The Role of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Non-International Armed Conflict: a Case Study of Boko Haram Insurgency in North-East Nigeria

ABSTRACT

Many citizens of Nigeria have fallen victim to armed conflicts and other forms of violence in Nigeria, especially those in the Northern part of  Nigeria. These conflicts have led to loss of lives, destruction of properties and various human rights breaches in alarming proportions. In view of the volatile situation of the North-East region in Nigeria, the ICRC, an impartial, neutral, independent non-governmental organisation with the primary function to provide humanitarian aid and relief and protection to victims of armed conflict situations has been forced to step in so as to secure some form of stability in the region. Deriving its mandate from the Geneva Conventions and its Additional Protocols, the Committee provides protection for all categories of victims of armed conflict. This paper examines the role of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Non-International Armed Conflict, particularly in the ethno-religious conflict prevalent in the North-East part of Nigeria. The paper found that the good activities of the ICRC are always impeded in several ways. Some of these limitations are; lack of proper enforcement of IHL and inadequate awareness programmes. The paper recommends that these limitations can be surmounted by the enforcement and implementation of the rules of International Humanitarian Law in Nigeria, and by ensuring stricter control of conventional arm transfer in Nigeria. It is further recommended that enlightenment and awareness programmes on the rules of IHL be organised regularly for both arm carriers and the civilian population.  

Keywords: International Committee of the Red Cross, Armed Conflict, Boko Haram

Introduction

For over a decade, the northern region of Nigeria has been the locus of social unrest and ethno-religious crises.[1] This has drawn the attention of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the region so as to provide humanitarian aid and assistance to victims in attempts to restore stability to the region as its mandate compels the Committee to intervene in situations of internal armed conflict to prevent violations of International Humanitarian Law.

An armed conflict exists whenever recourse is had to armed force or belligerent occupation between states (International Armed Conflicts), or when protracted armed violence takes place between governmental authorities and organised armed groups or between such groups (non-international armed conflicts).[2] According to Project Ploughshares, armed conflict is a political conflict in which armed combat involves the armed forces of at least one state, and in which at least 1,000 people have been killed by the fighting during the course of the conflict.[3] There are two types of armed conflicts namely; international and non- international armed conflicts.

Typology of Armed Conflict Paradigms

International Armed Conflict.

International humanitarian law clearly defines what an international armed conflict (IAC) is. By virtue of common Article 2[4], international armed conflicts are:

…all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.

According to this provision, IACs are those involving two or more “High Contracting parties’’. The High Contracting parties mentioned in this text are sovereign entities.[5] An international armed conflict exists whenever there is resort to armed force between two or more States. During armed conflict the primary responsibility for meeting the basic needs of victims lies with States that have control over them.[6] If the populations remain in need, third States or humanitarian organizations can offer humanitarian assistance.[7] This is subject to two requirements: The State in whose territory the operations will be carried out must agree to the action, and the action must be exclusively humanitarian and impartial in character and conducted without any adverse distinction (non-discrimination).[8] Article 70(1) of AP I state that such offers must not be regarded as “…interference in the armed conflict or as unfriendly acts.” Article 10 of the Fourth Geneva Convention confers on the ICRC or any other impartial humanitarian organizations the right to offer services. Relief actions are subject to the consent of the parties concerned. It is not obligatory for a State to accept relief. The draft versions of the Additional Protocols contained an obligation to accept relief if the relief met certain requirements, such as impartiality and humanity.[9] In order to protect the sovereignty of the State accepting relief, the requirement of consent was added during the diplomatic conference of 1974-1977, while clearly stating that this condition did not imply that the affected parties had absolute and unlimited freedom to refuse their agreement to relief actions.[10]

