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The Law of Armed Conflict

The Law of Armed Conflict or International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is the law that regulates the conduct of participants during an armed conflict. This law includes rules for the protection of victims of armed conflict, i.e those who do not or who no longer participate in hostilities, and also rules regulating the means and methods of warfare. While many of these rules are set out in the treaties codifying this branch of law, a great many of the rules, particularly those applicable in non-international armed conflicts, are to be found in customary international law. Despite the importance of this area, the identification or interpretation of these rules continues to be a challenge.

Members of ELAC conduct research into various aspects of this branch of law. The emphasis is on clarifying the law, uncovering the philosophical and normative basis for the rules in this branch of international law, examining the implementation of the law, as well as analysing the relationship between this branch of law and other bodies of law applicable in armed conflict.

ELAC engages with national, international and non-governmental bodies working on and with IHL. Some of our work in this area has been funded or commissioned by, or produced for use by such bodies. ELAC co-organizes the annual Transatlantic Workshop on International Law and Armed Conflict which brings together lawyers from academia, governments and armed forces, civil society, and the International Committee of the Red Cross to discuss challenges in IHL.