Oct 19 2017 Posted: 12:40 IST



"Collaborating with the Enemy during Armed Conflict -  
Does International Humanitarian Law have a Blind Spot?"

A Whitaker Ideas Seminar

Presentation by Dr Shane Darcy
Irish Centre for Human Rights

Wednesday 25th October 1pm
CA110 (SAC Room), Cairnes Building, NUI, Galway

The use of informers and other collaborators by parties to an armed conflict has been a constant yet oftentimes concealed practice in wartime. Informers may provide valuable intelligence which assists with military and security operations, while various forms of collaboration, whether military, administrative or economic, can further a number of aims of parties to an armed conflict. Collaborators might be considered indispensible for the pursuit of certain wartime objectives, both lawful and otherwise. Despite the prevalence of such activity during wartime, and the serious and at times fatal consequences that befall those who collaborate with an enemy, international law applicable in times of armed conflict does not squarely address the phenomenon.


Informers and other collaborators do not feature amongst the categories of persons which international humanitarian law formally recognises during armed conflict, principally combatants, civilians, prisoners of war, spies and mercenaries. The recruitment, use and treatment of informers and collaborators is addressed only indirectly by international humanitarian law. This paper considers this potential blind spot of international humanitarian law when it comes to collaborating with an enemy and assesses how recent developments in human rights law and the law of war crimes might be brought to bear in this context.