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International Humanitarian Law: Relevant Literature

By ​Eduardo Sánchez Madrigal​

Eduardo Sánchez Madrigal is a master’s student and research assistant at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights. His research interests include human rights and public international law.

International Humanitarian Law: Relevant Literature

Main Titles


Emily Crawford and Alison Pert, International Humanitarian Law, Cambridge University Press, 2nd Edition (2020).

The law that regulates armed conflicts is one of the oldest branches of international law, and yet continues to be one of the most dynamic areas of law today. This book provides an accessible, scholarly, and up-to-date examination of international humanitarian law, offering a comprehensive and logical discussion and analysis of the law. The book contains detailed examples, extracts from relevant cases, useful discussion questions, and a recommended reading list for every chapter. Emerging trends in theory and practice of international humanitarian law are also explored, allowing for readers to build on their knowledge, and grapple with some of the biggest challenges facing the law of armed conflict in the twenty-first century. This second edition offers new sections on issues like detention in non-international armed conflict, characterisation of non-international armed conflicts, expanded chapters on occupation and the protection of civilians, means and methods of warfare, and implementation, enforcement and accountability.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 39.99

Marco Sassòli, International Humanitarian Law: Rules, Controversies, and Solutions to Problems Arising in Warfare, Edward Elgar Publishing (2019).

International humanitarian law (IHL) protects persons and property affected by armed conflicts. Focusing on the controversies that impact IHL in practice, this much-anticipated book from leading expert Marco Sassòli discusses when IHL applies, its substantive rules, how to ensure its respect and whether the traditional distinction between international and non-international armed conflicts remains relevant. Sassòli draws on a depth of practical experience to provide invaluable insight and comprehensive guidance on the rules protecting certain categories of persons (for example, civilians, wounded, etc.) during conflict and the rules governing different types of conduct (for example, occupation, naval warfare, etc.). The book examines how these rules interact with other branches of international law, such as human rights and international criminal law, and how the rules are applied to non-State armed groups. Cross-cutting issues, including terrorism, autonomous weapons, cyber warfare, gender and cultural heritage, are also addressed, providing readers with a well-rounded view of IHL and associated concerns. Structured in a clear and accessible way, this book will be the turn-to resource for scholars, lawyers, civil servants and other actors directly involved in the sphere of IHL. It will also be the essential text for forthcoming generations of students, giving them a solid understanding of both the rules relating to IHL and how they are implemented in practice.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 155.00 (hardback) and £ 45.00 (paperback)

Nicholas Tsagourias and Alasdair Morrison, International Humanitarian Law: Cases, Materials and Commentary, Cambridge University Press (2018).

Drawing together key documents, case law, reports and other essential materials, International Humanitarian Law offers students, lecturers and practitioners an accessible and critically informed account of the theory, law and practice of international humanitarian law. Providing comprehensive, thematic and targeted coverage of national and international cases and materials, this book successfully balances doctrine with practical application to help readers understand how the theories are applied in practice and navigate through jurisprudence with ease. Employing a critical and targeted commentary throughout, this book also helps readers to better understand the implications of the law and the challenges facing international humanitarian law today including: cyber war, detention, direct participation in hostilities, human rights in armed conflict and terrorism. Suitable for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students and practitioners, International Humanitarian Law offers a thematic and comprehensive treatment of the subject.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 34.99

Gary D. Solis, The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War, Cambridge University Press, 2nd Edition (2016).

Newly revised and expanded, The Law of Armed Conflict, 2nd edition introduces law students and undergraduates to the law of war in an age of terrorism. What law of armed conflict (LOAC), or its civilian counterpart, international humanitarian law (IHL), applies in a particular armed conflict? Are terrorists legally bound by that law? What constitutes a war crime? What (or who) is a lawful target and how are targeting decisions made? What are ‘rules of engagement’ and who formulates them? How can an autonomous weapon system be bound by the law of armed conflict? Why were the Guantánamo military commissions a failure? This book takes students through these LOACIHL questions and more, employing real-world examples and legal opinions from the US and abroad. From Nuremberg to 9/11, from courts-martial to the US Supreme Court, from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first, the law of war is explained, interpreted, and applied.

