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

Updated every Friday morning.

The Peace Palace Library has a collection of over a million publications. Each week, about six hundred new titles are added to our collection: books, articles, documents, online publications, etc. On this page, access is provided to this week’s new titles on International Humanitarian Law.


1. Das Recht der Kriegsgefangenen in modernen bewaffneten Konflikten
Das Recht der Kriegsgefangenen in modernen bewaffneten Konflikten / Jörg Sommer. - Frankfurt am Main : PL Academic Research, Imprint der Peter Lang GmbH, 2013. - XXVI, 199 pages. ; 22 cm. - (Schriften zum internationalen und zum öffentlichen Recht, ISSN 0943-173X ; Band 108) Originally dissertation at Universität Marburg, 2012. - Bibliography: page XV-XXIV. - With notes. - 2013
Keywords: Prisoners of war, International humanitarian law,

2. Dignity in Revolution
Dignity in Revolution / Clare Frances Moran. - Warsaw : Ius et Lex Foundation. - Page 252-275 In: Essays on Human Rights : a Celebration of the Life of Dr. Janusz Kochanowski / editor Jo Carby-Hall, ISBN 9788361718246: (2014), Page 252-275. - 2014
Keywords: Human rights, Human dignity, International humanitarian law, Liberation movements, Responsibilities, Criminal liability, United Nations,

3. Human Rights of Guantánomo Detainees under International and US Law
Human Rights of Guantánomo Detainees under International and US Law : revisiting the US Supreme Court Cases / Patricia Goedde In: Journal of East Asia and International Law = ISSN 1976-9229: vol. 7, issue 1, page 7-29. - 2014
Keywords: Guantanamo Bay, United States of America, Supreme court, Detainees, Habeas corpus, Terrorism, Human rights, International humanitarian law, National security, Case-law,

4. Humanitarian Action, Development and Terrorism
Humanitarian Action, Development and Terrorism / Andrej Zwitter. - Cheltenham, UK ; Northampton, MA, USA : Edward Elgar. - Page 315-332 In: Research Handbook on International Law and Terrorism / edited by Ben Saul, ISBN 9780857938800: (2014), Page 315-332. - 2014
Keywords: Humanitarian assistance, Foreign aid, Protection, Armed conflicts, Terrorism, International humanitarian law,

5. Initiative der Schweiz und des IKRK für die bessere Einhaltung des Humanitären Völkerrechts
Initiative der Schweiz und des IKRK für die bessere Einhaltung des Humanitären Völkerrechts / Nicolas Lang In: Humanitäres Völkerrecht = ISSN 0937-5414: vol. 27, issue 2, page 60-64. - 2014
Keywords: Switzerland, International Committee of the Red Cross, International humanitarian law, Compliance,

6. 150 Jahre Genfer Konventionen
150 Jahre Genfer Konventionen / Sascha Rolf Lüder In: Humanitäres Völkerrecht = ISSN 0937-5414: vol. 27, issue 2, page 64-70. - 2014
Keywords: Germany, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Geneva Conventions (1949), International humanitarian law,

7. The Law of Armed Conflict and the Responsible Cyber Commander
The Law of Armed Conflict and the Responsible Cyber Commander / Jody M. Prescott In: Vermont Law Review = ISSN 0145-2908: vol. 38, issue 1, page 103-146. - 2013
Keywords: Cyberspace, Cyberwarfare, International humanitarian law,

8. Extending Positive Identification from Persons to Places: Terrorism, Armed Conflict, and the Identification of Military Objectives (Symposium: The Legal and Ethical Limits of Technological Warfare)
Extending Positive Identification from Persons to Places: Terrorism, Armed Conflict, and the Identification of Military Objectives (Symposium: The Legal and Ethical Limits of Technological Warfare) / Laurie R. Blank In: Utah Law Review = ISSN 0042-1448: vol. 2013, issue 5, page 1227-1261. - 2013
Keywords: Non-international armed conflicts, Non-State actors, Military objectives, Combatants and non-combatants, Proportionality, International humanitarian law,

9. The Humanitarian Problem with Drones (Symposium: The Legal and Ethical Limits of Technological Warfare)
The Humanitarian Problem with Drones (Symposium: The Legal and Ethical Limits of Technological Warfare) / Frederic Megret In: Utah Law Review = ISSN 0042-1448: vol. 2013, issue 5, page 1283-1320. - 2013
Keywords: Unmanned vehicles, Collateral damage, Civilian population, International humanitarian law, Ethics, Terrorism,

