The nature of armed conflicts have changed dramatically in the 21st century. Conflicts between two or more states are rare while non-international armed conflicts between government forces and organized armed groups or between such groups themselves are now common. The wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are prime examples of such type of conflicts. These conflicts are asymmetrical in nature since there is a huge difference in the capabilities of opposing sides. Moreover, the conflicts are now being waged in urban centers among huge concentration of civilian populations. The civilian casualties in these conflicts are massive. This has raised quite a few questions on the effectiveness of international humanitarian law or the law of armed conflicts. The law of armed conflicts explicitly prohibits the targeting of civilians and has set limits to an armed conflict. However, asymmetric warfare has set new challenges for IHL. The rules of an international and non-international armed conflict are clear but as far as non-international armed conflict is concerned, the warring parties use various tactics to suppress IHL. States normally do not acknowledge the existence of an armed conflict even when all the requirements of a non-international armed conflict as provided in Tadic Case are fulfilled. Ignorance of rules of IHL and lack of political will to implement such rules are also some challenges to effectiveness of rules of IHL. It is now very important to clearly set the criteria or requirements of a non-international armed conflict. This research paper aims to pass various types of asymmetric warfare through Tadic Test in order to ascertain whether that particular type is a non-international armed conflict covered by IHL or mere internal disturbances or other situations of violence covered by domestic law of the state. It also aims to overview some of the challenges being faced by IHL from asymmetric warfare.
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Advocate Zeeshan Muneer is currently pursuing his LLM in International Law from IIUI. He has also acquired his Masters degree in International Relations from National Defense University Islamabad. He has deep interest in global affairs and International Humanitarian Law.