Protection of persons and objects
On 29 October and 14 November 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as part of mutual agreements, facilitated the return and transfer of the dead following the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The support and facilitation offered by foreign governments and organisations such as the ICRC and the OSCE may have contributed to respect for IHL.
In August 2014, the United States coordinated its airpower with Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi Army ground forces to retake the highly fragile Mosul Dam in Iraq from the Islamic State, thereby respecting the heightened protections afforded to critical infrastructure under IHL and avoiding a potential humanitarian disaster.
During the 1982 conflict in the Falklands/Malvinas, British military medical personnel provided comprehensive medical treatment for wounded enemy combatants – based on medical need alone and regardless of allegiance, as required by IHL. Training for medical personnel before going into combat, and the close proximity of medical support units to the site of hostilities, played an important role in influencing these acts of compliance with IHL.
At the end of the 1990–1991 Gulf War, a tripartite commission was set up and mandated to ascertain the fate of people who had gone missing during the war. Iraq and Kuwait collaborated under the auspices of this commission and succeeded in locating, exhuming, and repatriating numerous sets of human remains. These reciprocal actions of compliance with IHL were enabled by such means as the mediation and support of external actors and the use of advanced technology.
In compliance with the first agreement between them since the beginning of the conflict in Yemen, the Hadi government and the Houthis have released hundreds of detainees. These acts of compliance with IHL may have been a result of diplomatic efforts and international pressure; they may also have been influenced by both parties' interest in gaining credibility and improving their public image.
As part of a peace agreement with the Free Aceh Movement (‘GAM’) signed on 15 August 2005, the Government of Indonesia released thousands of people detained during the conflict. This act of compliance with IHL is said to have been motivated by the consequences of the Indian ocean tsunami of 2004 and has paved the way towards a successful peace process.
In 1985, El Salvador and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (‘FMLN’) agreed to a series of “days of tranquility” where the parties ceased hostilities to facilitate medical workers' access to children for the purpose of vaccination campaigns. This act of compliance with IHL was motivated by the joint recognition of the serious health crisis and was made possible thanks to the support of external actors and religious leaders.
During Operation Unified Protector in 2011, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in cooperation with the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield and the International Military Cultural Resources Work Group, distributed a list of cultural sites in Libya that were not to be targeted by the armed forces: all the military forces involved followed this recommendation during the conduct of hostilities. Their behaviour seems to have been influenced by the multidisciplinary expert support they were given during military activities and by the involvement of other states and of actors such as UNESCO and various non-governmental organizations.
In Libya, after social unrest escalated into armed conflict in 2011, the detaining authorities permitted the ICRC to visit different detaining facilities and detainees of their choice.