chapter  7
15 Pages

A hidden fault line

How international actors engage with IHL’s principle of distinction
WithRebecca Sutton

International peacekeeping missions, in particular those espousing a comprehensive or integrated approach, are sites where international humanitarian, political, peacekeeping and military actors struggle to delineate their relationships with each other. This chapter scrutinizes the interactions of international actors who work in and around UN, NATO and EU comprehensive and integrated missions, exploring how issues of “distinction” arise in their encounters with each other. While the principle of distinction in IHL is organized around a civilian-combatant binary, this chapter attends to an important fault line that obscured by that binary arrangement. This hidden fault line exists within the civilian category. Drawing on original empirical findings from field research conducted at civil-military trainings in Sweden, Germany and Italy, this chapter illuminates the civilian-civilian tensions that unfold in the interactions of international actors.