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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter assesses the approaches of Asia-Pacific states to international humanitarian law (IHL) and international criminal law (ICL), within the context of the international legal framework. It first addresses influential approaches in the region, including how states present themselves in relation to IHL and ICL issues. Next, it considers how regional states engage with the issue of responsibility in international law, with an emphasis on IHL and ICL. The chapter then examines acceptance of these two bodies of law, arguing that there is no hostility to the basic norms of IHL, but a more unsettled approach to ICL. There is a definite chill in respect of aspects that potentially encroach on independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, or that smack of Western neo-colonialism. These are of course subjectively evaluated by each state. In practical terms, this frostiness can be seen in the responses to external threats of accountability against political leaders, the exercise of universal jurisdiction, Security Council referrals to the International Criminal Court, Pillar Three of the R2P doctrine, the crime of aggression, and certain formulations of other international crimes (for example, war crimes in non-international armed conflict). However, even within these broad regional trends, there is no uniformity. There is decidedly no collective ‘Asia-Pacific approach’ that emerges from the present chapter.

Keywords: international humanitarian law, Asia, Pacific, international criminal law, universal jurisdiction, International Criminal Court

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