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Cyber and information operations

The use of cyber operations as means or methods or warfare in armed conflicts poses a real risk of harm to civilians. It is essential to understand how international humanitarian law protects …

Law and policy topic
New York, United Nations headquarters (2023). To mark the "protection of civilians" week, the ICRC launches its interactive installation "Digital Dilemmas" which delves into the threat posed by digital environments in situations of armed conflict. Thomas Glass/ICRC

Methods and means of warfare

International law regulates the methods and means of warfare. There are restrictions on weapons, on their use and on conduct. The principle of distinction requires parties to distinguish between …

Law and policy topic
International humanitarian law dissemination session with soldiers of the Colombian armed forces.


Techplomacy is how diplomatic relations and dialogue serve as a connecting bridge between governments, civil society and tech companies on global digital policy and emerging technological issues. …

Law and policy topic
Two military officers survey tech terms before them.

Counterterrorism and sanctions

Terrorism is a live threat in today’s world – and one that causes immeasurable human suffering. The international community has worked to confront this threat through a patchwork of counterterrorism …

Law and policy topic
A street in ruins, littered with destroyed vehicles.

IHL and Islamic Law

The interplay between international humanitarian law (IHL) and Islamic law of war Islamic law of war In our engagement with communities affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence, …

Law and policy topic
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, students and Islamic scholars discuss Islam and international humanitarian law, sharing insights and experiences.

Weapons in outer space

While space objects have been employed for military purposes since the dawn of the space era, the weaponization of outer space would increase the likelihood of hostilities taking place there, with …

Law and policy topic

Gender and IHL

War affects women, men, girls and boys differently. Taking account of these differences when applying international human law will result in better protection for all. A gender perspective on …

Law and policy topic
A woman evacuated from the war zone awaits her husband's arrival in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.

Sexual violence

Rape and other forms of sexual violence are prohibited in armed conflict under international humanitarian law. The ICRC works to prevent this crime and support survivors . Sexual violence and the law …

Law and policy topic
An ICRC staff member listens to the story of a woman who experienced depression after her husband was killed by an armed group.

Domestic law and IHL

For IHL treaties to be universally accepted, all states must adopt them through ratification or accession. States must then enact legislation and take practical measures in order for the rules to be …

Law and policy topic
Flags fly at the Mont-Blanc bridge in Geneva, marking the 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Restoring Family Links – Families Belong Together

Family members can become separated or go missing as a result of conflict, disaster, along a migratory route or during other situations requiring a humanitarian response. We at the ICRC restore and …


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ICRC library

Created in 1863, the ICRC library, alongside the ICRC archives, provides an indispensable documentary reference on the organization itself and international humanitarian law.

IHL treaties

International humanitarian law is based on a number of treaties, in particular the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols, and a series of other instruments.

Customary IHL

Customary international humanitarian law consists of rules that come from "a general practice accepted as law" and that exist independent of treaty law.