10. The Arab Spring's Four Seasons: International Protections and the Sovereignty Problem
The Arab Spring's Four Seasons: International Protections and the Sovereignty Problem / Jillian Blake, Aqsa Mahmud In: Penn State Journal of Law and International Affairs = ISSN 2168-7951: vol. 3, issue 1, page 161-215. - 2014
Keywords: Middle East, Arab Spring, Insurgency, Protection of civilian persons, International humanitarian law, International criminal law, Sovereignty,

11. Engaging or Shaming? An Analysis of UN’s Naming and Shaming of Child Abusers in Armed Conflict
Engaging or Shaming? An Analysis of UN’s Naming and Shaming of Child Abusers in Armed Conflict / C. Nyamutata. - Leiden : Brill In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies = ISSN 1878-1527: vol. 4, issue 1, page 151-173. - 2014
Keywords: United Nations, Children, Child soldiers, Public opinion, International humanitarian law, Human rights, Compliance,

12. International humanitarian law, non-state armed groups and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Colombia
International humanitarian law, non-state armed groups and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Colombia / Miriam Bradley. - Leiden : Brill In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies = ISSN 1878-1527: vol. 4, issue 1, page 108-134. - 2014
Keywords: Colombia, International Committee of the Red Cross, Non-international armed conflicts, Insurgency, Protection of civilian persons, International humanitarian law,

13. The Responsibility of armed opposition groups for Violations of International Humanitarian Law: Challenging the State-Centric System of International Law
The Responsibility of armed opposition groups for Violations of International Humanitarian Law: Challenging the State-Centric System of International Law / Ezequiel Heffes. - Leiden : Brill In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies = ISSN 1878-1527: vol. 4, issue 1, page 81-107. - 2014
Keywords: Subjects of international law, Non-State actors, Insurgency, International humanitarian law, International responsibility, State responsibility,

14. Continuing Impunity of Peacekeepers: The Need For a Convention
Continuing Impunity of Peacekeepers: The Need For a Convention / Siobhán Wills. - Leiden : Brill In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies = ISSN 1878-1527: vol. 4, issue 1, page 47-80. - 2014
Keywords: United Nations, Peacekeeping, Criminal offences, International humanitarian law, Criminal liability, International instruments,

15. 'Humanitarian Rights’: Bridging the Doctrinal Gap between the Protection of Civilians and the Responsibility to Protect
'Humanitarian Rights’: Bridging the Doctrinal Gap between the Protection of Civilians and the Responsibility to Protect / Dan Kuwali. - Leiden : Brill In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies = ISSN 1878-1527: vol. 4, issue 1, page 5-46. - 2014
Keywords: African Union, Responsibility to protect, Protection of civilian persons, Intervention, Human rights, International humanitarian law,

16. The Obligation to Withhold from Trading in Order Not to Recognize and Assist Settlements and their Economic Activity in Occupied Territories
The Obligation to Withhold from Trading in Order Not to Recognize and Assist Settlements and their Economic Activity in Occupied Territories / Tom Moerenhout. - Leiden : Brill In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies = ISSN 1878-1527: vol. 3, issue 2, page 344-385. - 2012
Keywords: Morocco, Western Sahara, Arab-Israeli conflict, World Trade Organization, Occupation, International trade, Embargo, International humanitarian law,

17. Mexico’s Drug War, International Jurisprudence, and the Role of Non-International Armed Conflict Status
Mexico’s Drug War, International Jurisprudence, and the Role of Non-International Armed Conflict Status / Michael T. Wotherspoon. - Leiden : Brill In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies = ISSN 1878-1527: vol. 3, issue 2, page 291-321. - 2012
Keywords: Mexico, Drugs, Organized crime, Non-international armed conflicts, International humanitarian law, Necessity, Proportionality,

18. Human Rights in Armed Conflict: Ten Years of Affirmative State Practice within United Nations Resolutions
Human Rights in Armed Conflict: Ten Years of Affirmative State Practice within United Nations Resolutions / Ilia Maria Siatitsa, Maia Titberidze. - Leiden : Brill In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies = ISSN 1878-1527: vol. 3, issue 2, page 233-262. - 2012
Keywords: United Nations, Armed conflicts, State practice, Human rights, International humanitarian law,

