Customary International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Database

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced the creation and launch of a new database, the Customary IHL database, to mark the 12 August anniversary of Geneva Conventions.

Developed in association with the British Red Cross, the database is designed to be used as a legal reference international and non-international armed conflicts, including by courts, tribunals and international organizations. As one of the principal sources of international humanitarian law, customary law enhances the legal protection of victims of armed conflict.
Customary international humanitarian law is a set of unwritten rules derived from a general, or common, practice which is regarded as law. It is the basic standard of conduct in armed conflict accepted by the world community and is universally applicable. In contract to treaty law, it is not necessary for a State to formally accept a rule of custom in order to be bound by it, as long as the overall State practice on which the rule is based is widespread, representative and virtually uniform.
The new customary international humanitarian law database features 50 percent more content than the original study …. Divided into two parts, the first includes 161 rules which the original study assessed to be of customary nature. The second part contains the practice on which the conclusions in part one are based. The database offers practitioners and academics easy access to the rules of customary international humanitarian law identified in the ICRC study and gives the, the opportunity to investigate underlying practice by means of three search parameters: subject matter, type of practice, and country.
Rules can be viewed by chapter or rule, and practice can be viewed by chapter, rule, or country. Basic as well as advanced searches are both available. Among the listed sources of law are: Treaties, Other Instruments, Military Manuals, National legislation, National case-law, Other national practice, United Nations, Other international organizations, International conferences, International and Mixed Judicial and Quasi-judicial bodies, International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, and others.

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