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The legal norms of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) are the product of a compromise between humanitarian considerations and the demands of military necessity. In Searching for a 'Principle of Humanity' in International Humanitarian Law, international legal scholars consider whether humanitarian considerations have an independent legal impact on IHL beyond the formation of these norms. They ask whether a 'principle of humanity' can be said to have legal force in its own right. Moreover, the book investigates whether regional or national differences are emerging regarding the import and emphasis placed on humanitarian considerations. For instance, do states which are not directly affected by armed conflict attach a greater weight to humanitarian considerations when interpreting and applying IHL than those states which are more directly involved in armed conflicts? Specifically, this book examines whether a particular 'Nordic perspective' can be identified, owing to those states' involvement in armed conflicts outside their own territories in the post-Second World War era.
Do States, through their military forces, have legal obligations under human rights treaties towards the local civilian population during UN-mandated peace operations? It is frequently claimed that it is unrealistic to require compliance with human rights treaties in peace operations and this has led to an unwillingness to hold States accountable for human rights violations. In this book, Kjetil Larsen criticises this position by addressing the arguments against the applicability of human rights treaties and demonstrating that compliance with the treaties is unrealistic only if one takes an 'all or nothing' approach to them. He outlines a coherent and more flexible approach which distinguishes clearly between positive and negative obligations and makes treaty compliance more realistic. His proposals for the application of human rights treaties would also strengthen the legal framework for human rights protection in peace operations without posing any unrealistic obligations on the military forces.