The Use of Force Against the Islamic State

The Islamic State (IS) must not be recognized as a State. It is an illegitimate non-state actor engaged in serious violations of international law. The use of force against the IS does not have a uniform legal basis. Some of the related actions can be justified on the grounds of the consent of the territorial State (this is the case with the US in Iraq, and Russia in Syria). The legality of other actions against the IS (those of Turkey in Iraq, and of the US in Syria) remains doubtful. The IS is likely to be defeated in the upcoming months. The situation does not require a more active engagement by the Czech Republic beyond what it is already doing (provision of weapons, training of armed and police personnel, etc.).

The emergence of the so-called Islamic State (IS) has given rise to various legal questions. Thie policy paper written by Veronika Bílková and Tamás Lattmann considers some of them. It discusses:

1) whether the IS is a State, and if not, what its legal nature is;

2) whether the use of force against the IS by countries other than Syria and Iraq is lawful under international law (jus ad bellum);

3) what the nature of the armed conflict(s) in which the IS is involved is, which rules apply to it (them) and what the status of the IS fighters is (jus in bello);

4) which crimes the IS has committed, and what the options for criminally prosecuting IS members for these crimes are.

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