International Humanitarian Law in a galaxy far, far away

Are the Ewoks civilians or combatants?

Got to love Star Wars. For us earthlings, that galaxy far far away is an enduring legacy to the power of friendship, love (hello Han and Leia), and the triumph of right over wrong.

But did you know Star Wars can also offer some ‘theoretical’ lessons about the laws of war, aka international humanitarian law (IHL)? These are the laws that aim to maintain humanity, save lives and reduce suffering in times of armed conflict.

You could argue the laws of war do apply in space (though perhaps not in a galaxy far far away); although the question of their application can get as murky as the Milky Way. So, to celebrate the release of the new Obi Wan Kenobi TV series, a team of Red Cross IHL volunteers, and pop culture fans, have crafted a special Star Wars laws of war quiz.

And while our analysis sits firmly in the realms of fun-fiction the laws of war are serious business. Every day they protect the lives of people who are not, or are no longer, part of a conflict – including civilians, wounded soldiers and prisoners. These laws are laid out in the Geneva Conventions, which have been signed by every country on earth, and other international treaties. And Red Cross has a legal mandate to promote and protect these laws.

So, do you think Anakin Skywalker is breaking the laws of war when he kills Count Dooku?

Do you think the adorable Ewoks are civilians or combatants when they take on the Imperial Stormtroopers?

Put your knowledge to test and find out how much you know about the laws of war.

Get the latest from Red Cross IHL


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