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Study on customary international humanitarian law: A contribution to the understanding and respect for the rule of law in armed conflict

31-03-2005 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 857, by Jean-Marie Henckaerts

In the light of the achievements to date and the work that remains to be done, the study should not be seen as the end but rather as the beginning of a new process aimed at improving understanding of and agreement on the principles and rules of international humanitarian law.

This article is also available as offprint from the International Review of the Red Cross .    

Jean-Marie Henckaerts
Jean-Marie Henckaerts is a legal adviser in the Legal Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross and head of the ICRC’s project on customary international humanitarian law. He recently edited, with Louise Doswald-Beck, a two-volume work on customary international humanitarian law, published by Cambridge University Press. 

This article explains the rationale behind a study on customary international humanitarian law recently undertaken by the ICRC at the request of the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. It describes the methodology used and how the study was organized and summarizes some major findings. It does not, however, purport to provide a complete overview or analysis of these findings.  

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