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Title: The right to life in armed conflict
Author: Park, Ian David
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 2415
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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There is only passing reference made to human rights law in United Kingdom armed forces doctrine and military publications. Moreover, there is no reference made to the United Kingdom's right to life obligations in respect of those affected by the actions of the state's armed forces, or armed forces personnel themselves, during international and non-international armed conflict. As a consequence, no formal mechanism exists to ensure that the United Kingdom can comply with its right to life obligations pursuant to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Recent judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, advisory opinions and a judgment of the International Court of Justice, and views of numerous United Nations human rights bodies and rapporteurs would appear to indicate that human rights law can and does, however, apply during armed conflict. The exact nature of how human rights law, and the right to life specifically, apply during armed conflict and the obligations thus created, remain largely unresolved and generate considerable debate. This study therefore aims to consider both the extent to which the United Kingdom has right to life obligations during international and non-international armed conflict and, on the basis of current doctrine and procedures, how far the state complies with such obligations. Implicit in this analysis is a determination of what positive and negative right to life obligations are created by the ECHR and ICCPR, the extent to which these obligations have extraterritorial effect during armed conflict, how these obligations interact with the United Kingdom's obligations pursuant to international humanitarian law, and the effect of a derogation from the ECHR during armed conflict. This study concludes that the United Kingdom has both substantive and procedural right to life obligations during armed conflict, albeit partially modified by reference to international humanitarian law. Adhering to current United Kingdom military doctrine and procedures does not, however, always ensure full compliance with these obligations.
Supervisor: Akande, Dapo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Right to life ; War and society ; Civilians in war ; Human rights