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International Review of the Red Cross, 2011 - No. 882 – Understanding armed groups and the applicable law

The International Review of the Red Cross is a quarterly published by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Cambridge University Press.


Texts published by the Review reflect the views of the author alone and not necessarily those of the ICRC or of the Review. Only texts bearing an ICRC signature may be ascribed to the institution.


Issue No. 882 – 2011

Theme – Understanding armed groups and the applicable law

Download pdfPDF 7 MB Armed groups play a central role in conflicts today and are associated with many of the humanitarian concerns generated by conflicts. Political and humanitarian players intent on promoting respect for the rights of conflict victims must set aside resources to study and understand armed groups, grasp the law that applies to them, and assess its limits. To this end, a pragmatic approach may be necessary, taking the perspective of armed groups into consideration rather than seeing them merely as an anomaly in an international system designed by and for States.

Table of contents


Understanding armed groups and the applicable law

  • Interview with Ali Ahmad Jalali
    For this issue on understanding armed groups, the Review considered it important to invite someone who could give the inside perspective of an armed group. Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali, currently Distinguished Professor at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, is uniquely placed to do so in the context of Afghanistan.

Todays armed groups: structure, actions and strategic options

Armed groups and international law

Selected article on international humanitarian law

Reports and documents

Books and articles

  • New edition: How does law protect in war?
    The ICRC has expanded and updated its core reference work on contemporary practice in International Humanitarian Law (IHL): How does law protect in war? Cases, Documents and Teaching Materials on Contemporary Practice in International Humanitarian Law.
  • Books and articles
    Recent acquisitions of the Library & Research Service, ICRC