War & Law
International humanitarian law is a set of rules that seek to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects people who are not or are no longer participating in hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare.
Sources of international humanitarian law
IHL is based on a number of treaties, in particular the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols, and a series of other instruments.
When violations of IHL occur, States are under obligation to prosecute offenders. Domestic courts therefore play an important role in the enforcement of IHL. In addition to national jurisdictions, violations of IHL can also be prosecuted by various international criminal tribunals.
For IHL treaties to be universally accepted, all States must adopt them and then enact legislation and take practical measures in order for the rules to be fully effective. The ICRC’s Advisory Service can help, by providing assistance and documentation.
Cases, documents and teaching materials on contemporary practice in international humanitarian law.
The first in a series of updated Commentaries to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their 1977 Additional Protocols, published online by the ICRC and in print by Cambridge University Press.
A quarterly journal published by the ICRC and Cambridge University Press.
Services & resources
Promoting and implementing IHL is primarily the responsibility of States and the Advisory Service on IHL assist them to fulfil their obligations.
The ICRC emphasize IHL teaching in secondary schools and universities, to reach tomorrow's decision-makers and opinion-leaders.
A wealth of resources connecting international humanitarian law with the policies that guide humanitarian action.