At a minimum, consent cannot be refused on arbitrary grounds.[11] A refusal must be based on valid reasons. If an offer meets a clear need for humanitarian assistance and the humanitarian principles are respected, the affected State must possess valid reasons for choosing not to give its consent. If it withholds its consent without such reasons, a State may be considered to have done so “arbitrarily.” Whether a decision not to accept assistance is arbitrary depends on the circumstances and on the international obligations incumbent upon the party whose consent is required. It should therefore be determined on a case-by-case basis.[12]

In any case, it should be emphasized that under international humanitarian law (IHL), the rule is that when the civilian population suffers undue hardship owing to the lack of essential supplies, humanitarian relief operations shall be undertaken. Under Customary IHL, once relief action has been agreed to, parties to the conflict, whether international or non-international, must allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need, which is impartial in character and conducted without any adverse distinction. Access can only be refused based on valid and lawful reasons. Furthermore, the denial of access should not amount to a violation of other rules of IHL. For instance, the use of starvation of the civilian population as a method of warfare is specifically prohibited by IHL.[13]

Non-International Armed Conflict

Under article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions,[14] non-international armed conflicts are “armed conflicts not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties.”[15] Non-international armed conflicts are protracted armed confrontations occurring between the armed forces of a state and the forces of one or more armed groups, or between such groups arising on the territory of a High Contracting Party. Article 3 Common to the four Geneva Conventions regulate all forms of Non-International Armed Conflicts (NIAC). The issue of humanitarian assistance and access is not expressly addressed in article 3; however, it contains the general principle that persons taking no active part in the hostilities must be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction. The principle of humane treatment includes the obligation not to intentionally subject civilian populations to situations where their human dignity is threatened and which might result in serious mental or physical suffering.[16]

The denial of access to essential supplies could in certain circumstances amount to inhumane treatment and cause serious mental or physical sufferings in the sense of article 3. This article further provides that any “impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the parties to the conflict.” Such an offer should not be considered as interference in domestic affairs or an unfriendly act.[17]

It is an offer that the parties to the conflict must take into consideration, but they are not bound to accept. To ask a non-State armed group for its consent to the provision of humanitarian assistance does not constitute recognition, nor does it confer any legal status upon that actor.[18] Article 18(2) of AP II[19] explicitly addresses the issue of humanitarian assistance and access, and provides that relief actions shall be undertaken subject to the consent of the affected State, “if the civilian population is suffering undue hardship owing to a lack of the supplies essential for its survival.”

A similarity between AP II and AP I is that a balance has to be found between the rule stipulating that relief actions “shall be undertaken” and the requirement of the consent of the State concerned. In both cases, it must be decided on a case-by-case basis whether the refusal of consent is arbitrary. In NIACs, as in IACs, where the lack of relief would lead to starvation used as a method of warfare, adverse distinction. This obligation is found in both treaty and customary law and has to be understood in the same manner both in IACs other than occupations and in NIACs.[20]

The International Committee of the Red Cross

The International Committee of the Red Cross (herein the committee) was founded in the mid-nineteenth century in the aftermath of the bloody battle of solferino which took place in June 1859. The origin of the ICRC can be traced back to a precise date, and its origins are relatively well known.[21]

It all started after the battle of Solferino which was one of the fiercest battles in the nineteenth century. It has been described as the most horrific bloodbath Europe had known since Waterloo.[22] In ten hours of fierce fighting more than 6000 soldiers were killed and 40000 wounded.[23] The inadequacies of the medical services available were exposed. In fact, there were more veterinary surgeons for the horses than there were medical doctors for men.[24] The wounded soldiers were helped by their fellow soldiers and local peasants to be transported to nearby villages in search of food, shelter, water and first aid.[25]

Henry Dunant, a young business man from Geneva arrived Castiglione for an urgent private business. He had no prior medical knowledge but he was too kind and passionate to harden his heart to the pain and distress around him. He spent three days and three nights tending to the wounded and dying. In short, he set an example working tirelessly trying to organise help so as to alleviate their suffering as far as possible.[26] He mobilized Volunteers –mostly women to tend to the injured and dying. He even pleaded the release of the imprisoned Austrian doctors so they can tend the wounded.[27] Out of his experience on the battlefield, Dunant planted the seed for the birth of International Committee of Red Cross in the most influential books of all time, ‘A Memory of Solferino’, where he not only gave an epic description of the War, but also ended the book with two questions which were in effect appeals to the conscience.

