Thursday, March 30, 2006

Postscript on Civil Wars

After I posted on the question of whether there is a civil war going on in Iraq or not a few days ago (and edited the post twice), it seems that I became more attentive to the internal conflicts going on in the world that are or are near to civil wars.
I looked a little bit more curiously into the news and found it utterly devastating how many conflicts there are on a scale like the one in Iraq, more or less qualifying as civil wars. We live in a world of conflicts and I think one has to bear that in mind when writing about questions of international humanitarian law, human rights and international criminal law.

In the last few days, my attention was called for example by the fighting between rival militias in Mogadishu, Somalia, going on around 23 March, which was covered on The fighting obviously went on between two militias, the Alliance for Peace and the Fight Against International Terrorism and the Islamic Court Militia; over 70 people died in the fights of two days alone, and 100 were wounded. I think the legal situation there is as complicated as the one in Iraq but the conflict seems to be more openly fought.
The fighting in Nepal is covered by a Human Rights Watch report released two days ago. There, Maoist rebels and government forces are engaged in a conflict that seems to spiral out of control, and which clearly qualifies as a civil war.
The same is obviously true for the situation in Myanmar, covered in this ReliefWeb article, where the military has since February been acting with brute force, obviously in an attempt to prevent a supposed attack on the junta’s new capital by the Karen National Union.

And all THAT is only from some reports from the last 7 days!