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Armed Conflict and International Law: Introduction

Designed to cover research on issues related to armed conflict and international law, including international humanitarian law. Sections include locating international instruments, cases, national law, and more.


Armed conflict and international law involves researching two bodies of law:

  • ius ad bellum, addresses the legality of the use of force (under what circumstances is the recourse to armed conflict judtified)
  • ius in bello, the law that controls how it should be fought (conduct of hostilities). This is often called international humanitarian law (IHL).  IHL is often also referred to as "law of armed conflicts" and "law of war" and includes "Geneva law" as well as "Hague law." 

Armed conflict may also involve researching other areas of law: refugee law, human rights, migration, peaceful settlement of disputes, diplomatic relations, environmental law, and more. 

For more background information, see Law of Armed Conflict Deskbook (2012), prepared by the US Army Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School.

Research Guides & Bibliographies

These resources are good starting points for most research projects.  They will identify relevant books, articles, and websites.

ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law.  An annotated guide focusing on many topics: humanitarian law, human rights, the United Nations, and more.

Berkeley Law Library: International and Foreign Guides. Research tips and sources on various topics: human rights, refugee law, United Nations, and more.

Globalex, research guides on international, foreign and comparative law topics.

International Criminal Courts for the Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone: A Guide to Online and Print Resources.

Harvard Law Library, International Humanitarian Law research guide.

Peace Palace Library, Research Guide: International Humanitarian Law, includes citations to books and articles.

United Nations Documentation: Research Guide. This is a more general guide on how to locate UN documents.

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