The case-law of the European Court of Human Rights concerning violations of human rights law during armed conflict has been extended after the first decisions on cases arose from violations, committed during the war in Chechnya between 1999 and 2000. In the words of the Court, at that time the situation called for exceptional measures, in order to regain control over the Republic and suppress an illegal armed insurgency. The Court has been ready to admit those measures, including the deployment of army units equipped with heavy combat weapons, military aviation and artillery, were necessary to counter the aggressiveness of the separatists, but in such a way as to avoid or minimize, to the greatest extent possible, damage to civilians. This brief paper focuses on the means and methods employed. It aims firstly at illustrating the core of the Court’s decisions, in order to identify the key aspects of the protection granted by the system of the European Convention in situations requiring the use of military force. Then it clarifies the approach of the Court to the law of armed conflict.

© Federico Sperotto. All rights reserved.

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