Link to Publisher ǀ € 51.99

Andrew Clapham, Paola Gaeta, and Marco Sassòli (editors), The 1949 Geneva Conventions: A Commentary, Oxford University Press (2015).

The four Geneva Conventions, adopted in 1949, remain the fundamental basis of contemporary international humanitarian law. They protect the wounded and sick on the battlefield, those wounded, sick or shipwrecked at sea, prisoners of war, and civilians in time of war. However, since they were adopted warfare has changed considerably. In this groundbreaking commentary over sixty international law experts investigate the application of the Geneva Conventions and explain how they should be interpreted today. It places the Conventions in the light of the developing obligations imposed by international law on states, armed groups, and individuals, most notably through international human rights law and international criminal law. The context in which the Conventions are to be applied and interpreted has changed considerably since they were first written. The borderline between international and non-international armed conflicts is not as clear-cut as was once thought, and is complicated further by the use of armed force mandated by the United Nations and the complex mixed and transnational nature of certain non-international armed conflicts. The influence of other developing branches of international law, such as human rights law and refugee law has been considerable. The development of international criminal law has breathed new life into multiple provisions of the Geneva Conventions. This commentary adopts a thematic approach to provide detailed analysis of each key issue dealt with by the Conventions, taking into account both judicial decisions and state practice. Cross-cutting chapters on issues such as transnational conflicts and the geographical scope of the Conventions also give readers a full understanding of the meaning of the Geneva Conventions in their contemporary context. Prepared under the auspices of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, this commentary on four of the most important treaties in international law is unmissable for anyone working in or studying situations of armed conflicts.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 317.50

Other Relevant Titles by Year


Ben Saul and Dapo Akande (editors), The Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law, Oxford University Press (2020).

International humanitarian law is the law that governs the conduct of participants during armed conflict. This branch of law aims to regulate the means and methods of warfare as well as to provide protections to those who do not, or who no longer, take part in the hostilities. It is one of the oldest branches of international law and one of enduring relevance today. The Oxford Guide to International Humanitarian Law provides a practical yet sophisticated overview of this important area of law. Written by a stellar line up of contributors, drawn from those who not only have extensive practical experience but who are also regarded as leading scholars of the subject, the text offers a comprehensive and authoritative exposition of the field. The Guide provides professionals and advanced students with information and analysis of sufficient depth to enable them to perform their tasks with understanding and confidence. Each chapter illuminates how the law applies in practice, but does not shy away from the important conceptual issues that underpin how the law has developed. It will serve as a first port of call and a regular reference work for those interested in international humanitarian law.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 120.00

Yoram Dinstein and Arne Willy Dahl, Oslo Manual on Select Topics of the Law of Armed Conflict, Springer (2020).

This new open access book provides a valuable restatement of the current law of armed conflict regarding hostilities in a diverse range of contexts: outer space, cyber operations, remote and autonomous weapons, undersea systems and devices, submarine cables, civilians participating in unmanned operations, military objectives by nature, civilian airliners, destruction of property, surrender, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, cultural property, the natural environment, and more. The book was prepared by a group of experts after consultation with a number of key governments. It is intended to offer guidance for practitioners (mainly commanding officers); facilitate training at military colleges; and inform both instructors and graduate students of international law on the current state of the law.

Link to Publisher ǀ € 51.99

Terry D. Gill, Robin Geiß, Heike Krieger, and Christophe Paulussen (editors), Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, Volume 21, Springer (2020).

The main theme of this volume of the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law is weapons law. In several chapters, how International Humanitarian Law (IHL) copes with old and new weapons as well as political developments in regard to military technology is discussed, while in two chapters the significance of non- or less-lethal weapons in peace-keeping and law enforcement operations as well as the legality of lethal autonomous weapon systems under IHL are analysed. Moreover, the volume describes the current status of nuclear deterrence under international law. Another layer is added by examining how IHL influences the programming of automatic target recognition systems using artificial intelligence. The second part of the book contains a historic perspective on the roots of IHL in Europe, which can be traced back to the ninth century, as well as a Year in Review describing the most important events and legal developments in the area of IHL that took place in 2018.