The first question was:

Would it not be possible in time of peace and quiet, to form relief societies for the purpose of having care given to the wounded in wartime by Zealous, devoted and thoroughly qualified Volunteers?[28]

This question was the inspiration for the creation of the Red Cross and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement recognizable by their common emblem. Hence the second question:

Would it not be desirable… to formulate some international principle, sanctioned by a convention inviolate in character, which, once agreed upon and ratified might constitute the basis for societies for the relief of the wounded in the different European Countries?[29]

This question resulted in the adoption of the first Geneva Convention of 1864; however, the International Committee of the Red Cross was founded in Geneva, Switzerland on 17 February 1863 by Henry Dunant.

The Nigerian Red Cross Society

The decision by the International Committee of Red Cross[30] was to create relief societies which would rely on private support to provide humanitarian help for members of their country’s army corps during times of armed conflict. These societies would have to be set up on a permanent basis in order to be able to act in good time. They would not wait for hostilities to start before establishing contact with the military because the authorities would be too busy fighting the war to discuss other matters. When war breaks out, the societies would send their nurses with the army and they would be at the disposal of the commanders. They would care for all the wounded soldiers without distinction.[31] This proposal led to the establishment of the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, of which there are over 185 of them recognised by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. To be able to work safely and effectively the Volunteers had to be recognizable and as such, this led to the adoption of the sign or emblem as it was eventually called.[32] The design and colours of the International Red Cross emblem is the Red Cross while that of the Red Crescent Movement is the Red Crescent.

The Red Cross activities first took place in Nigeria as far back as 1917 when an Adamu Orisha play was staged in Lagos to raise funds for the Red Cross to provide relief for returning soldiers of World War I. Later in 1951, the Nigerian Branch of the British Red Cross was opened in Lagos by the Governor General and a period of rapid expansion of the organisation throughout the country followed.[33]

The Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) was established through an Act of the parliament in 1960. The Act, referred to as the Nigerian Red Cross Act of 1960, CAP 324 provides that ‘the society shall be recognized by the government of the Federation as a Voluntary Aid Society, auxiliary to the public authorities…’[34] Structurally, the NRCS has two arms, the Governance and the Management. The governance formulates policies and the management implements policies so formulated and sees to the day-to-day running of the society. While the national president heads the Governance, the Secretary General, who is the Chief Executive Officer, is at the apex of the management. The NRCS also trains its volunteers in first aid skills to respond to emergency situations and epidemics in their homes, schools, workplaces, society at large both in times of violence and natural hazard induced disasters.

Laws Governing Armed Conflict in Nigeria

The concept ‘armed conflict’ was not defined by the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols of 1977. This is a deliberate attempt by the makers of the treaties to prevent technicalities that may arise if a definition is given. This was the problem when the laws of war were in operation as states could argue that they were not at war and therefore the laws of war did not apply to them.[35] The ICRC Commentary on the Geneva Conventions gave a description of what makes up an armed conflict. Armed conflict was described as;

Any difference arising between two states and leading to the intervention of members of the armed forces is an armed conflict within the meaning of Article 2, of the United Nations Charter even if one of the parties denies the existence of a state of war. It makes no difference how long the conflict lasts or how much slaughter takes place.[36]

Laws of armed conflict, also known as International Humanitarian Law, are the rules that are to be followed in the event of armed conflict. The Geneva Conventions as well as the Additional Protocols created a treaty among nation states to abide by in the event of future conflicts; this was after World War II. These rules that emanated from these conventions cover all aspects of conflict ranging from rules of engagement to how prisoners of war should be treated. It protects persons not, or no longer, participating in hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare. Those who involve themselves in armed conflicts in Nigeria, without ‘combatant immunity’ which is defined as a limited license to take life and cause destruction,[37] may be charged and prosecuted for their actions under relevant laws in Nigeria. According to the ICTY in Tadic’s case[38]

