Hot Topics: International humanitarian law

IHL is the branch of international law that deals with armed conflict. It seeks to place limitation on the damaging effects of armed conflict especially on the vulnerable and to impose restrictions on the means and methods of warfare that are permissible.

About the Author

Dr Emily Crawford is a post-doctoral fellow and associate at the Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL). Emily has taught international law and international humanitarian law, and has delivered lectures both locally and overseas on international humanitarian law issues, including the training of military personnel on behalf of the Red Cross in Australia. She is a member of the International Law Association’s Committee on Non-State Actors, as well as the NSW Red Cross IHL Committee.

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Chapter one


International humanitarian law (IHL) is a branch of international law that regulates armed conflict.

Chapter two

Glossary of terms

Chapter three

Sources of IHL

Treaties - custom - sources of IHL.

Chapter four

Types of armed conflict

International armed conflict - non-international armed conflicts.

Chapter five

Combatants and prisoners of war

Limiting the rules on distinction - the importance of combatant status - prisoner of war (POW) status.


Hot Topics 80: International humanitarian law. Hot Topics is intended as an introductory guide only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information, the Legal Information Access Centre does not assume responsibility for any errors or omissions.

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