This general expression covers confrontations between

  1. two or more States (See International armed conflict);
  2. a State and a body other than a State (See War of national liberation);
  3. a State and a dissident faction (See Non-international armed conflict);
  4. two or more organized armed groups within a State (See Non-international armed conflict).

See also International armed conflict; Non international armed conflict; National liberation wars; Application
For Armed conflict at sea, see: Naval warfare
For armed conflict in air, see: Air warfare




International Law Commission, Articles on State Responsibility [Part A., Art 8 and Commentary]

ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Tadic [Part A., paras 67-70 and 96; Part E., paras 37-100]

ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Boskoski

ICTR, The Prosecutor v. Jean-Paul Akayesu [Part A., para. 601]

ECHR, Hassan v. UK

Iran, Victim of Cyber warfare

South Sudan: Medical Care Under Fire

United Kingdom, The Case of Serdar Mohammed (High Court Judgment)

ECHR, Al-Jedda v. UK

ECHR, Al-Skeini et al. v. UK

Syria, Press conference with French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin

ICRC, International Humanitarian Law and the challenges of contemporary armed conflicts in 2015 [paras 71, 73-79]

Israel/Palestine, Operation Protective Edge (Gaza, 13 June - 26 August 2014)

United Kingdom, The Case of Serdar Mohammed (Court of Appeal and Supreme Court Judgments)

Mali, Accountability for the Destruction of Cultural Heritage

El Salvador, Supreme Court Judgment on the Unconstitutionality of the Amnesty Law

United States, Jurisprudence Related to the Bombing of the U.S.S. Cole

Iraq/Syria/UK, Drone Operations against ISIS

ICC, Confirmation of Charges against LRA Leader

ICRC, Statement - War in Cities ; What is at Stake?

Colombia Peace Agreement

UN/Colombia, Human Rights Committee Clarifications and Concluding Observations (2016)

International Criminal Court, Trial Judgment in the Case of the Prosecutor V. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo

Belgium, Prosecution of Terrorist Crimes in the context of Armed Conflict

ECJ, Aboubacar Diakité v. Commissaire général aux réfugiés et aux apatrides

Germany, Aerial Drone Attack in Mir Ali/Pakistan

Eastern Ukraine, Attacks Against and Military Use of Schools

Eastern Ukraine, OHCHR Report on the Situation: November 2016 - February 2017

Central African Republic/Democratic Republic of Congo/Uganda, LRA attacks

Central African Republic, Coup d'Etat

Iraq, Crimes by Militia Groups

Central African Republic, No Class: When Armed Groups Use Schools

Kenya, Civilian Carnage

Syria: Attacks on Oil Infrastructure

South Sudan, The Nuer “White Armies”

South Sudan, Activities of Oil Companies


BALENDRA Natasha, “Defining Armed Conflict”, in Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 29, No. 6, 2008, pp. 2461-2516
DAHL Arne Willy & SANDBU Magnus, “The Threshold of Armed Conflict”, in Revue de droit militaire et de droit de la guerre, Vol. 3-4, No. 45, 2006, pp. 369-388
O’CONNELL Mary Ellen, Defining Armed Conflict”, in Journal of Conflict & Security Law, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2008, pp. 393-400
SCHINDLER Dietrich, “The Different Types of Armed Conflicts According to the Geneva Conventions and Protocols”, in Collected Courses, Vol. 163, 1979, pp. 153-156.
STEWART James G., “Towards a Single Definition of Armed Conflict in International Humanitarian Law: a Critique of Internationalized Armed Conflict”, in IRRC, No. 850, June 2003, pp. 313-349
VITE Sylvain, “Typology of Armed Conflicts in International Humanitarian Law: Legal Concepts and Actual Situations”, in IRRC, Vol. 91, No. 873, March 2009, pp. 69-94