Ludzie w cieniu wojny. Ludność cywilna podczas współczesnych konfliktów zbrojnych
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Współczesny świat nieustannie wstrząsany jest wojnami i konfliktami zbrojnymi. Ich ofiarami są w 90% cywile nie biorący bezpośredniego udziału w walkach. Podejmowane przez społeczność międzynarodową próby humanizacji działań wojennych poprzez zmiany w prawie i polityce, które mają ograniczyć przemoc, nieszczęścia i naruszenia praw człowieka, a także sytuacja ludności cywilnej podczas współczesnych konfliktów zbrojnych są przedmiotem badań Autorki. Joanna Dobrowolska-Polak opisuje normy prawa międzynarodowego dotyczące ludności cywilnej i analizuje minimalny poziom ochrony przysługujący ludziom niezależnie od charakteru i rodzaju konfliktu. Ocenia stopień implementacji norm prawa do praktyki konfliktów zbrojnych, identyfikuje rodzaje ataków na ludność cywilną, określa sytuację osób szczególnie wrażliwych oraz ukazuje losy ludzi w obliczu kumulacji aktów przemocy. Odwołując się do raportów sprawozdawców bezpośrednio wizytujących obszary działań zbrojnych przedstawia naturę, charakter i dotkliwość ataków na ludność cywilną; wypełnia w ten sposób istotną lukę w polskich publikacjach polemologicznych.About 90 percent of deaths in armed conflicts are civilians. Every year, 52 thousand people lose their lives in direct attacks, and another 200 thousand die from indirect results of military actions (data from 2004-2007). The risk of dying in the fire of armed conflicts that civilians are exposed to is over ten times higher than the murder rate. Since the Cold War, the threat of armed violence, as an element of conflict, has been continuously high. The number of armed conflicts, including wars, has remained at over 30, and three times even exceeded 40. The present work explores the situation of civilian people in areas under armed conflict. In part one, it discusses the norms of international law that regulate the treatment of civilians, and in part two, it assesses the implemen- tation of the norms into the practice of armed conflicts. With regard to the legal norms, the work aims at: 1. outlining the range of protection and respect ensured by human rights law and international humanitarian law, concerning the rights and freedoms of civilian people in armed conflicts; 2. outlining the legal regulations on the treatment of special (particularly vulnerable) groups of civilians distinguished by significant traits (age and sex), and a specific situation (refugee status), as well as 3. identifying the non-derogable norms which are binding in every situation, regardless of the character of the conflict. With regard to the contemporary practice of armed conflicts, the work aims at assessing the implementation of the norms guaranteed by human rights law and international humanitarian law into the practice of armed conflicts, includ- ing: 1. respect for the non-derogable norms; 2. the situation and treatment of special groups of civilians, and 3. the situation of civilian people in view of the large-scale violation of legal norms (accumulation of violence acts). The system to protect civilian people in armed conflicts consists of two subsystems: the law of armed conflicts/humanitarian law and the law of human rights. Their norms overlap, complement and mutually reinforce one another, constituting a catalogue of basic individual rights and freedoms – a fundamental standard of humanity – to be respected by each Party to the conflict, regardless of the situation and motivation of the Parties involved. The norms are formulated as a legal protection to ensure respect for the dignity, inviolability, fundamental freedom and biological survival of civilian people. The fundamental standard embraces norms of international humanitarian law, such as the ban on attacking civilians, or the ban on premeditated depriving civilians of food, water and medicines, as well as norms of the human rights law, including respect for personal dignity, the right to life, freedom from: tor- ture, discrimination, communal punishment, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the right to a just legal process, and (to a limited degree): the right to property, the right to freedom and personal security, and the right to free migration. By assigning rights and preferences to specific (definite) subjects, humanitarian law additionally distinguishes groups of special care and protec- tion: the wounded, sick and shipwrecked; women; children and refugees. Advanced legal regulations for the protection of civilians are regularly dis- respected and ignored by the Parties to armed conflicts. All the norms within the fundamental standard of humanity are continually violated. Reports pro- vided by the EU and other inter- and non-governmental organizations harbor no illusions about either the actual state of respect for the dignity, inviolabil- ity, security and freedom of civilian people, or the protection that the Parties to conflicts should guarantee to civilians (especially to groups particularly vulnerable to the effects of military actions). Those responsible for the attacks to which civilian people are exposed in armed conflicts, are regular national armed forces, anti-government military groups, not anti-government paramili- tary troops, and/or irregular groups that, instead of undertaking open military actions, act under (and benefit from) circumstances of war-related instability. The most devastating for civilian people are the attacks on life. Many of the killings are mass and brutal. The victims are of different age, condition, and sex. Besides deliberate, open attacks, civilians lose their lives in other campaigns of an unspecified character (where the target - civil or military – remains unclear). Those campaigns usually take the form of bombing or fire. Attacks on life are accompanied by attacks on dignity and inviolability. They include tortures, sexual harassment, mutilation, as well as cruel, demeaning, inhumane treatment, bullying and intimidation. Other practices include attacks on freedom and secu- rity, which are usually a prelude to further, planned attacks on civilian people who are often refused permission to leave the area of intended bombing and fire. Also common in the contemporary practice of armed conflicts are violations of principles of armed conflicts and the illegal use of particularly cruel weap- ons. Mass destruction of infrastructure and the destruction of cultural/national/ ethnic heritage are also considered to be acts against civilian people. Victims of armed conflicts are often refused humanitarian aid, even if it is for attending the wounded or providing water supplies. Moreover, humanitarian aid workers and aid convoys have increasingly become the target of military attacks. The armed conflicts of recent decades are characterized by various and parallel attacks on civilian communities with the aim of destroying entire ethnic groups. Mass attacks that turn into ethnic cleansing may be defined in customary international law according to their intensity as: genocide, crime against humanity, or war crimes.
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