19. Targeted killing of drug lords: traffickers as members of armed opposition groups and/or direct participants in hostilities
Targeted killing of drug lords: traffickers as members of armed opposition groups and/or direct participants in hostilities / Patrick Gallahue. - [Colchester] : International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy, 2011. - Page 15-34. - (International journal on human rights and drug policy ; vol. 1 (2010)) Includes bibliographical references and abstract. - 2011
Keywords: United States of America, Afghanistan, Taliban, Drugs, Terrorism, Targeted killings, International humanitarian law, E-docs,

20. Assuming Risk: A Critical Analysis of a Soldier's Duty to Prevent Collateral Casualties
Assuming Risk: A Critical Analysis of a Soldier's Duty to Prevent Collateral Casualties / Cheryl Abbate In: Journal of Military Ethics = ISSN 1502-7589: vol. 13, issue 1, page 70-93. - 2014
Keywords: Militaries, Just war, Combatants and non-combatants, Collateral damage, Military exigency, Ethics, Doctrines, International humanitarian law,

Librarian's choice

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  • Jinks, D. (et al.) (eds.), Applying International Humanitarian Law in Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Bodies: International and Domestic Aspects, The Hague, T.M.C. Asser Press, 2014.

    Jinks, D. et al. (eds.), Applying International Humanitarian Law in Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Bodies: International and Domestic Aspects, Berlin, Springer, 2014.

    International humanitarian law has been perceived till now as encompassing only judicial cases concerning refugee protection or war crimes prosecutions, particularly in domestic fora. Yet, the last decade has witnessed a revolution in the way judicial bodies – international and domestic alike – are ready to tackle complex security aspects pertaining to the laws of war. The present volume follows the international and domestic courts’ jurisprudential evolution as they deal with issues like the classification of armed conflicts, direct participation in hostilities and the nexus between international humanitarian law and human rights law. Projecting the field’s jurisprudential development in the future, the volume examines the role of international humanitarian law also in the realms of quasi-judicial bodies.

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  • Nasu, H., and R. McLaughlin (eds.), New Technologies and the Law of Armed Conflict, The Hague, T.M.C. Asser Press, 2014.

    Nasu, H., and R. McLaughlin (eds.), New Technologies and the Law of Armed Conflict, The Hague, T.M.C. Asser Press, 2014.

    Modern technological development has been both rapid and fundamentally transformative of the means and methods of warfare, and of the broader environment in which warfare is conducted. In many cases, technological development has been stimulated by, and dedicated to, addressing military requirements. On other occasions, technological developments outside the military sphere affect or inform the conduct of warfare and military expectations. The introduction of new technologies such as information technology, space technologies, nanotechnology and robotic technologies into our civil life, and into warfare, is expected to influence the application and interpretation of the existing rules of the law of armed conflict. In this book, scholars and practitioners working in the fields critically examine the potential legal challenges arising from the use of new technologies and future directions of legal development in light of the specific characteristics and challenges each technology presents with regard to foreseeable humanitarian impacts upon the battlespace.

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  • Clapham, A., and P. Gaeta (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Law in Armed Conflict, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014.

    Clapham, A., and P. Gaeta (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Law in Armed Conflict, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014.

    This Oxford Handbook provides an authoritative overview of key topics related to the application of international law in armed conflict. The Handbook engages in a broad analysis of international humanitarian law, human rights law, refugee law, international criminal and environmental law, and the law on the use of force. The Handbook features 32 essays by leading scholars and practitioners with an emphasis on understanding key concepts and analysing emerging problems related to terrorism, new types of weapons, international criminal law, and the interaction between humanitarian law and human rights 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.

    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.

    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.

    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

  • Hague Academy Model United Nations on Drone Warfare and International Law

    Directed energy weapons, drones, self targeting bullets, mobile tactical high energy lasers, military robots, spy weapons, weapons undetectable under an x-ray scan, remote controlled insect armies, self driving tanks, robotic mules, thermal camouflage, surveillance technologies and autonomous unmanned systems are some examples of the high tech weapons and military technology that are now used during warfare. The use of this state of the art military technology raises serious ethical and legal questions: (when) is the use of drones acceptable?

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  • 60th Anniversary of the UNESCO 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Event of an Armed Conflict

    The 1954 Convention is the basic international treaty formulating rules to protect cultural heritage during armed conflicts. It regulates the conduct of nations during war and military occupation in order to assure the protection of cultural sites, monuments and repositories, including museums, libraries and archives. A Round table meeting in the Peace Palace is organized on Monday, 12 May 2014.

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  • 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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