12 December 2022
Our Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts online portal (RULAC) classified the armed violence opposing the Mexican armed forces to the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG, Jalisco Cartel New Generation) and to the Sinaloa Cartel, as well as the armed violence between these two gangs as non-international armed conflicts (NIACs).
According to this classification – based on the level of violence and on the level of organization of the drug cartels – international humanitarian law (IHL) applied to these clashes in addition to international human rights law (IHRL) and war crimes could be committed.
‘This was the only case on RULAC where armed violence involving drug cartels was considered as amounting to NIACs’ explains Dr Chiara Redaelli, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy.
This declassification does not mean that the violence decreased throughout the country, that there are fewer victims or that the overall situation improved.
‘While the armed violence between the government and the drug cartels, as well as between cartels themselves, remains high, it has become increasingly challenging to attribute these instances of violence and clashes to specific armed groups. As we cannot attribute these acts of violence to a specific drug cartel, we cannot conclude that the intensity of violence’s requirement is met, and, therefore, conclude with certainty that these three NIACs are still ongoing’ explains Dr Redaelli.
‘This declassification does not leave a protection gap. Indeed, IHRL continues applying to these clashes. This means that the applicable framework is the law enforcement paradigm as opposed to IHL’ she adds.
2023 will be a busy year for us. Discover what we are up to and some topical issues we will address and work on via our research, Geneva Human Rights Platform and master’s programmes.
Organized by the Geneva Academy and the ICRC, the Advanced IHL seminar for academics and humanitarian policymakers aims to enhance the capacity of academics to teach and research IHL and contemporary issues arising during armed conflict, while also equipping policymakers with an in-depth understanding of ongoing legal debates and their relevance to decision-making.
The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.
This project will explore humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these needs are addressed by international law, especially international humanitarian law.