An armed conflict exists whenever there is a resort to armed force between States or protracted armed violence between governmental authorities and organized armed groups or between such groups within a State. International humanitarian law applies from the initiation of such armed conflicts and extends beyond the cessation of hostilities until a general conclusion of peace is reached; or, in the case of internal conflicts, a peaceful settlement is achieved. Until that moment, international humanitarian law continues to apply in the whole territory of the warring States or, in the case of internal conflicts, the whole territory under the control of a party, whether or not actual combat takes place there.

Other applicable laws include but not limited to – the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 (ratified by Nigeria in 1961); the Two Additional Protocols (to the Geneva Conventions of 8 June, 1977);[39] Customary International Humanitarian law applicable to non-international armed conflict; International Human Rights Law; Convention on Conventional Weapons 1980;[40] the ECOWAS IHL Plan of Action (2019-2023)[41] et cetera.

The Role of the ICRC in Non-international Armed Conflict

Non-international armed conflict is defined by Protocol II as one “which takes place in the territory of a party to the Protocol between its armed forces and dissident armed forces or other organized armed group”. The ICRC acts as the guardian of international humanitarian law. It has as its mandate to carry out the tasks obligatory upon it under the Geneva Conventions, specifically for the promotion of the application of international humanitarian law and to protect and assist victims of armed conflict whether international or non-international.[42]

The following are some steps the ICRC takes in non-international armed conflict.

Bilateral confidential representations to the parties to a conflict

By this, the ICRC makes confidential approaches to the representatives of the parties involved in an armed conflict or situation of violence. In this representation, confidentiality is an important factor in obtaining access to the victims of armed conflicts and other situations of violence. The aim of confidential representations is to convince parties engaging in unlawful conduct to change their behaviour and uphold their obligations. The prime effect of such representations is often to strengthen consciousness of the problems pointed out by the ICRC, to urge the parties to accept their responsibilities and to prompt the authorities to take account of the problems and react accordingly. It has been observed from years of experience that confidentiality enables honest dialogs to take place with the authorities in an atmosphere of trust that is geared to finding solutions.

Humanitarian Mobilization

The ICRC may sometimes share its concerns about violation of international armed conflicts with government of third-party states, regional or international organizations, or with persons who are able to support ICRC representations in order to influence the behavior of parties to a conflict.

Public declaration on the quality of the bilateral confidential dialogue

The ICRC may publicly express its concern about the quality of its bilateral confidential dialogue with a party to a conflict, or about the quality of the response given to its recommendations regarding a specific humanitarian problem.[43] This action is taken when there is need to strengthen the impact of the ICRC’s bilateral confidential dialogue with a party to a conflict.

Public Condemnation

The ICRC may issue public condemnation of specific violations of international humanitarian law. However, the following conditions must be met:

(a)        the violations are major and repeated or likely to be repeated;

(b)        delegates have witnessed the violations with their own eyes, or the existence and extent of those violations have been established on the basis of reliable and verifiable sources;

(c)        bilateral confidential representations and, when attempted, humanitarian mobilization efforts have failed to put an end to the violations;

(d)       such publicity is in the interest of the persons or populations affected or threatened.[44]

Parties to a conflict may also assign the following responsibilities to the ICRC[45];

  • Visitation of Prisoners of war (POW) and civilian internees
  • Acting as a Central Tracing Agency which transmit information concerning missing persons
  • Facilitating the establishment of hospitals and safety zones
  • Protecting victims of armed conflicts
  • Promoting the application of the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols; in other words, promoting international humanitarian law.

