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International Humanitarian Law

Online Research Guides 

Research Guide to International Weapons Law from Globalex - by Gudrun Monika Zagel 

Websites & Databases 

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

  • The Protecting Civilians website provides information on the work of the ICRC in protecting civilians and up to date news on current conflicts and ICRC involvement.
  • The National Implementation Database - this ICRC database includes legislation, case law and commentary concerning the implementation of international humanitarian law at the national level. The database can be browsed by topic or state.

The Language of Peace database

  • Created by the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge and the UN Mediation Support Unit. provides access to about 1000 post-World War II peace agreements. Each agreement is categorised according to the issues it addresses, including negotiation agendas, ceasefire monitoring, power-sharing, human rights and guarantee mechanisms. Researchers can locate relevant provisions based on, for example, the 29 thematic issues, conflict type, region, country and keyword. More about the database. Language of Peace complements and builds on the UN Peace Agreements database, which contains the full-text agreements.

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflict Project (RULAC)

An initiative of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights comprises two databases:

The old RULAC website, which will remain available, contains a Global Database which aims to report on every concerned State and disputed territory in the world, considering both the legal norms that apply as well as the extent to which they are respected by the relevant actors. You can access the database by individual state or territory. Each state or territory listing provides the following information:

  • Involvement in Armed Conflict
    • Current conflicts 
    • Peace operations 
    • Non-state actors 
    • Applicable international law 
  •  Legal Framework
    • National Legislation 
    •  International
    • International treaties adherence 
    • Regional treaties adherence 
    • UN resolutions and reports 
    • UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review 

The new RULAC website is an online portal that systematically qualifies situations of armed violence using the definition of armed conflict under international humanitarian law. RULAC also identifies the parties to armed conflicts. The scope of RULAC is currently limited to those conflicts that have emerged since 2011 and are still ongoing. The database:

United Nations  

  • The Security Council Report is arranged by topic and provides a chronology of events and key UN documents relating to themes such as the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, women, peace and security, children in armed conflict, arms control and disarmament, and piracy.
  • The Prevention of Genocide website contains detailed information about the role of the UN in the prevention of genocide, key UN documents, General Assembly debates, press releases and current news. It also provides key documents on the role of the UN and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P).
  • Refworld's International Humanitarian Law site contains legislation, cases, government and NGO reports, statistics and commentary arranged under topics such as Armed forces, Armed groups, Child soldiers, Combatants, Evacuation, Forced relocation, Humanitarian assistance, International humanitarian law / Geneva Conventions, Mercenaries, Population transfers, Prisoners of war, and Protection of civilian persons in time of war.
  • Refworld also has a special feature on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. This site contains regularly updated policy documents and operational guidance materials on international humanitarian law topics such as civil-military coordination, refugee and IDP security, the civilian character of asylum, mine action, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and humanitarian space.

The Weapons Law Encylopedia 

An initiative of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights is an online compilation of information on the regulation of weapons under public international law. It can  be searched or browsed under the following four main headings:

  • Weapons
    • information about the history of weapons, their technical characteristics and intended uses in combat and law enforcement situations, and about the documented humanitarian impact of their use, including in terms of death, injury and material damage.
  • Instruments
    • summaries of the evolution of international regulatory instruments (treaties and other standard-setting instruments) governing the conduct of hostilities or the use of force for law enforcement purposes, and discuss provisions relating to the regulation of weapons (with focus on their use).
  • Cases
    • detailing how judgments, decisions and other documents issued by international or regional judicial or quasi-judicial bodies contribute to international weapons regulation.
  • Glossary
    • aim to present key concepts of weapons law, to clarify the meaning of weapons law-related notions under international law, and to explain technical terms used in the Encyclopedia.

The Afghanistan Documentation Project (ADP)

Hosted by the American University Washington College of Law, The Afghanistan Documentation Project (ADP) was established to collect and create a fully searchable and publicly accessible database of documents regarding human rights and humanitarian law violations committed in Afghanistan since 1971. It provides a central repository of publicly accessible and searchable information about atrocities carried out in Afghanistan since 1978.

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