This article examines the phenomenon of internal displacement from the perspective of the existing legal framework and those measures which should guarantee protection for internally displaced populations worldwide. With this aim in mind, the article begins by assessing the role of international law and try to ascertain which legal norms are applicable to protect internally displaced persons. As a second step, it analyzes the question of responsibility for the protection of internally displaced persons, i.e. whether this lies with the state of origin through its national law, or rather with the international community, and examines the relevant provisions of international law. While concluding and identifying the existing gaps in the current legislation, the article demonstrates that internally displaced persons should become the objects of a specific system of law and legal protection. At the same time, the text intends to contribute to the contemporary debate promoting efforts to strengthen the protection of internally displaced persons and to disseminate knowledge about this vulnerable group of people.
This article is in tended to provide a legally sound explanation of why and how the contemporary International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law legal frameworks offer tools to address the uncertain ty, lack of in formation, and the consequences thereof in relation to missin g persons and victims of enforced disappearances in the context of armed conflicts which predated the adoption of such frameworks. To this end, three scenarios will be examin ed: the contemporary claims of the families of those who were killed in the Katyń massacre in 1940; the claims for in formation and justice of the families of thousands who were subjected to enforced disappearances durin g the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939; and the identification efforts concernin g those reported missin g while in volved in military operations in the context of the 1944 Kaprolat/Hasselmann in cident which took place durin g the Second World War. The analysis of these scenarios is conducive to the development of more general reflections that would feed in to the debate over the legal relevance of the distant past in light of today’s in ternational legal framework.