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of the International Committee of the Red Cross

International humanitarian law

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  1. Essentials of the Law of War
    PDF

    Essentials of the Law of War

    This brochure intended for officers contains a summary of the rules of conduct in action and a programme for military instruction. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  2. Basic Rules of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols
    PDF

    Basic Rules of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols

    The author, Jean de Preux, comments briefly on the main provisions of the Conventions and their Additional Protocols, brings out their meaning and specifies the relevant articles. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  3. Dictionary of the International Law of Armed Conflict
    PDF

    Dictionary of the International Law of Armed Conflict

    This dictionary presents the most important terms and concepts from two branches of international law: jus ad bellum and jus in bello. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  4. Anti-Personnel Landmines: Friend or Foe? A Study of the Military Use and Effectiveness of Anti-Personnel Mines
    PDF

    Anti-Personnel Landmines: Friend or Foe? A Study of the Military Use and Effectiveness of Anti-Personnel Mines

    This study examines the military case for continued use of anti-personnel landmines. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  5. The People on War report: ICRC Worldwide Consultation on the Rules of War
    PDF

    The People on War report: ICRC Worldwide Consultation on the Rules of War

    To mark the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions on 12 August 1999, the ICRC launched the "People on War" project, a worldwide consultation on the rules to limit violence in warfare. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  6. Punishing Violations of International Humanitarian Law at the National Level: A Guide for Common Law States
    PDF

    Punishing Violations of International Humanitarian Law at the National Level: A Guide for Common Law States

    The ICRC guide "Punishing Violations of International Humanitarian Law at the National Level" is intended as a practical reference work for lawmakers and others in common law States. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  7. Constraints on the Waging of War: An Introduction to International Humanitarian Law
    PDF

    Constraints on the Waging of War: An Introduction to International Humanitarian Law

    This fully revised fourth edition of "Constraints on the Waging of War" considers the development of the principal rules of international humanitarian law from their origins to the present day. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  8. Women Facing War
    PDF

    Women Facing War

    This ICRC study is an extensive reference document on the impact of armed conflict on the lives of women. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  9. The Missing: End the Silence (poster)
    PDF

    The Missing: End the Silence (poster)

    This poster raises awareness of the plight of missing people and their families through the use of a simple but powerful image and message.

    [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  10. The Missing
    PDF

    The Missing

    This brochure outlines the various situations that can lead to people becoming unaccounted for. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  11. The Roots of Behaviour in War: Understanding and Preventing IHL Violations
    PDF

    The Roots of Behaviour in War: Understanding and Preventing IHL Violations

    Intended to challenge many pre-conceived ideas about the factors that influence the behaviour of combatants, the study examines the various strategies that the ICRC pursues, to ensure that humanita... [Learn more]
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  12. The Roots of Behaviour in War: A Survey of the Literature
    PDF

    The Roots of Behaviour in War: A Survey of the Literature

    Through this bibliographical overview of the historical, sociological and psychological investigations used in the study, we learn of the origins of the need for limits in war. [Learn more]
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  13. Addressing the Needs of Women Affected by Armed Conflict: An ICRC Guidance Document
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    Addressing the Needs of Women Affected by Armed Conflict: An ICRC Guidance Document

    Aimed at staff concerned with the planning and implementation of humanitarian programmes, this document is intended as a means of sharing ICRC's experience with other organisations. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  14. The Missing and their Families: Documents of Reference
    PDF

    The Missing and their Families: Documents of Reference

    This publication contains the key documents of the International Conference of Governmental and Non-Governmental Experts and the 28th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent both... [Learn more]
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  15. Operational Best Practices regarding the Management of Human Remains and Information on the Dead by Non-Specialists
    PDF

    Operational Best Practices regarding the Management of Human Remains and Information on the Dead by Non-Specialists

    Compilation of all recommendations and best practices relating to the proper handling of the remains of those who die in direct or indirect relation to an armed conflict or internal violence, for i... [Learn more]
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  16. Rules of International Humanitarian Law and Other Rules Relating to the Conduct of Hostilities
    PDF

    Rules of International Humanitarian Law and Other Rules Relating to the Conduct of Hostilities

    This publication has been updated and slightly restructured and now includes a number of treaties that have been adopted since its last update in 1996. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  17. Targeting the Weapons: Reducing the Human Cost of Unregulated Arms Availability
    PDF

