International Humanitarian Law

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International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is the legal corpus that comprises the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, as well as subsequent treaties, case law, and customary international law.

This law is also called the laws of war, the laws and customs of war or the law of armed conflict.

All war crimes are crimes for which there is universal jurisdiction.

Basically, it establishes two types of rules:

  • Rules on how hostilities can be conducted in a lawful manner
  • Rules governing the treatment of noncombatants

Related Cases / Recent Cases / Case Law

  • Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, ICJ Reports (2004) p. 89: Even when a state is not a party to an IHL treaty, it will be bound by those of its rules that are now considered a part of customary international law
  • Tadic, 105 ILR 453 p. 489: IHL deals with international armed conflicts. However, the legal distinction between international

and internal armed conflicts, however, is becoming smaller.

  • The Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons Advisory Opinion, ICJ Reports (1996) p. 226): IHL applies to the threat or use of nuclear weapons.

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