ILPI Centre for International Humanitarian Law


Main Rules and Principles of IHL

  • Humanity
  • Military necessity
  • Distinction
  • Proportionality
  • Superfluous injury
  • Precautions in attack

Qualification of Situations (War or Peace?)

  • International and non-international armed conflict
  • Other situations
  • Which rules are applicable when?

Status in Armed Conflict

  • Definition of civilians
  • Definition of combatants
  • POW-status
  • Military objectives and civilian objects (including special protection regimes for cultural property, medical units, etc,.
  • Categories outside international armed conflict
  • Direct participation in hostilities

Methods in Armed Conflict

  • Rules of targeting
  • Perfidy or ruses of war
  • Reprisals

Means in Armed Conflict

  • Prohibited use of weapons
  • Prohibition of weapons per se
  • Humanitarian disarmament

Enforcement of IHL

  • Between States (reciprocity)
  • Individual responsibility (grave breaches, other punishable acts, modes of liability and defences)
  • National courts and tribunals
  • International courts and tribunals

Specific Issues

  • Drones and automated weapons systems
  • Rights and obligations of insurgents
  • Terrorism and IHL
  • Potential impacts of the Arms Trade Treaty
  • Law enforcement by military forces, e.g. counter-piracy operations
  • Private military companies and IHL
  • Nuclear weapons and IHL
  • IHL under pressure: The practice of human rights institutions and international criminal courts
  • Armed conflict and the protection of the environment
  • Cluster munitions, landmines and other explosive remnants of war
  • War crimes
  • Cyberwarfare under IHL
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