Link to Publisher ǀ € 124.79

Ezequiel Heffes, Marcos D. Kotlik and Manuel J. Ventura (editors), International Humanitarian Law and Non-State Actors: Debates, Law and Practice, Springer (2020).

This book challenges the traditional approach to international law by concentrating on international humanitarian law and placing the focus beyond States: it reflects on current legal, policy and practical issues that concern non-State actors in and around situations of armed conflict. With the emergence of the nation-State, international law was almost entirely focused on inter-State relations, thus excluding – for the most part – non-State entities. In the modern era, such a focus needs to be adjusted, in order to encompass the various types of functions and interactions that those entities perform throughout numerous international decision-making processes. The contributions that comprise this volume are oriented towards a broad readership audience in the academic and professional fields related to international humanitarian law, international criminal law, international human rights law and general public international law.

Link to Publisher ǀ € 135.19


Mats Deland, Mark Klamberg, and Pål Wrange, International Humanitarian Law and Justice: Historical and Sociological Perspectives, Routledge (2019).

In the last decade, there has been a turn to history in international humanitarian law and its accompanying fields. To examine this historization and to expand the current scope of scholarship, this book brings together scholars from various fields, including law, history, sociology, and international relations. Human rights law, international criminal law, and the law on the use of force are all explored across the text’s four main themes: historiographies of selected fields of international law; evolution of specific international humanitarian law rules in the context of legal gaps and fault lines; emotions as a factor in international law; and how actors can influence history. This work will enhance and broaden readers’ knowledge of the field and serve as an excellent starting point for further research.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 96.00 (hardback) and £ 29.59 (paperback)

Terry D. Gill, Tim McCormack, Robin Geiß, Heike Krieger, and Christophe Paulussen (editors), Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, Volume 20, Springer (2019).

The main theme of this volume of the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law is the development and interpretation of international humanitarian law (IHL). It is elaborated upon in several chapters that examine the role of non-state armed groups in the development and interpretation of IHL, the impact of international criminal law on the development of IHL, the notion of external non-international armed conflicts, and the regulation of prolonged occupation under international law. 
The second theme of this volume is dedicated to targeting in armed conflicts. Specific topics include precautions in attack in urban and siege warfare, the targeting of the Islamic State’s religious personnel in Iraq and Syria, and the targeting of illicit crops through aerial spraying in Colombia. Besides the chapters that address both themes, this volume also contains a Year in Review describing the most important events and legal developments that took place in 2017. 

Link to Publisher ǀ € 124.79


Dražan Djukić and Niccolò Pons, The Companion to International Humanitarian Law, Brill (2018).

This important and unique volume begins with seven essays that discuss the contemporary challenges to implementing international humanitarian law. Its second and largest section comprises 263 entries covering the vast majority of IHL concepts. Written by a wide range of experts, each entry explains the essential legal parameters of a particular element of IHL, while offering practical examples and, where relevant, historical considerations, and supplying a short bibliography for further research. The starting point for the selection were notions arising from the Geneva Conventions, the Additional Protocols, and other IHL treaties. However, the reader will also encounter entries going beyond the typical scope of IHL, such as those related to the protection of the natural environment and animals, and entries that, in addition to an IHL perspective, discuss relevant issues through the lens of human rights law, refugee law, international criminal law, the law on State responsibility, national law, and so on. The editors have also attempted to take into account certain concepts that have no direct foundation in IHL, but that are commonly used in mass media and politics, or generate wide interest in contemporary society, such as drones, economic warfare, cyber warfare, sniping, targeted killings, transitional justice, terrorism, and many other topics. The Companion to International Humanitarian Law offers a much-needed tool for both scholars and practitioners, supplying information accessible enough to enable a variety of users to quickly familiarise themselves with it and sufficiently comprehensive to be a source for reflection and further research for more demanding users. Its aim is to facilitate the practical application of IHL, and be of use to a wide audience interested in or confronted with IHL, ranging from professionals in humanitarian assistance and protection in the field, legal officers and advisers at the national and international level, trainers, academics, scholars, and students.

