International Humanitarian Law

About this Handbook:

Part 1 offers a general overview of international humanitarian law (IHL) through an analysis of nine general questions. It addresses the sources of IHL; the situations in which it applies; the categories of people protected by its rules; mechanisms for implementing IHL and suppressing violations thereof; and the link between IHL and other branches of international law.

Part 2 is entirely devoted to the role of parliamentarians in implementing IHL. It reviews the different types of measures parliamentarians should consider to improve States’ respect for IHL. These measures seek to prevent violations of the obligations accepted by States; improve oversight regarding application of the rules; and punish those who are responsible for violations of the rules. Each of these measures is
accompanied by a detailed checklist for the parliamentarians.

Part 3 contains an overview of some key issues that are prevalent in today’s armed conflicts, ranging from acts of terrorism to sexual violence and from the use of new technologies to the protection of the personal data of victims of armed conflict.

Part 4 provides a number of model instruments and reference materials. These resources can help parliamentarians in their efforts to have their country accede to IHL treaties and to carry out the legislative work necessary to properly apply and enforce these treaties domestically.

Part 5 describes the work of IPU and the ICRC in further detail.

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