Annotated International Humanitarian Law Bibliography

Partner Organization: International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva)

Student Leaders: Glenn Gibson, Kaitlin Owens, James Rendell 

The rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) have been adopted by states as an acceptable compromise between the imperative to win wars and the obligation to spare civilian lives, property destruction, and unnecessary suffering.  The rules and norms of IHL are complex and derive from a number of sources; it is generally agreed that these rules are not as widely disseminated as they should be. Strengthening awareness of IHL and making the literature more accessible is thus an essential step to ensuring the IHL delivers on its promise of providing protection to vulnerable civilians and limiting the impacts of war on humanity.

Through this working group, IHRP students partnered with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to improve the accessibility of literature on ICL to students, legal academics, practitioners, those who participate in armed conflict (such as the military), and the general public.  Students worked with the ICRC to update and annotate its existing and authoritative IHL bibliography.  The summaries prepared by the IHRP working group are available on the ICRC's catalogue of IHL literature.

To learn more about the ICRC, click here. The ICRC was founded as a result of the work of Henry Dunant, a Swiss, at the battle of Solferino in 1859, where thousands of wounded French, Austrian and Italian soldiers were left without adequate medical care. Dunant's work led to the adoption of the first Geneva Convention and the humanitarian principles he invoked continue to inform the work of the ICRC today. The ICRC remains the guardian of IHL today, and is highly respected for its diplomacy and action in the field. Given the ICRC’s reputation and heavy involvement in IHL, it is truly an ideal partner through which to have an impact on the field.