International Law Studies


Persons detained for reasons related to an armed conflict are in a vulnerable position. Deprived of their liberty, they are at the mercy of their captors. Certain groups of detainees are particularly vulnerable. Additionally, the way in which non-international armed conflicts are fought can make it difficult for some parties to the conflict to comply with the rules benefiting particularly vulnerable detainees. This Article identifies groups of particularly vulnerable detainees and analyzes the general and special protections that are afforded to them under the conventional and customary international law of armed conflict. It then considers the realities of detention in armed conflict and sets out different ways in which these realities can be balanced with the importance of the protections for vulnerable groups. Finally, drawing on the law of international armed conflict, the Article considers how possibilities including the release and repatriation of particularly vulnerable detainees and the accommodation of such detainees in a third State could be implemented in a non-international armed conflict.