konflik Bersenjata antara Palestina dan Israel. Jurnal Lex Et Societatis, Vol. VII, No. 2, 2019;
    5. Mulawarman Hannase. Respon Muslim Indonesia terhadap Gerakan Islamisme di Timur Tengah: Kasus Hamas dan Konflik Palestina. Jurnal Rausyan Fikr, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2016;
    6. Nils Melzer. Hukum Humaniter Internasional: Sebuah Pengantar Komprehensif. Jakarta: International Committee of the Red Cross , 2019;
    7. Ranna Dwi Prastika. Perlindungan Hukum Terhadap Tenaga Medis di Wilayah Perang Menurut Hukum Humaniter Internasional. Jurnal Lex Et Societatis, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 2020;
    8. Yustina Trihoni Nalesti Dewi. Kejahatan Perang dalam Hukum Internasional dan Hukum Nasional. Jakarta: PT RajaGrafindo Persada, 2013;
    9. Dapo Akande, Legal Issues Raised by Israel’s Blockade of Gaza (UPDATED), Blog of the European Journal of International Law, accessed on Tuesday, 7 November 2023, at 21.24 Western Indonesian Time (zone);
    10. Human Security Centre, Classifying the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, accessed on Wednesday, 8 November 2023, at 03.03 Western Indonesian Time (zone);
    11. International Committee of the Red Cross, IHL Databaseaccessed on Tuesday, 7 November 2023, at 02.12 Western Indonesian Time (zone).

    [1] Arlina Permanasari (et.al). Pengantar Hukum Humaniter. Jakarta: International Committee of the Red Cross, 1999, p. 5

    [2] Diajeng Wulan Christianti. Hukum Pidana Internasional. Jakarta: Sinar Grafika Offset, 2021, p. 7

    [3] Andrey Sujatmoko. Hukum HAM dan Hukum Humaniter. Jakarta: PT RajaGrafindo Persada, 2015, p. 173

    [4] Diajeng Wulan Christianti. Hukum Pidana Internasional. Jakarta: Sinar Grafika Offset, 2021, p. 7

    [5] Diajeng Wulan Christianti. Hukum Pidana Internasional. Jakarta: Sinar Grafika Offset, 2021, p. 7

    [6] Article 2 paragraph 1 1949 Geneva Convention I, II, III, and IV

    [7] Article 2 paragraph 2 1949 Geneva Convention I, II, III, and IV

    [8] Article 2 paragraph 3 1949 Geneva Convention I, II, III, and IV

    [9] Yustina Trihoni Nalesti Dewi. Kejahatan Perang dalam Hukum Internasional dan Hukum Nasional. Jakarta: PT RajaGrafindo Persada, 2013, p. 123

    [10] Yustina Trihoni Nalesti Dewi. Kejahatan Perang dalam Hukum Internasional dan Hukum Nasional. Jakarta: PT RajaGrafindo Persada, 2013, p. 123

    [11] Yustina Trihoni Nalesti Dewi. Kejahatan Perang dalam Hukum Internasional dan Hukum Nasional. Jakarta: PT RajaGrafindo Persada, 2013, pp. 123-124

    [12] Hengky Ho, Penerapan Hukum Humaniter Internasional dalam Konflik Bersenjata antara Palestina dan Israel. Jurnal Lex Et Societatis, Vol. VII, No. 2, 2019, p. 174

    [13] Ranna Dwi Prastika. Perlindungan Hukum Terhadap Tenaga Medis di Wilayah Perang Menurut Hukum Humaniter Internasional. Jurnal Lex Et Societatis, Vol. VIII, No. 2, 2020, p. 37

    [14] Mulawarman Hannase. Respon Muslim Indonesia terhadap Gerakan Islamisme di Timur Tengah: Kasus Hamas dan Konflik Palestina. Jurnal Rausyan Fikr, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2016, p. 162

    [15] Hengky Ho, Penerapan Hukum Humaniter Internasional dalam Konflik Bersenjata antara Palestina dan Israel. Jurnal Lex Et Societatis, Vol. VII, No. 2, 2019, pp. 173-174

    [16] Nils Melzer. Hukum Humaniter Internasional: Sebuah Pengantar Komprehensif. Jakarta: International Committee of the Red Cross , 2019, p. 74

    [17] Nils Melzer. Hukum Humaniter Internasional: Sebuah Pengantar Komprehensif. Jakarta: International Committee of the Red Cross , 2019, p. 54

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