Online training on the Law of Armed Conflict for non-State actors

23 October 2017

This video series is an adapted version of an online training kit on the law of armed conflict designed for armed groups in the Middle East. It is part of the ICRC's training programs for weapon bearers, State and non-State, around the world as part of its mandate to protect and assist people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence.

The videos first explain the responsibilities of commanders and individual soldiers. They also highlight some of the basic elements of the law of armed conflict, and specifically focus on the conduct of hostilities and on the protection afforded to civilians, civilian objects and other protected persons and objects.

These recordings use video game simulations to show how the rules and principles are applied in practice, as they convey the learner to live the realities of the current battles and emphasize the need to respect the laws of war. 

These videos use simplified scenarios and examples, and do not necessarily reflect the legal position of the ICRC. The complete Arabic version can be accessed here.


1. Responsibilities of commanders and individual soldiers

  • The duty of commanders to train their subordinates in relation to the law of armed conflict and their duty to prevent and put an end to violations.
  • Soldiers' duty to comply with the law of armed conflict.

2. The core principles of the law of armed conflict

  • All individuals should be treated humanely and without discrimination.
  • How should the basic principles of distinction and proportionality be taken into account, as well as precautions taken in the planning and implementation of all military operations?
  • The principle of non-reciprocity.

3. The conduct of hostilities

  • Limits to the means and methods of warfare.
  • Access to essential goods and medical services.
  • The prohibition of human shields, ill-treatment, sexual violence, pillaging and looting and hostage-taking.
  • Prohibited weapons (cluster munitions, for example).

4. Protected persons

  • Detention: rules relating to the capture of enemy soldiers or combatants, the treatment they are subjected to and the conditions of their detention.
  • Sick and wounded persons: the way in which the wounded and sick must be treated, including the obligations to evacuate them from the battlefield and to ensure that they have access to medical care.
  • The dead: the obligations of the parties to the conflict to search for and collect the dead, how to deal with dead bodies, and the measures to be taken in relation to their disposal.
  • Women and children: special protection, prohibition on all forms of sexual violence against men, women and children and prohibition of the recruitment of children.

5. Applying the principles of the law of armed conflict

  • Indiscriminate attacks.
  • Specially protected objects and persons.
  • Direct participation in hostilities.