ICRC online database relating to its study of Customary International Humanitarian Law

August 12, 2010

* ICRC Online Database for the Study of Customary International Humanitarian Law

Now this is handy. ICRC has launched a complete online version of its Study of Customary International Humanitarian Law, here: http://www.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/home. Even if you have the hard copy volumes, you’ll still want to bookmark this since ICRC plans to update it on a running basis with new material under the heading of “Practice” (and, apparently, already has done so to some extent). Here’s the info from the website, at any rate:

This database is the online version of the Study on customary international humanitarian law, conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and published by Cambridge University Press in 2005.

It is divided in two parts :

· Part 1. Rules offers a comprehensive analysis of the customary rules of international humanitarian law identified by the Study and considered to be applicable in international and non-international armed conflicts. Nevertheless, the Study does not purport to offer an exhaustive assessment of all customary rules in this field.

· Part 2. Practice contains the underlying practice. For each aspect of international humanitarian law covered, it provides a summary of relevant state practice including military manuals, legislation, case-law and official statements, as well as practice of international organizations, conferences and judicial and quasi-judicial bodies.

This part of the database will be updated on a regular basis by the ICRC, in cooperation with the British Red Cross. The materials of this update are gathered by a network of ICRC delegations and of National Red Cross and National Red Crescent Societies around the world and incorporated by a research team based at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge. To date Part 2. Practice has been updated with practice from the United Nations and international and mixed judicial and quasi-judicial bodies up until the end of 2007. Subsequent updates will include material from national sources of practice. The text of updated practice is marked in green.

The Sources that were used in the Study are listed separately. These sources are organized in 12 categories of information, such as military manuals, national legislation and national case-law.

Citation: References to this database should be cited as ICRC, Customary IHL Database, followed by the URL of the document and the date last accessed.

More information about the Study on customary international humanitarian law and its background can be found on the ICRC webpage on war and law.