The applicability of international humanitarian law to the conflict in Libya

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-436
Journal / PublicationInternational Community Law Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


The purpose of this article is to examine the applicability of international humanitarian law to the 2011 conflict in Libya in its consecutive phases. We argue that the situation in Libya rose to the level of non-international armed conflict between the government forces and insurgents united by the National Transitional Council by the end of February 2011. The military intervention by a multi-state coalition acting under the Security Council mandate since March 2011 occasioned an international armed conflict between Libya and the intervening States. We consider and reject the arguments in favour of conflict convergence caused by the increased collaboration between the rebels and NATO forces. Similarly, we refute the propositions that the Gaddafi government's gradual loss of power brought about conflict de-internationalisation. Finally, we conclude that both parallel conflicts in Libya terminated at the end of October 2011. The article aspires to shed light on the controversial issues relating to conflict qualification in general and to serve as a basis for the assessment of the scope of responsibility of the actors in the Libyan conflict in particular. © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2012.

Research Area(s)

  • humanitarian law, international armed conflict, internationalisation of armed conflicts, Libya, NATO, non-international armed conflict, NTC