The Role of the European Union in Ensuring Respect for International Humanitarian Law
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This research examines the role of the EU and its Member States in contributing to furthering the aims of international humanitarian law and increasing its implementation and effectiveness through its external promotion of compliance with international humanitarian law. Compliance theory is used to analyse the efforts of the EU to increase respect for the law by both third states and non-state actors. The current practice of promotion and enforcement by the EU is evaluated by considering the implementation of the EU Guidelines on Promoting Compliance with International Humanitarian Law. The various channels of influence open to the EU that have the potential to affect compliance with international humanitarian law are also investigated. The study explores the role that EU Member States play with regard to enforcement of the law, for example through supporting the exercise of universal jurisdiction, and considers the practice of the EU in promoting mechanisms of accountability. The study considers to what extent EU Member States fulfil their duty to ensure respect for international humanitarian law; whether effective and sufficient efforts underway to increase and sustain implementation of the EU guidelines; and what the EU could do as an institution to improve the enforcement of international humanitarian law internally and in its relations with third states. The study ascertains the potential for the EU to develop a distinctive and persuasive capacity to promote compliance with and enforcement of international humanitarian law.