International Humanitarian Law

Introduction

International Humanitarian Law - Research Guide International Law

International Humanitarian Law, also known as the Laws of War or Law of Armed Conflict is the part of public international law that regulates international and non-international armed conflict. International Humanitarian Law consists of the rules applicable during the conflict. These rules also apply to a situation of occupation arising from armed conflict. The International Humanitarian Law rules can be found in both treaties and international customary law. The main objective of these rules is to provide protection to the civilian population and civilian objects as well as to those persons who are no longer taking part in the hostilities. In addition, International Humanitarian Law rules aim to restrict the methods and means of warfare used during the hostilities by the parties involved. The International Committee of the Red Cross, a non-governmental humanitarian organization with its headquarter in Geneva, is the primary institution for International Humanitarian Law. Established in 1863, the initiatives of the ICRC have greatly contributed to the development of international humanitarian law. The ICRC also monitors the implementation of International Humanitarian Law rules and norms.

This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on International Humanitarian Law. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library’s classification index code 211. International Humanitarian Law; General Works and subject heading (keyword) International Humanitarian Law are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.

The International Humanitarian Law Research Guide of the Peace Palace Library is updated regularly in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Library in Geneva.

Bibliography

Reference works

Books

Articles

Documents

Periodicals, serial publications

Bibliographies

New titles


1. A history of the laws of war
A history of the laws of war. - Oxford ; Portland, OR : Hart, 2011. - 1 online resource (xiii, 264 p.) Includes bibliographical references and index. - 2011
Keywords: Combatants and non-combatants, Prisoners of war, Laws of war, International humanitarian law, History of international law, E-books,

2. Weapons and Armed Non-state Actors
Weapons and Armed Non-state Actors / Andrew Clapham. - Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Pres. - Pagina 163-196 In: Weapons under International Human Rights Law / edited by Stuart Casey-Maslen, ISBN 110702787X: (2014), Pagina 163-196. - 2014
Keywords: Non-State actors, Armed conflicts, Arms, State responsibility, International humanitarian law, Human rights, International criminal law,

3. The Use of Weapons in Armed Conflict
The Use of Weapons in Armed Conflict / Stuart Casey-Maslen and Sharon Weill. - Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Pres. - Pagina 240-281 In: Weapons under International Human Rights Law / edited by Stuart Casey-Maslen, ISBN 110702787X: (2014), Pagina 240-281. - 2014
Keywords: Armed conflicts, Arms, Combatants and non-combatants, Proportionality, International humanitarian law, Human rights,

4. Weapons under international human rights law
Weapons under international human rights law / edited by Stuart Casey-Maslen. - Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2014. - XLVIII, 633 pages Includes bibliographical references and index. - 2014
Keywords: Conventional weapons, Arms, Law enforcement, Human rights, International humanitarian law, Criminal law, E-books,

5. War Time Pains, All Time Pains
War Time Pains, All Time Pains : Spoilage of Cultural Property in Mali / Afolasade Abidemi Adewumi In: Art, Antiquity and Law = ISSN 1362-2331: vol. 18, issue 4, page 309-321. - 2013
Keywords: Mali, Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict [The Hague, 14 May 1954], Armed conflicts, Cultural heritage, International humanitarian law, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,

6. Die Privatisierung von Militäreinsätzen: Völkerrechtliche Rahmenbedingungen einer Einbeziehung privater Militär- und Sicherheitsdienste
Die Privatisierung von Militäreinsätzen: Völkerrechtliche Rahmenbedingungen einer Einbeziehung privater Militär- und Sicherheitsdienste / Thilo Marauhn. - Baden-Baden : Nomos. - Page 161-176 In: Streitkräfte und nicht-staatliche Akteure / Dieter Weingärtner, Heike Krieger [Hrsg.], ISBN 9783848703777: (2013), Page 161-176. - 2013
Keywords: Armed conflicts, Private military companies, International humanitarian law, Human rights, Code of conduct,

7. Das Recht des Individuums auf Wiedergutmachung nach humanitärem Völkerrecht
Das Recht des Individuums auf Wiedergutmachung nach humanitärem Völkerrecht / Yasser Abdelrehim In: Humanitäres Völkerrecht = ISSN 0937-5414: vol. 26, issue 4, page 178-187. - 2013
Keywords: War victims, War reparations, International humanitarian law, Legal remedies, Sovereign immunities,

8. Cyberspace Operations in International Armed Conflict
Cyberspace Operations in International Armed Conflict : the Principles of Distinction and Proportionality in Relation to Military Objects / Wieteke Theeuwen In: Humanitäres Völkerrecht = ISSN 0937-5414: vol. 26, issue 4, page 188-194. - 2013
Keywords: Cyberwarfare, Armed conflicts, Military objectives, Combatants and non-combatants, Proportionality, International humanitarian law,