    Targeting the Weapons: Reducing the Human Cost of Unregulated Arms Availability

    The increased risk that civilians face due to the current inadequate controls on arms availability, combined with the frequent use of weapons in violation of IHL. Red Cross and Red Crescent Movemen... [Learn more]
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  18. Staying Alive: Safety and Security Guidelines for Humanitarian Volunteers in Conflict Areas
    PDF

    Staying Alive: Safety and Security Guidelines for Humanitarian Volunteers in Conflict Areas

    Expert practical advice on security in situations of armed conflict [Learn more]
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  19. Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects
    PDF

    Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects

    This publication contains the text of the Convention, its Protocols and the amendments adopted through 28 November 2003. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  20. Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law: A Contribution to the Understanding and Respect for the Rule of Law in Armed Conflict
    PDF

    Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law: A Contribution to the Understanding and Respect for the Rule of Law in Armed Conflict

    This article describes the methodology used and how the study was organized and summarizes some major findings. [Learn more]
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  21. Legal Measures and Mechanisms to Prevent Disappearances, to Establish the Fate of Missing Persons, and to Assist their Families
    PDF

    Legal Measures and Mechanisms to Prevent Disappearances, to Establish the Fate of Missing Persons, and to Assist their Families

    Report of the Second Universal Meeting of National Committees on International Humanitarian Law, March 19-21 2007. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  22. Distinction: Protecting Civilians in Armed Conflict
    PDF

    Distinction: Protecting Civilians in Armed Conflict

    A concise overview of the requirements of all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between civilians and combatants, civilian objects and military targets. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  23. Expert Meeting: Humanitarian, Military, Technical and Legal Challenges of Cluster Munitions
    PDF

    Expert Meeting: Humanitarian, Military, Technical and Legal Challenges of Cluster Munitions

    Summary report of the ICRC Expert Meeting on the Humanitarian, Military, Technical and Legal Challenges of Cluster Munitions, 2007. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  24. Integrating the Law
    PDF

    Integrating the Law

    This booklet draws together the lessons learned by the ICRC over the past few decades and aims to provide authorities and the most senior personnel among arms carriers with an overview of what we h... [Learn more]
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  25. Missing Persons: A Hidden Tragedy
    PDF

    Missing Persons: A Hidden Tragedy

    People have gone missing as long as men have been fighting wars. The plight of people missing in armed conflict and the suffering of their families has been a consistent concern to the ICRC. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  26. Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Crystal
    PDF

    Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Crystal

    The aim of this article is to recount the history of the emblem issue and to outline the strategy and steps followed in solving a problem that had remained pending for far too long. [Learn more]
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  27. Increasing Respect for International Humanitarian Law in Non-International Armed Conflicts
    PDF

    Increasing Respect for International Humanitarian Law in Non-International Armed Conflicts

    The most widely prevalent type of armed conflict today is non-international, which involves organized non-State armed groups and government forces. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  28. A Guide to the Legal Review of New Weapons, Means and Methods of Warfare
    PDF

    A Guide to the Legal Review of New Weapons, Means and Methods of Warfare

    Measures to Implement Article 36 of Additional Protocol I of 1977 [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  29. Convention on Cluster Munitions
    PDF

    Convention on Cluster Munitions

    This booklet contains the text of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It is intended to promote understanding of the Convention's rules and to facilitate its ratification and implementation. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  30. Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction
    PDF

    Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction

    This booklet contains the text of the Convention. It is intended to promote understanding of the Convention's rules and to facilitate its ratification and implementation by governments. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  31. Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL): Guidelines for Experimentation and Evaluation
    PDF

    Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL): Guidelines for Experimentation and Evaluation

    This document gives guidance to educational authorities on the implementation and assessment of the EHL programme. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  32. Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) Guide: A Legal Manual for EHL Teachers
    PDF

    Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) Guide: A Legal Manual for EHL Teachers

    Organized in a question and answer format, the Guide offers teachers and other interested parties concise information on specific IHL issues. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  33. Internal Displacement in Armed Conflict: Facing Up to the Challenges
    PDF

    Internal Displacement in Armed Conflict: Facing Up to the Challenges

    This ICRC report highlights the reasons people are forced to flee, the risks they face and how they cope. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  34. Missing Persons: A Handbook for Parliamentarians
    PDF