The Impact of the ICRC on the Boko Haram Insurgency

Numerous crises have been witnessed within the last two decades in Nigeria, prominent amongst them is the Boko Haram crises which is still going on.[46] This group started a bloody campaign to impose a sui-generis Islamic regime based on Sharia in the Muslim North of the country. Actually, it is hard to argue that Boko Haram is a religious or ethnic conflict. In the former case, it targets more Muslims than Christians. In the latter, it is mostly an ethnic northern conflict.[47] For this reason, though Boko Haram uses a religious discourse, it may be more appropriate to call it simply a terrorist organisation,[48] causing ethno-religious crises. Ethno-religious crises is a state of affairs in which the relationship between members of one ethnic or religious group and another of such group in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society is characterized by lack of cordiality, mutual suspicion and fear, and a tendency towards violent confrontation.[49]

The ICRC in accordance with its mandate has taken steps to perform its non-international armed conflict roles in Northern Nigeria. At the end of November 2011 the ICRC together with the Nigerian Red Cross provided assistance to over 300 victims of inter-communal clashes in Barkin Lardi, Plateau state. The victims were given food and other essential items as well as emergency health care. [50] In 2011 also, the ICRC facilitated the training of over 600 Nigerian Red Cross volunteers to be trained in administering first aid.[51] Displaced people were not left out as they were assisted with food and water. The ICRC also has been dealing with the promotion of humanitarian rules. The ICRC also continued to work with the Nigerian authority to implement IHL through domestic legislation, and in addition to this, the ICRC took it upon itself to hold seminars and make presentations in nine universities where over 2500 students were in attendance.[52]

The ICRC has maintained close relationship with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and have constantly exchanged information of common benefit. This led to the success of ECOWAS, amongst others, validating a plan of action for implementation of international humanitarian law in the region.[53]

The ICRC and the Nigerian Red Cross Society completed the distribution of food and household essentials to over 50,000 people living in tremendously difficult circumstances.[54]

In carrying out her function of visiting Prisoners of war (POW) and civilian internees, the ICRC in 2014 paid visits to detainees in over 20 detention facilities. This was done to investigate the state in which they were being held.[55] This visit led to a confidential representation between the federal government and the ICRC and the findings made from the visits were shared with the authorities. Also, in the first half of 2019, the ICRC visited 22,400 detainees in 21 places of detention to assess their treatment and living conditions.[56]

In carrying out her function of facilitating the establishment of hospitals and safety zones, the ICRC in 2014 sent a mobile surgical team for the treatment of over 70 victims of the Boko Haram crises who suffered injury from bomb blast in Jos (this was in May) and also in Kaduna (this was in July).[57] Between January and June 2019, the ICRC provided children under the age of 5 years with vaccines. A total of 37,800 children were vaccinated.[58]

In 2015 the ICRC established a sub-delegation in Yola to respond to the consequences of the armed conflicts in the North East. With this sub-delegation the ICRC was able to provide 29,950 returnees and displaced persons with cash for agro-input. Patients including children also attended 5 ICRC-supported clinics, members of communities were trained in emergency response and preparation, and people were provided with access to clean water.[59]

Challenges of the ICRC

The major problem faced with the ICRC in carrying out its mandate is the problem of insecurity of its members and members of other humanitarian organisations working with the ICRC. A number of Red Cross aid workers lost their lives following an airstrike on the town of Rann, near the border of Nigeria and Cameroon.[60] This airstrike was made in error by the Nigeria Armed Forces after which the United Nations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement asked the Nigerian government to ensure that such unfortunate incident does not reoccur.[61] It is the opinion of the writers that this incident is as a result of lack of proper enforcement of IHL on the part of the Nigerian government. This is because if IHL was properly enforced all necessary precautions to prevent errors would be made. In 2018 the abduction and murder of two ICRC midwives by the Boko Haram threatened the delicate health care system of the North East and this slowed down the humanitarian response to those who needed it urgently.[62] In July 2019, members of the ‘Action Against Hunger’ team were abducted and one was killed.[63] The writers are of the opinion that this act by the Boko Haram may be as a result of inadequate awareness of the rules of IHL or a blatant disregard of IHL.

