Weekly IHL Update

Option 1Monday, November 10, 2014

In the News

In the last month, the Allied Democratic Forces (or ADF-NALU, the Allied Democratic Forces and the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda), an armed rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), killed and wounded over a hundred civilians. This past week, the UN mission, MONUSCO, announced that over 200 were arrested in relation to these attacks but conflict continued, prompting Defense Minister Alexandre Luba Ntambo to call on citizens not to form militias for self-defense due to the increased potential for violence. 

Drones are all over the news lately. U.S. drone strikes killed al-Qaeda militants in Yemen this week, China unveiled a new laser defense system designed for urban settings that can shoot down small drones at low altitude, and France remains concerned about the mysterious drones flying over nuclear power stations.

And, of course, IS.  Six weeks in to the battle for Kobani, the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga joined the fight in Syria and IS released several more Kurdish children the group reportedly captured and then tortured earlier this year. Pro-government Shiite militias in Iraq have joined the fight against IS, but allegations of their methods raise questions about a return to sectarian violence in the country—just one more cause for concern in the region. So the U.S. has decided to send up to 1,500 more military personnel to Iraq to “train, advise, and assist Iraqi Security Forces, including Kurdish forces.”

Around the Web

Chemical Weapons in Iraq. Following New York Times’ report on chemical weapon exposure to U.S. troops in Iraq, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a review of military records. The results indicate that, in fact, over 600 service members believe they were exposed to chemical weapons during their tour in Iraq.

IS Recruitment. The Atlantic released a fascinating report discussing the interplay between Islam and IS, detailing certain factors of IS that may be particularly appealing to some Muslims, while the Washington Post described how IS may have evolved in an American prison where the main leaders were interred in Iraq.

War Crimes in Myanmar. The International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School released a report, finding that the Myanmar military committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2005-2006.  The four-year investigation documented crimes such as soldiers firing mortars at villages and laying indiscriminate land mines.

On the Blog

More Drones! Did you know that some drones can remain in flight for up to 20 hours? Or that drones can be used for firing weapons, surveillance, intelligence gathering missions, and even cargo delivery? For some basic information on drones, check out our overview of some common drones (pictures included!) as well as some of the legal questions regarding drone use.

Sexual Violence in Conflict. This past Wednesday, the American Red Cross and its partners hosted a panel discussion on sexual violence in armed conflict focusing on Syria and Iraq, followed by moderated lunch tables. If you missed the event, you can check out our recording and #SBGVandconflict on Twitter.

*Inclusion in our “Weekly IHL Update” does not mean that the American Red Cross endorses or agrees with the views and opinions expressed.*

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