While state actors frequently have difficulties in dealing with non-state armed actors, transnational NGOs have developed strategies that aim specifically at the proliferation of and general adherence to international norms among non-state armed actors (“norm diffusion”). It is their goal to persuade non-state armed actors to accept international humanitarian law norms and to adapt their behaviour accordingly.
As such, the ICRC offers trainings in international humanitarian law to armed actors, and explains their responsibilities with regard to the protection of civilians in military operations to them. The organisation Geneva Call provides education in the field of antipersonnel landmines and supports armed actors in their efforts to clear mined areas and to destroy stockpiles.
But with which methods and under which circumstances can the ICRC and Geneva Call succeed in influencing non-state armed actors to change their behaviour according to international norms? The paper analyses the problems and risks as well as the opportunities of norm diffusion between the ICRC and Geneva Call, respectively, and nonstate armed actors.