Recommendations

There is no doubt that the ICRC enjoys a large extent of support from the Nigeria armed forces in carrying out her humanitarian mandate in the northern Nigeria.

Firstly, for the ICRC to perform its task more efficiently, the ICRC and its members, including all persons not taking part in the hostilities must be spared of hostilities by the Nigeria military forces and the Boko Haram group, as this is the rule under international humanitarian law, and also because the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Additional Protocol of 1977 referred to the ICRC as “an impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross”.[64] It is recommended that the Boko Haram group should desist from killing and taking ICRC members hostage as this jeopardizes access to the much needed assistance for people affected by the armed conflict.

Secondly, it is recommended that the Nigeria military should exercise utmost precaution in carrying out its operations against the Boko Haram group and avoid any form of accidental or deliberate killing of ICRC workers.

Thirdly, there should be a stricter enforcement and implementation of International Humanitarian Law by the Nigerian government as this will surmount most of the limitations encountered by the ICRC in carrying out their mandate.

Fourthly, the Nigeria government should ensure that there is stricter control of conventional armed transfer in Nigeria. This will prevent arms from getting to the wrong hands.

Lastly, it is recommended that enlightenment and awareness programmes on the rules of IHL be organised regularly for both arm carriers and the civilian population.

 Conclusion

From the foregoing discourse, it is safe to admit that the activities of the ICRC in northern Nigeria with respect to the Boko Haram crises is of great importance and highly needed. This is so because in this paper the writers have examined the role the  ICRC play in Nigeria’s Boko Haram crises, how its activities are being carried out, challenges faced by the ICRC and recommendation that will enable the ICRC carryout its mandate better. Furthermore, as shown in the ICRC and Boko Haram crises, there is need for the rules of International Humanitarian Law to be fully obeyed as this will enable the ICRC to better carryout its functions resulting in better impact. Humanitarian aid workers will be safe and this will lead to victims of Boko Haram crises, both parties to the armed conflicts and non-parties to the armed conflicts, benefiting from the humanitarian function of the ICRC. When the rules of IHL are adhered to, parties to the armed conflict may be able to avoid international sanctions which they may be subject to if the rules were violated.

About the Author(s)

Ogheneyoma W. Akpovogbeta is a 500 Level Law Student, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti; Associate Member of The Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators; E-mail:[email protected]; phone: +234 7087 3825 48

Oluwayomi O. Motajo is a 500 Level Law Student, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti; Associate Member of The Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators; E-mail:[email protected]; phone: +234 7085112237.

We are grateful to our international humanitarian law lecturer: Dr. Samson Shaba for his kind mentoring and intellectual generosity.

References

[1] See <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Boko-Haram> for more details, accessed 4 February 2020.

[2] International Committee of Red Cross, ‘How is the Term ‘’Armed Conflict’’ Defined in International Humanitarian Law?’(2008) 64(2)  ICRC Opinion paper 1.

[3] John Lahai, ‘Gendered Battlefields: A contextual and comparative Analysis of Women’s participation in Armed Conflicts in Africa’ (2010) 4(2) The peace and conflict Review 1-17 at 2.

[4] Common Article 2 of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.

[5] Sylvain Vite’, ‘Typology of armed conflicts in international humanitarian law: legal concepts and actual situations’ [2009] (91) (873) International Review of the Red Cross; 83.

[6] See Section 2 on General International Law.

[7] AP I, Art. 70(1).

[8] See Article 70 (1) Additional Protocol I of 1977.

[9] Art. 62(1) of Draft AP I and Art. 33(1) of Draft AP II to the GC of August 12, 1949.

[10] Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts, 1974-1977, CDDH/II/SR.87, paras. 27-30

[11] This was mentioned during the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts, 1974-1977, O.R. XII, p. 336, CDDH/II/SR.87, Para 27.