Link to Publisher ǀ € 275.00

Terry D. Gill, Tim McCormack, Robin Geiß, Heike Krieger, and Christophe Paulussen (editors), Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, Volume 19, Springer (2018).

The general theme of this volume of the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law is armed groups and the challenges arising from the participation of such groups in contemporary armed conflicts. It is elaborated upon in several chapters, addressing the organisation criterion, respect for and compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, targeted sanctions and accountability issues, among other things. Besides these chapters that can be connected to the general theme, the book also contains a chapter dedicated to the ‘knock on the roof ’ practice, a Year in Review, describing the most important events and legal developments that took place in2016, as well as the final report from the ILA Study Group ‘The Conduct of Hostilities Under International Humanitarian Law – Challenges of 21st Century Warfare’.

Link to Publisher ǀ € 145.59

Yishai Beer, Military Professionalism and Humanitarian Law: The Struggle to Reduce the Hazards of War, Oxford University Press (2018).

This book challenges the unacceptable gap between the positive rules of the international law governing armed hostilities and actual state practice. It discusses reducing the human suffering caused by this reality. The current law does not seem to be optimal in balancing the different interests of states’ militaries and the humanitarian agenda. In response to this challenge, this book offers a new paradigm based on reality that may elevate the humanitarian threshold by replacing the currently problematic imperatives imposed upon militaries with professionally-based, therefore attainable, requirements. The aims of the suggested paradigm are to create an environment in which full abidance by the law becomes a realistic norm, thus facilitating a second, more important aim of reducing human suffering. Militaries function in a professional manner; they develop and respect their doctrine, operational principles, fighting techniques and values. Their performances are not random or incidental. The suggested paradigm calls for leveraging the constraining elements that are latent in military professionalism. Talking professional language and adopting the professional way of thinking that underlies militaries’ conduct makes it possible to identify and focus upon the core interests of a military in any given lawful war – those that ought to be taken into consideration – alongside those that can be sacrificed for the sake of the humanitarian concerns, while still allowing the military mission to be achieved. Indeed, leveraging professional standards and norms would establish a reasonable modus vivendi for a military, while allowing substantial new space for the humanitarian mission of the law.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 68.00


Dieter Fleck, William H. Boothby, and Alfons Vanheusden (editors), Leuven Manual on the International Law Applicable to Peace Operations: Prepared by an International Group of Experts at the Invitation of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War, Cambridge University Press (2017).

The Leuven Manual is the authoritative, comprehensive overview of the rules that are to be followed in peace operations conducted by the United Nations, the European Union, NATO, the African Union and other organisations, with detailed commentary on best practice in relation to those rules. Topics covered include human rights, humanitarian law, gender aspects, the use of force and detention by peacekeepers, the protection of civilians, and the relevance of the laws of the host State. The international group of expert authors includes leading academics, together with military officers and policy officials with practical experience in contemporary peace operations, supported in an individual capacity by input from experts working for the UN, the African Union, NATO, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. This volume is intended to be of assistance to states and international organisations involved in the planning and conduct of peace operations, and practitioners and academia.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 36.99

John Cerone (editor), International Humanitarian Law, Edward Elgar Publishing (2017).

This volume brings together traditional and contemporary articles by leading scholars in international humanitarian law. It incorporates key papers published between 1625 and 2012 that investigate the major themes of the field including the development of international humanitarian law, human rights law, international criminal law, gender-related violence in armed conflict, the changing nature of occupation and cyber war. With an original introduction by the editor this insightful collection will prove an essential reference point for students, researchers and policymakers.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 299.00


Frauke Lachenmann and Rüdiger Wolfrum (editors), The Law of Armed Conflict and the Use of Force: The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, Oxford University Press (2016).

