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6.7: Resources and References

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    Key Points

    • Non-combatants in armed conflicts are protected by international law in the forms of the Geneva Conventions and associated Protocols.
    • Their protection extends to both international and internal conflicts.
    • Different protection is afforded to prisoners of war, wounded and shipwrecked and displaced people.
    • International law also regulates the responsibilities of states and of individuals in terms of means and methods of war.
    • War crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and aggression are defined by international law, and mechanisms for the prosecution of state and individual transgressors are outlined.
    • Current legal developments supporting human security include the development of certain human rights, of international humanitarian law, of international criminal law and of norms for good governance.
    • Obstacles on the way towards further development of international law are encountered in the context of initiatives for the responsibility to protect (R2P) and when boundaries of state sovereignty are tested.

    .Extension Activities & Further Research

    1. Examine the ethical principles and considerations that provide the basis for IHL and for the restrictions it places on the conduct of armed conflict. Do you consider this basis sufficient or would you advocate for its expansion? Present your case.
    2. The use of nuclear weapons has been limited to specific circumstances (Section 6.4). Picture a scenario where the current state of political relations in the Middle East renders the use of nuclear weapons a distinct possibility. How would the pros and cons be represented in the International Court of Justice?
    3. Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions, which has not been signed by the US, refers to wars of liberation “against colonial domination and alien occupation.” If the Protocol had been in place at the time, to what extent could it have been applied to protect the combatants in the American War of Independence (1775-1783)?
    4. Describe the trend underlying the development of IHL and how it might manifest in the future.

    List of Terms

    See Glossary for full list of terms and definitions.

    • erga omnes
    • genocide
    • grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and Protocols
    • jus cogens
    • Martens Clause
    • prima facie
    • Rome Statute

    Suggested Reading

    Cassese, A. (2011). Reflections on international criminal justice. Journal of International Criminal Justice, 9(1), 271–275.

    Cryer, R., & Henderson, C. (Eds.). (2017). Law on the use of force and armed conflict. Edward Elgar Publishing.

    deGuzman, M. M., & Amann, D. M. (Eds.). (2018). Arcs of global justice: Essays in honour of William A Schabas. Oxford University Press.

    Gillespie, A. (2011). A history of the laws of war. Hart Publishing.

    Schabas, W. A. (2006). Preventing genocide and mass killing: The challenge for the United Nations. Minority Rights Group International.


    Cassese, A. (2008). The human dimension of international law: Selected papers. Oxford University Press.

    Méndez, J. E. (2007). The United Nations and the prevention of genocide. In R. Henham & P. Behrens (Eds.), The criminal law of genocide: International, comparative and contextual aspects (pp. 225–230). Ashgate Publishing.

    Sassòli, M., Bouvier, A. A., & Quintin, A. (2011). How does law protect in war? International Committee of the Red Cross.

    Zifcak, S. (2018). The responsibility to protect. In M. D. Evans (Ed.), International law (5th ed., pp. 502–505). Oxford University Press.


    Bassiouni, M. C. (1999). Crimes against humanity in international criminal law (2nd ed.). Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

    Bassiouni, M. C. (2003). Introduction to international criminal law. Transnational Publishers.

    Cassese, A. (2011). Reflections on international criminal justice. Journal of International Criminal Justice, 9(1), 271–275.

    Cassese, A. (2013). Cassese’s international criminal law (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

    Cassese, A., Acquaviva, G., Fan, M., & Whiting, A. (2011). International criminal law: Cases and commentary. Oxford University Press.

    Cook, S. E. (2006). Genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda: New perspectives. Transaction Publishers.

    Crawford J., Pellet, A., & Olleson, S. (Eds.). (2010). The law of international responsibility. Oxford University Press.

    Cryer, R. (2005). Prosecuting international crimes: Selectivity and the international criminal law regime. Cambridge University Press.

    Cryer, R., Friman, H., Robinson, D., & Wilmshurst, E. (Eds.). (2014). An introduction to international criminal law and procedure (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press.

    Evans, G. (2009). The responsibility to protect: Ending mass atrocity crimes once and for all. Brookings Institution Press.

    Gaeta, P. (Ed.). (2009). The UN Genocide Convention: A commentary. Oxford University Press.

    Hamburg, D. A. (2008). Preventing genocide: Practical steps toward early detection and effective action. Paradigm Publishers.

    Henham, R., & Behrens, P. (Ed.). (2007). The criminal law of genocide: International, comparative and contextual aspects. Ashgate Publishing.

    Hong, M.-L. K. (2008). A genocide by any other name: Language, law, and the response to Darfur. Virginia Journal of International Law,49(1), 235–272.

    International Committee of the Red Cross. (2011). Health care in danger: Making the case (ICRC Publication Reference 4072).

    Jørgensen, N. H. B. (2003). The responsibility of states for international crimes. Oxford University Press.

    Lamont, C. K. (2010). International criminal justice and the politics of compliance. Ashgate Publishing.

    Nollkaemper, A., & van der Wilt, H. (2009). Conclusions and outlook. In A. Nollkaemper & H. van der Wilt, System criminality in international law (pp. 338–354). Cambridge University Press.

    Orakhelashvili, A. (2008). Peremptory norms in international law. Oxford University Press.

    Ratner, S. R., Abrams, J. S., & Bischoff, J. L. (2009). Accountability for human rights atrocities in international law: Beyond the Nuremberg legacy (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

    Roux, M. (2012). A comparative analysis of the causes for breaching the erga omnes obligation to prevent and prosecute gross human rights violations [Doctoral thesis, University of Johannesburg]. University of Johannesburg Institutional Repository.

    Schabas, W. A. (2006). Preventing genocide and mass killing: The challenge for the United Nations. Minority Rights Group International.

    Schabas, W. A. (2010). The international criminal court: A commentary on the Rome Statute. Oxford University Press.

    Schabas W. A., & Bernaz, N. (Eds.). (2012). Routledge handbook of international criminal law. Routledge.

    Triffterer, O., & Ambos, K. (Eds.). (2016). Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: A commentary (3rd ed.). Hart Publishing.


    1. These and many other sources are accessible on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) website
    2. For new sources see WHO's Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care and the ICRC's New global system to monitor attacks on health care
    3. Editors’ note: Depleted uranium ordnance is apparently not mentioned in that category. 
    4. See Crunch Time: European Positions on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems, Update 2018 [PDF], also available at PAX for Peace
    5. Editors’ note: The frequent references to legal documents in this chapter are not included in this list; those documents are freely accessible online. 

    6.7: Resources and References is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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