[12] International Law Commission, Fourth report on the protection of persons in the event of disasters, A/CN.4/643, Para. 72. Yearbook of the Institute of International Law, Vol. 70, Part I, 563.

[13] Art. 54 (1) API

[14] Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.

[15] High Contracting Parties are states who have signed or ratified the Geneva Conventions

[16]ICTY, Prosecutor v. Zejnil Delalic et al., Case No IT-96-21-T, Judgment, 16 November 1998, para. 543: “In sum, the Trial Chamber finds that inhuman treatment is an intentional act or omission, that is an act which, judged objectively, is deliberate and not accidental, which causes serious mental or physical suffering or injury or constitutes a serious attack on human dignity.”

[17] Jean Pictet, et al. (eds.), Commentary on the Geneva Convention I of 12 August 1949, 58.

[18] See, for example, Common Art. 3(4) to the Geneva Conventions. From a practical point of view, the consent of relevant NSAG controlling or operating in the territory in question is necessary for relief actions to be carried out, especially for security reasons.

[19] Additional Protocol II of 1977.

[20] AP II, Art. 18(2); ICRC Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law, Rule 55.

[21] Francois Bungnion, The international committee of Red Cross and the protection of war victims. (Macmillan 2014) 6.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Jean Charles Chenu, Administrative operations during the Italian Campaign Vol 1,(J. Dumaine Military Library,1869)17.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Francois Bungnion. ‘’Birth of an idea: the founding of the International Committee of Red Cross and of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’’ [2012] (94)(888) International Review of the Red  Cross 1302.

[26] Francois Bugnion, The international committee of Red Cross and the protection of war Victims (Macmillan 2014) 6.

[27] Henry Dunant, Bernard Ganebin (eds),Memoires, (Henry Dunant Institute ,1971) 36-37.

[28] Henry Dunant, A Memory of solferino (Jules-Guilaume Fick Printing , 1862) 115.

[29] Ibid.

[30] International Committee of Red Cross, Minutes of the Meeting of 17 February 1863,English translation (ICRC 1963) 63-65.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Nigerian Red Cross, ‘The Red Cross; History’. Available at <https://www.redcrossnigeria.org/history.html> accessed 4 February 2020.

[33] Nigerian Red Cross <https://www.redcrossnigeria.org/history.html> 4 February 2020.

[34] Nigerian Red Cross Act of 1960, CAP 324, Section 5(1).

[35] Chris C. Wigwe, International Humanitarian Law (Readwide Publishers 2010) 33-34

[36] Jean Pictet, Commentary Vol. IV 20

[37] Ibid.

[38] Prosecutor v Dusko Tadic A/K/a “Dule” Decision on the Defence Motion for Interlocutory Appeal on Jurisdiction

[39] Ibid.

[40] This agreement was extended to include non-international armed conflict. See also the Preamble convention of conventional weapons amendment to Art. 1, Dec. 21, 2001, ICRC Treaty data www.icrc.org/ihl

[41] Validated by the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the International Committee of the Red Cross on 2nd November 2018. See also;

ECOWAS Community of West African States (ECOWAS), ‘ECOWAS, ICRC Validate Plan of Action for Implementation of International Humanitarian Law in The Region’ <https://www.ecowas.int/ecowas-icrc-validate-plan-of-action-for-implementation-of-international-humanitarian-law-in-the-region/> accessed on 4 February 2020

[42] Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement adopted by the 25th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, October 1986 Article 5(2)(c) and (d), International Review of the Red Cross, No. 256, January-February 1987,  25.

[43] See ‘Action by the International Committee of the Red Cross in the event of violations of international humanitarian law or of other fundamental rules protecting persons in situations of violence’ < https://international-review.icrc.org/sites/default/files/irrc_858-11.pdf> accessed 4 February 2020.

[44] Ibid.

