oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The law of war in Southern Africa: the growing debate

Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



From a humanitarian point of view, the ANC declaration to the Red Cross, made on 20 October 1980 is commendable. However, there is no prospect that South Africa will consent to the applicability of article 1(4) to the ANC's war of liberation, no matter what proportions it may assume. The fear of the author is that in time the conflicts to this article 1(4) refers will have been fought without the implementation of any humanitarian law. Such conflicts will be fought in a vacuum of humanitarian law which could possibly have been avoided if a more realistic and practical approach based upon the consensus of all parties had been adopted. Article 1(4) is detrimental not only in constituting a "built-in non-applicability clause" but also in its exclusiveness; while it stands it excludes any other formal basis for a negotiated agreement on the humanitarian safeguards to be applied in article 1(4) type conflicts.

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