9. The Duty to Make Amends to Victims of Armed Conflict
The Duty to Make Amends to Victims of Armed Conflict / Scott T. Paul In: Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law = ISSN 1069-4455: vol. 22, issue 1, page 87-118. - 2013
Keywords: Armed conflicts, Civilian population, War victims, War reparations, International humanitarian law,

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  • Pocar, F. (et al.) (eds.), War Crimes and the Conduct of Hostilities: Challenges to Adjudication and Investigation, Cheltenham, E. Elgar, 2013. Showcase item

    Pocar, F. (et al.) (eds.), War Crimes and the Conduct of Hostilities: Challenges to Adjudication and Investigation, Cheltenham, E. Elgar, 2013.

    Most charges for war crimes are brought for violations of the rules on the treatment of protected persons in armed conflict situations. However in certain cases, they are brought for serious breach of international humanitarian law rules governing the conduct of hostilities. This book seeks to address this somewhat neglected area of international criminal law. War Crimes and the Conduct of Hostilities identifies the challenges faced by prosecutors, investigators and courts and tribunals in the definition, investigation and adjudication of war crimes, based on violations of the rules of international humanitarian law on the conduct of hostilities. Detailed and topical sections in the book include; violations of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, violations of the rules protecting particular categories of persons, violations of the rules on means of warfare and the special case of terrorism in armed conflicts.

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  • Barnidge, R.P. (ed.), The Liberal Way of War: Legal Perspectives, Farnham, Ashgate, 2013. Showcase item

    Barnidge, R.P. (ed.), The Liberal Way of War: Legal Perspectives, Farnham, Ashgate, 2013.

    Examining some of the huge challenges that liberal States faced in the decade after 11 September 2001, the chapters in this book address three aspects of the impact of more than a decade of military action.This book begins by considering four different expressions of universalist moral aspirations, including the prohibition of torture, and discusses migration and ‘responsibility to protect,’ as well as the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s Concluding Observations about security and liberty in the last decade. International humanitarian law and the problems posed by the territorial character of war and the effects of new technologies and child soldiers are also analysed. Finally, Islamic law and its interface with international law is considered from a new perspective, and contributions in this final part offer a different way of thinking about an authentically Islamic modernisation that would be compatible with Western models of political order. With contributions from international lawyers from diverse backgrounds, this book fills an important gap in the literature on the themes of international human rights law, international humanitarian law and Islamic law.

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  • Müller, A., The Relationship between Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and International Humanitarian Law: An Analysis of Health-Related Issues in Non-International Armed Conflicts, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2013. Showcase item

    Müller, A., The Relationship between Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and International Humanitarian Law: An Analysis of Health-Related Issues in Non-International Armed Conflicts, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2013.

    The author offers a detailed analysis of the legal consequences of the parallel application of economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights and international humanitarian law (IHL) to non-international armed conflicts.
    With a focus on health related issues, the book covers important topics like the scope of limitations to and derogations from ESC rights, questions related to the integration of the right to health in military-target decisions, states’ obligations to mitigate the adverse public health impact of armed conflicts and obligations relating to the provision of humanitarian assistance. It moves the discussion about the parallel application of IHL and human rights to a new level, highlighting its potential to enhance the protection of people affected by armed conflicts but also the difficulties involved.

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  • Chamberlain, K., War and Cultural Heritage: An Analysis of the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its Two Protocols (2nd ed.), Crickadarn, Institute of Art and Law, 2013.

    Chamberlain, K., War and Cultural Heritage: An Analysis of the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its Two Protocols (2nd ed.), Crickadarn, Institute of Art and Law, 2013.

    War and Cultural Heritage contains in a single volume an article by  article commentary on the 1954 Hague Convention and its Two Protocols. The book  also analyses other instruments of international humanitarian law relevant to  the protection of cultural property. This includes the 1949 Geneva Conventions  and the 1977 Additional Protocols, which had a profound influence on the  drafting of the 1954 Convention and the Second Protocol respectively. The book  also examines the extent to which the provisions of the 1954 Convention and its  Protocols are part of customary international humanitarian law. The book takes  into account the latest developments regarding the international efforts to  secure restitution of Holocaust-looted cultural property, including the work of  the UK’s Spoliation Advisory Panel. The civil war in Syria has resulted in extensive destruction of that nation’s  cultural heritage. More recently in the conflict in Mali Islamist insurgents  retreating from Timbuktu set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless  historic manuscripts, described by the town’s mayor as a devastating blow to world heritage. These incidents demonstrate the need for all parties engaged in armed conflict to have regard to the rules of international law concerning the  protection of cultural property.

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  • Baxter, R. and D.F. Vagts (et al.) (eds.), Humanizing the Laws of War: Selected Writings of Richard Baxter, Oxford, Oxford university Press, 2013.

