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Law: International Humanitarian

As a postgraduate student of law, it is essential to know how to research in your field. This research guide will focus on humanitarian law, which is the branch of international law that governs the conduct of armed conflict and seeks to limit its effects

Welcome to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Guide

Before embarking on your research project, it is essential to understand what humanitarian law is and its various components. Some of the basic concepts you need to have in mind when researching humanitarian law include International Humanitarian Law, the Geneva Conventions, and the International Criminal Court.This guide provides information and links to resources that are useful for the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) students. The resources can be explored by using the tabs on the left.

What is International Humanitarian Law?

International humanitarian law (IHL) is a set of rules which seek, for humanitarian reasons, to limit the effects of armed conflict. It protects persons who are not or are no longer participating in the hostilities and restricts the means and methods of warfare. IHL is also known as the law of war or the law of armed conflict. It is part of international law, which is the body of rules governing relations between States. 

IHL does not regulate whether a State may actually use force; this is governed by a distinct part of international law set out in the United Nations Charter.

Source: What is International Humanitarian Law? published by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

See Diakonia, Basic Principles of IHL (2010), available as a link below. See also How Does Law Protect in War, Fundamental Principles of IHL (2019), available as a link below.


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