This volume brings together articles on the law of armed conflict and the use of force from the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law, the definitive reference work on international law. It provides an invaluable resource for scholars, students, and practitioners of international humanitarian law, giving an accessible, thorough overview of all aspects of the field. Each article contains cross-references to related articles, and includes a carefully selected bibliography of the most important writings and primary materials as a guide to further reading. The Encyclopedia can be used by a wide range of readers. Experienced scholars and practitioners will find a wealth of information on areas that they do not already know well as well as in-depth treatments on every aspect of their specialist topics. Articles can also be set as readings for students on taught courses.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 215.00

Terry D. Gill, Tim McCormack, Robin Geiß, Heike Krieger, Christophe Paulussen, and Jessica Dorsey (editors), Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, Volume 17, Springer (2016).

This volume commemorates the centenary of the First World War (1914-2014) and aims to capture 100 years of warfare evolution. Among the main issues addressed are the changing nature of means and methods of warfare, the law of weaponry, and challenges to humanitarian assistance and protection of the civilian population affected by armed conflict. Specific topics include the legal regime governing nuclear weapons, the prohibition of chemical weapons and arms control, the evolution of naval warfare, asymmetric conflicts, the law of occupation and cultural property. A comprehensive Year in Review also describes the most important events and legal developments that took place in 2014.

Link to Publisher ǀ € 145.59

Terry D. Gill (editor), Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, Volume 18, Springer (2016).

The general theme of this volume is contemporary armed conflicts and their implications for international humanitarian law. It is elaborated upon in several chapters, dealing with a variety of topics related to, among other things, the situations in Libya, Transnistria, Mexico, Syria/Iraq (Islamic State) and Israel/Gaza. Besides these chapters that can be connected to the general theme, this volume also contains a chapter dedicated to an international criminal law topic (duress), as well as a Year in Review, describing the most important events and legal developments that took place in 2015.

Link to Publisher ǀ € 145.59


Andrew Clapham, Paola Gaeta, Tom Haeck and Alice Priddy (editors), The Oxford Handbook of International Law in Armed Conflict, Oxford University Press (2015).

Over the past ten years the content and application of international law in armed conflict has changed dramatically. This Oxford Handbook provides an authoritative and comprehensive study of the role of international law in armed conflict and engages in a broad analysis of international humanitarian law, human rights law, refugee law, international criminal law, environmental law, and the law on the use of force. With an international group of expert contributors, the Handbook has a global, multi-disciplinary perspective on the place of law in war. The Handbook consists of 32 chapters in seven parts. Part I provides the historical background of international law in armed conflict and sets out its contemporary challenges. Part II considers the relevant sources of international law. Part III describes the different legal regimes: land warfare, air warfare, maritime warfare, the law of occupation, the law applicable to peace operations, and the law of neutrality. Part IV introduces crucial concepts in humanitarian law: the use of weapons, proportionality, the principle of distinction, and internal armed conflict. Part V looks at rights issues: life, torture, fair trials, the environment, economic, social and cultural rights, the protection of cultural property, and the human rights of members of the armed forces. Part VI covers key issues in times of conflict: the use of force, terrorism, unlawful combatants, mercenaries, forced migration, and issues of gender. Part VII deals with accountability for war crimes, the responsibility of non-state actors, compensation before national courts, and, finally, transitional justice.

Link to Publisher ǀ £ 39.99

Terry D. Gill, Tim McCormack, Robin Geiß, Heike Krieger, Christophe Paulussen, and Jessica Dorsey (editors), Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, Volume 16, Springer (2015).

This volume contains several articles on the topic ‘Detention in non-international armed conflict’, including the Copenhagen Process, and moreover features contributions on autonomous weapons systems, Apartheid and the second Turkel Report. It also contains an elaborate Year in Review and a special section on the high-level Boundaries of the Battlefield symposium, including a conference report and several in-depth reflections on various other aspects of the symposium. The Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law is the world’s only annual publication devoted to the study of the laws governing armed conflict. It provides a truly international forum for high-quality, peer-reviewed academic articles focusing on this crucial branch of international law. Distinguished by contemporary relevance, the Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law bridges the gap between theory and practice and serves as a useful reference tool for scholars, practitioners, military personnel, civil servants, diplomats, human rights workers and students.

Link to Publisher ǀ € 145.59