Published: 5 June 2018 Author: Stefan Talmon
Educational institutions are increasingly becoming part of the battlefield, especially in non-international armed conflicts. Kindergartens, schools and universities are used for military purposes. Military forces are deployed in and nearby schools, and schools are used a weapons depots or firing positions, thereby making them legitimate military objectives under international law. Armed conflict regularly leads to damage and destruction of educational infrastructure, threatens the lives of students and teachers, and may deprive whole generations of their right to education.
The protection of educational institutions during armed conflict under international law is rudimentary at best. Schools are generally considered to be civilian objects which may not be made the object of attack or of reprisals unless they are being used to make an effective contribution to military action. Where doubt may arise as to whether a school is being used to make an effective contribution to military action, it is presumed not to be the case. (more…)