    Baxter, R. and D.F. Vagts (et al.) (eds.), Humanizing the Laws of War: Selected Writings of Richard Baxter, Oxford, Oxford university Press, 2013.

    This book celebrates the scholarship of Richard Baxter, former Judge of the International Court of Justice and former Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School. The volume brings together Professor Baxter’s writings on the laws of war, on which he was one of the most influential scholars of the twentieth century. The collection of essays contained in this book once again makes his exceptional writings available to scholars and students in the field. His work remains timely and relevant to today’s issues, and offers many analyses which have been borne out in subsequent years. It includes, amongst many wide-ranging topics within the laws of war, Baxter’s studies of the Geneva Conventions, human rights in times of war, and the legal problems of international military command. Featuring a new introduction by Professor Detlev Vagts exploring the importance of Baxter’s writings, and a Biographical Note by Judge Stephen Schwebel assessing Baxter’s life, this book is essential reading for scholars and students of international humanitarian law.

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  • Kolb, R., and G. Gaggioli (eds.), Research Handbook on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Cheltenham, E. Elgar, 2013.

     Kolb, R., and G. Gaggioli (eds.), Research Handbook on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Cheltenham, E. Elgar, 2013.

    This book explores the interplay between international human rights law and international humanitarian law, offering expert analysis on the increasingly complex issues surrounding their application in conflict areas across the world. Contributors to this volume provide a comprehensive treatment of the ongoing relationship between human rights law and humanitarian law, from the historical background and origins of the two bodies of law to their various applications today. Divided into four parts – Historical Background, Common Issues, The Need for a Combined Approach, and Monitoring Mechanisms – the Handbook presents a rich and varied spectrum of original research and thought from some of the brightest minds in the field.

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  • Saxon, D. (ed.), International Humanitarian Law and the Changing Technology of War, Leiden, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2013.

    Saxon, D. (ed.), International Humanitarian Law and the Changing Technology of War, Leiden, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2013.

    Increasingly, war is and will be fought by machines – and virtual networks linking machines – which, to varying degrees, are controlled by humans. This book explores the legal challenges for armed forces resulting from the development and use of new military technologies – automated and autonomous weapon systems, cyber weapons, “non-lethal” weapons and advanced communications – for the conduct of warfare. The contributions, each written by scholars and military officers with expertise in International Humanitarian Law (IHL), provide analysis and recommendations for armed forces as to how these new technologies may be used in accordance with international law. Moreover, the chapters provide suggestions for military doctrine to ensure continued compliance with IHL during this ever-more-rapid evolution of technology.

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  • Wilmshurst, E. (ed.), International Law and the Classification of Conflicts, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.

    Wilmshurst, E. (ed.), International Law and the Classification of Conflicts, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.

    This book comprises contributions by leading experts in the field of international humanitarian law on the subject of the categorisation or classification of armed conflict. It is divided into two sections: the first aims to provide the reader with a sound understanding of the legal questions surrounding the classification of hostilities and its consequences; the second includes ten case studies that examine practice in respect of classification.Understanding how classification operates in theory and practice is a precursor to identifying the relevant rules that govern parties to hostilities. With changing forms of armed conflict which may involve multi-national operations, transnational armed groups and organized criminal gangs, the need for clarity of the law is all-important. The case studies selected for analysis are Northern Ireland, DRC, Colombia, Afghanistan (from 2001), Gaza, South Ossetia, Iraq (from 2003), Lebanon (2006), theso-called war against Al-Qaeda, and future trends. The studies explore the legal consequences of classification particularly in respect of the use of force, detention in armed conflict, and the relationship between human rights law and international humanitarian law. The practice identified in thecase studies allows the final chapter to draw conclusions as to the state of the law on classification.

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  • Larsen, K.M. (et al.) (eds.), Searching for a "Principle of Humanity" in International Humanitarian Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    Larsen, K.M. (et al.) (eds.), Searching for a "Principle of Humanity" in International Humanitarian Law, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    The legal norms of International Humanitarian Law are the product of a compromise between humanitarian considerations and the demands of military necessity. In Searching for a ‘Principle of Humanity’ in International Humanitarian Law, international legal scholars consider whether humanitarian considerations have an independent legal impact on IHL beyond the formation of these norms. They ask whether a ‘principle of humanity’ can be said to have legal force in its own right. Moreover, the book investigates whether regional or national differences are emerging regarding the import and emphasis placed on humanitarian considerations. For instance, do states which are not directly affected by armed conflict attach a greater weight to humanitarian considerations when interpreting and applying IHL than those states which are more directly involved in armed conflicts? Specifically, this book examines whether a particular ‘Nordic perspective’ can be identified, owing to those states’ involvement in armed conflicts outside their own territories in the post- Second World War era.

