Detention in Armed Conflict

While detailed rules exist in international armed conflicts to regulate detention, their number is much more limited in non-international armed conflicts. There is thus a need to strengthen IHL protection for detainees in particular with regards to treatment and conditions of detention, protection of vulnerable individuals, grounds and procedures for internment and transfer of detainees from one authority to another.

How are persons treated when detained by non-State armed groups? By national or foreign authorities? How are children protected in detention? When does detention end? This highlight presents seven case studies covering recent armed conflicts. They illustrate the treatment of detainees in general, detention of children and women and the temporal scope of detention in particular.

I. Treatment of detainees
  • USA, Al-Shimari v. CACI Premier Technology, Inc., illustrates the acts of abuse and torture reportedly suffered by detainees of Abu Ghraib prison while they were interrogated by CACI, a private military and security company.
  • Israel/Palestine, Operation Protective Edge examines (apart from conduct of hostilities issues) the situation of Palestinian detainees allegedly subjected to ill-treatment and torture by the IDF and of Palestinian “collaborators” allegedly detained and executed by Palestinian armed groups.

II. Detention of women and children

III. Admissibility, legal basis of detention and applicable procedures

 IV. Temporal scope of detention
The Law and “A to Z” section of the Online casebook
Information on detention can also be found in the Law section of the online casebook under Non-international armed conflict, Civilian population and Combatants and POWs.
The A to Z section of the online casebook provides specific information on Detention, Detainees, Detaining powers, Civilian internees, Prisoners of war, Access, Humane treatment, Accommodation, Repatriation and Central Tracing Agency.

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