    Missing Persons: A Handbook for Parliamentarians

    This manual, elaborated jointly by the Inter-parliamentary Union and the ICRC, offers a comprehensive legal framework designed to help States and national authorities to adopt or improve their legi... [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  35. Water and War: ICRC Response
    PDF

    Water and War: ICRC Response

    Water and sanitation in conflict-affected countries where the ICRC works. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  36. Weapon Contamination
    PDF

    Weapon Contamination

    The brochure summarizes the problem of weapon contamination and describes how the ICRC acts to protect civilians from the effects of weapon contamination. Topics include clearance, risk education a... [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  37. ICRC Prevention Policy
    PDF

    ICRC Prevention Policy

    This publication offers practical guidelines for carrying out prevention work. It discusses approaches, principles, criteria and strategic considerations regarding prevention activities, as well as... [Learn more]
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  38. Addressing Internal Displacement in Times of Armed Conflict and Other Violence
    PDF

    Addressing Internal Displacement in Times of Armed Conflict and Other Violence

    At the end of 2016 there were more than 40 million internally displaced people worldwide. They suffer extreme hardship as displacement disrupts their lives and livelihoods and exposes them to a ... [Learn more]

    Download the PDF Version
  39. Cluster Munitions: Decades of Failure, Decades of Civilian Suffering
    PDF

    Cluster Munitions: Decades of Failure, Decades of Civilian Suffering

    These four fact sheets provide an overview of the cluster munitions problem, the challenges in clearing these weapons, the needs of victims, and the role of the RC and RC Movement in reduc... [Learn more]

    Download the PDF Version
  40. The Basics of International Humanitarian Law
    PDF

    The Basics of International Humanitarian Law

    An ideal first introduction to IHL. Simple and concise answers are given in this leaflet, including a brief overview of the ICRC's role as the "guardian" of IHL. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  41. Action by the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Event of Violations of International Humanitarian Law or of Other Fundamental Rules Protecting Persons in Situations of Violence
    PDF

    Action by the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Event of Violations of International Humanitarian Law or of Other Fundamental Rules Protecting Persons in Situations of Violence

    The guidelines concerning ICRC action in the event of violations of international humanitarian law have recently been reviewed and supplemented to take account of various developments that have aff... [Learn more]
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  42. The Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949
    PDF

    The Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949

    This volume contains the official texts of the two Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 adopted on 8 June 1977. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  43. Interpretive Guidance on the Notion of Direct Participation in Hostilities under International Humanitarian Law
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    Interpretive Guidance on the Notion of Direct Participation in Hostilities under International Humanitarian Law

    The "Interpretive Guidance on the Notion of Direct Participation in Hostilities under International Humanitarian Law" aims to clarify the meaning and consequences of direct participation in hostili... [Learn more]
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  44. The Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies
    PDF

    The Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies

    The Montreux Document is an intergovernmental document intended to promote respect for IHL and human rights law whenever private military and security companies are present in armed conflicts. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  45. The Mine Ban Convention: Progress and Challenges in the Second Decade
    PDF

    The Mine Ban Convention: Progress and Challenges in the Second Decade

    This publication provides an overview of the achievements and challenges of the Mine Ban Convention in its second decade of operation. [Learn more]
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  46. Study on the Use of the Emblems: Operational and Commercial and Other Non-Operational Issues
    PDF

    Study on the Use of the Emblems: Operational and Commercial and Other Non-Operational Issues

    Operational and commercial and other non-operational issues [Learn more]
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  47. Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) (leaflet)
    PDF

    Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) (leaflet)

    EHL is an education programme that introduces young people to the basic rules and principles of IHL and enables them to develop a “humanitarian” perspective. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  48. The Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949
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    The Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949

    Full text of the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version
  49. ICRC Policy Document on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment Inflicted on Persons Deprived of their Liberty
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    ICRC Policy Document on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment Inflicted on Persons Deprived of their Liberty

    This set of policy guidelines was adopted by the ICRC's Assembly Council on 9 June 2011. It strongly reflects the ICRC's conviction that torture and other forms of ill-treatment must be absolutely... [Learn more]
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  50. Expert Meeting: Occupation and Other Forms of Administration of Foreign Territory
    PDF

    Expert Meeting: Occupation and Other Forms of Administration of Foreign Territory

    This document reports the findings of the ICRC project and meeting on occupation and other forms of administration of foreign territory. [Learn more]
    Download the PDF Version