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Database

Blogs

  • Crimes against Cultural Property in Mali

    In an earlier Peace Palace Library blog (Cultucide in Timbuktu: Shari’a and war crimes) Ingrid Kost wrote that the Islamist Group Ansar (Ed)dine (“Defenders of the Faith”) destroyed some of the age-old mausolea of Sufi Saints in Timbuktu, Mali. One of the major causes of destruction of cultural property (the illicit trading, stealing and looting of cultural property is not covered in this blog) over the ages has been armed conflict. Crimes against cultural property should therefore be addressed properly.

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  • Colombia: At Last Peace with the FARC?

    Columbia’s fourth attempt at peace with the Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) started formally last month in Oslo and will continue the 15th of November in Havana, Cuba. The earlier attempts- starting in 1984, 1990 and 1998- to end one of Latin America’s longest and bloodiest armed conflict all failed. Why would the outcome of the peace talks this time be different?

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  • The Legality of Drone Attacks

    According to a recent report by Stanford and New York Universities’ law schools (Living Under Drones), the current US drone strike policy is counterproductive, has injured and killed civilians and undermines respect for international law. This blog explores briefly both the ius ad bellum and ius in bello implications of drone attacks.

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  • The Body Counts : Civilian Casualties in War

    Throughout the post Cold War period there has been a widespread view that war and armed conflict have changed radically since the First World War to the point where some 80-90% of war victims are now civilians. Many modern wars have been accompanied by significant depopulations, along with destruction of infrastructure and resources.

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  • The International Criminal Court Delivers Judgment on Child Soldiers

    On Wednesday 14 March, Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) delivered it’s first verdict. In a unanimous decision three judges convicted Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of the war crimes of conscripting, enlisting, and using children under the age of 15 to participate actively in hostilities. With this judgment the ICC firmly establishes the use of children in armed conflict as an international crime and also focuses renewed attention on the many thousands of children still used in various other conflicts in the world.

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  • A Licence to Kill? The assassination of Osama Bin Laden: Has the USA gone too far in acting as a policeman or was the raid justified?

    Osama Bin Laden (OBL) is dead. He was killed by a special ops team from the United States of America (USA), “after a firefight.” After OBL had been assassinated, the special team of SEALS took the deceased body of the dangerous mastermind terrorist and several hard drives from the compound in Abbottabad. Bin laden had been hiding there with his family for several years without being noticed. When the Pentagon researched the hard drives, it appeared that OBL had been planning new attacks, at least on several US cities and also on European locations. Upon hearing this news so many have sighed with relief that the secret services of the USA found out about these planned attacks before they could actually take place. Obama, President of the USA stated that “justice had been done” by executing OBL. But “what kind of justice” The assassination also led to a lot of questions and criticism: Was the raid justified?

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  • Dresden 1945 : an Allied War Crime?

    Since 1945, the bombing of Dresden is considered by many as a violation of international law and as a crime against humanity, even though positive rules of international humanitarian law were absent at the time. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, were among the first formal statements of the laws of war and war crimes in the nascent body of international law. However these conventions, adressing the codes of wartime conduct on land and at sea, were adopted before the rise of air power. Despite repeated diplomatic attempts (→ The Hague Rules of Air Warefare 1922/1923) to update international humanitarian law to include aerial warfare, it was not done before the outbreak of World War II. The absence of positive international humanitarian law does not mean that the laws of war did not cover aerial warfare, but there was no general agreement of how to interpret those laws.
    The aerial bombardment of Dresden does not only raise the question as to whether or not it was an Allied war crime, but it also makes a moral appeal to prevent total war against civilian populations. It’s memory is kept alive.

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  • “De bijdrage van Nederland aan de codificatie van het moderne humanitaire recht (1800-1914)”

    A legal historical study of the development of international humanitarian law in the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century in the Netherlands.Recently the Peace Palace Library received a gift from the children of D.J.H.N. den Beer Poortugael (Herman den Beer Poortugael). The gift, a book titled: “De bijdrage van Nederland aan de [...]

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  • New Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) to be signed on December 3, 2008

    Cluster Bomb Tour Bus takes on Eastern Europe

    On Wednesday, 1st October an eight-week campaign trail through Europe was launched to convince all governments to sign a groundbreaking treaty banning cluster bombs, in Oslo on December 3, 2008. Beginning in Belgrade, Serbia and ending at the signing ceremony in Norway, the Ban Bus will rally [...]

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  • Judgement of the ICTY Appeals Chamber in the 'Dubrovnik' Case

    On Thursday, 17 July, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) rendered its judgement [PDF document] on the appeals of both the Prosecution and the Defense against the conviction and sentence of the former Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) General Pavle Strugar (Case No. IT-01-42-A).

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