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International Committee on the Red Cross creates online database on Customary International Humanitarian Law

With a big Hat Tip to Bobby Chesney . . . The ICRC has just created an online data base on customary international humanitarian law. From its website:

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.

What an outstanding resource!

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.