Welcome to Intercross' IHL Hub. Here you will find the latest databases, publications, learning/teaching modules and videos on International Humanitarian Law. This page is intended to be a resource for both the newcomer as well as the seasoned practitioner. However, this is not meant to be comprehensive. The ICRC website hosts a full library of IHL resources, including articles and reports on contemporary challenges, ICRC library and research services, and more. Some of the most used resources, however, are here, and popular quick links are located on the right hand side of this page. For suggested additions to this page, please email Editor Niki Clark. To see all blog posts marked IHL Resources, click here.
The Treaties, States Parties and Commentaries includes the text of IHL treaties and related documents and lists the States that have signed and/or ratified or acceded to the treaties, with their potential reservations or declarations. It also contains the existing commentaries to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, and include the updated Commentaries.
Customary international law is a set of unwritten rules derived from a "general practice accepted as law." In 1995, mandated by the 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the ICRC undertook an extensive study into current State practice and legal opinion in international humanitarian law in order to identify customary law in this area. Before the study was published in 2005, no such written analysis and compilation of customary IHL rules existed. The study has contributed to identifying the common core of international humanitarian law binding on all parties to armed conflicts. Today, the ICRC’s Customary IHL Database makes these rules, the commentaries thereto, and the materials underlying the rules, easily accessible and searchable. The practice part of the Database is updated on a regular basis.
The ICRC’s Advisory Service on International Humanitarian Law aims to provide a systematic and proactive response to efforts to enhance the national implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL). Working worldwide, through a network of legal advisors, it’s three priorities are: (i) to encourage and support adherence to IHL-related treaties; (ii) to assist States by providing them with the technical expertise required to incorporate international humanitarian law into their domestic legal frameworks; and (iii) to collect and facilitate the exchange of information on national implementation measures.
To share the information collected on national implementation measures, the ICRC set up a National Implementation Database. The content of the database, legislation and case laws, is drawn from information collected by the Advisory Service and sent to it by States.
"International Humanitarian Law: A Comprehensive Introduction" is a 360-page introductory handbook that aims to promote and strengthen knowledge of international humanitarian law among academics, weapon-bearers, humanitarian workers and media professionals. The book endeavors to cover IHL from the ICRC's perspective, something not previously done by other works in this form. While the book is not in itself an official ICRC statement on IHL, it does attempt to reflect the ICRC's stance on IHL issues, and, of course, links to official positions.
International Humanitarian Law: Answers to Your Questions
International humanitarian law regulates relations between States, international organizations and international law in case of armed conflict. It is a branch of public international law that consists of rules that, in times of armed conflict, seek – for humanitarian reasons – to protect persons who are not or are no longer directly participating in the hostilities, and to restrict means and methods of warfare. In other words, IHL consists of international treaty or customary rules (i.e. rules emerging from State practice and followed out of a sense of obligation) that are specifically meant to resolve humanitarian issues arising directly from armed conflict, whether of an international or a non- international character.
This booklet is an ideal introduction to international humanitarian law. It has been fully revised, and is accessible to all readers interested in the origins, development and modern-day application of humanitarian law.
Download or order the booklet here. Available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic
Russian, Chinese and Portuguese.
Established in 1869, the International Review of the Red Cross is a quarterly journal published by the ICRC and Cambridge University Press. It is a forum for debate on international humanitarian law and humanitarian action and policy, during armed conflict and other situations of violence.
LEARNING & TEACHING IHL
The Advanced IHL Learning Series is targeted to those who wish to keep abreast of the latest developments and challenges in IHL. By using the Advanced IHL Learning Series, lecturers are able to deepen their expertise in topical issues, have access to teaching resources and introduce the topics in their course or training. The series follows a methodology involving videos, reading materials and various teaching tools, many taken from the latest edition of the Advanced Seminar in IHL for University Professors. The videos feature live lectures and discussions by the speakers and participants at the seminar. Presentations made and opinions expressed in the series only reflect the views of the lecturers concerned and not necessarily those of the ICRC.
Cases, documents and teaching materials The ICRC's core publication on teaching international humanitarian law (IHL), How Does the Law Protect War, is now online, providing academics, researchers and students with a wealth of updated resources, cases and references, in a user-friendly format.
Visit ICRC's YouTube channel to watch videos on IHL and other humanitarian subjects.