[45] see Geneva Conventions of 1949, Common Article 9 GC I-III, and Article 10 GC IV

[46] Haldun Çancı and Opeyemi Odukoya, ‘Ethnic and Religious Crises in Nigeria: A Specific Analysis Upon Identities (1999-2013)’ African Centre For the Constructive Resolution of Disputes < https://www.accord.org.za/ajcr-issues/ethnic-religious-crises-nigeria/> accessed 6 February 2020.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Chales Alfred and Andeshi Chriatopher and Daniel Wununyatu, ‘War Economy of Ethno-Religious Crises: a Study of the Wukari Crises of Taraba State, Nigeria’ [2014] (2) (1) International Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies < http://www.rcmss.com/2014/IJPCS-VOl2-No1/The%20War%20Economy%20of%20the%20wukari%20Ethnoreligious%20crisis%20in%20taraba%20state%20nigeria.pdf> accessed 27 February 2020.

[50] See the ICRC Operational update in responding to multiple situations of violence at <https://www.icrc.org/en/doc/resources/documents/update/2012/nigeria-update-2012-01-13.htm> accessed on 6 February 2020.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid.

[53] ECOWAS Community of West African States (ECOWAS), ‘ECOWAS, ICRC Validate Plan of Action for Implementation of International Humanitarian Law in The Region’ <https://www.ecowas.int/ecowas-icrc-validate-plan-of-action-for-implementation-of-international-humanitarian-law-in-the-region/> accessed  4 February 2020.

[54] This was done on 3rd November 2014. See ICRC Audiovisual Archives at <https://avarchives.icrc.org/Picture/128343> accessed on 6 February 2020.

[55] Ibid.

[56] ICRC in Nigeria: Facts and Figures, January – June 2019, <https://reliefweb.int/report/nigeria/icrc-nigeria-facts-figures-january-june-2019> accessed 6 February 2020.

[57] ICRC, Nigeria: Aids for more than 50,000 Violence-Displaced People in the North-East < https://www.icrc.org/en/document/nigeria-aid-more-50000-violence-displaced-people-north-east> accessed 6 February 2020.

[58] ICRC in Nigeria: Facts and Figures, January – June 2019, <https://reliefweb.int/report/nigeria/icrc-nigeria-facts-figures-january-june-2019> accessed 6 February 2020

[59] See ‘Facts and Figures: ICRC activities for 2018 in Adamawa, Southern Borno and Gombe states (January – December 2018): Responding to the needs of vulnerable people in the North East Nigeria’ <https://reliefweb.int/report/nigeria/facts-and-figures-icrc-activities-2018-adamawa-southern-borno-and-gombe-states> accessed February 2020

[60] See <https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/press-release/international-red-cross-and-red-crescent-movement-deplores-the-death-of-nigerian-red-cross-society-aid-workers-in-rann-nigeria/> for more details accessed 7 February 2020.

[61] See < https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/220889-idp-camp-bombing-un-red-cross-unicef-others-react.html> accessed 7 February 2020.

[62] See ICRC Newsletter, ‘An Overview of Humanitarian Response and Challenges’ Nigeria Facts & Figures (January to December 2018).

[63] See ‘Nigeria: ICRC condemns aid worker’s murder, appeals to abductors to spare remaining hostages’ < https://www.icrc.org/en/document/nigeria-icrc-condemns-aid-workers-murder-appeals-abductors-spare-remaining-hostages> accessed 7 February 2020.

[64] Geneva Conventions of 1949, Common Article 3; Articles 9/9/9/10 of the four Conventions and Article 5 para. 3, of Additional Protocol I.

Author: ABUAD Law Review

The ABUAD Law Review (ALR), is a Journal published by the Afe Babalola University Law Students’ Society. It aim is to contribute to law and policy reform, not just in Nigeria, but the world at large by fostering rapid dissemination of preliminary research results by students, legal practitioners, teaching and research scholars.

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