This book deals with the difficulty democracies face in conducting asymmetric warfare in highly populated areas without violating international humanitarian law. On numerous occasions, democratic nations have been singled out by human rights NGOs for the brutality of their modus operandi, for their inadequate attention to the protection of civilian populations, or for acts of abuse or torture on prisoners. Why do they perpetrate these violations? Do they do so intentionally or unintentionally? Can democracies combat irregular armed groups without violating international law? When their population is under threat, do they behave as non-democracies would? Does this type of war inevitably produce war crimes on a more or less massive scale?
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