The term “human shields” describes a method of warfare prohibited by IHL where the presence of civilians or the movement of the civilian population, whether voluntary or involuntary, is used in order to shield military objectives from attack, or to shield, favor or impede military operations.

See Methods of warfareCivilians, Civilian population, Military objectivesAttacks;





Suggested readings:   BALLESTERO Manon, “Les boucliers humains volontaires : des civils ne participant pas directement aux hostilités?”, RBDI, Vol. 41, No. 1-2, 2008, pp. 265-291.   BOUCHIE de BELLE Stéphanie, “Chained to Cannons or Wearing Targets on Their T-Shirts: Human Shields in International Humanitarian Law”, IRRC, Vol. 90, No. 872, December 2008, pp. 883-906.   DINSTEIN Yoram, “Distinction and Loss of Civilian Protection in International Armed Conflicts”, IYHR, Vol. 38, 2008, pp. 1-16.   LYALL Rewi, “Voluntary Human Shields, Direct Participation in Hostilities and the International Humanitarian Law Obligations of States”, MelbourneJournal of International Law, Vol. 9, Issue 2, May 2008, 21 pp.   SASSÒLI Marco, “Human Shields and International Humanitarian Law”, in Frieden in Freiheit = Peace in Liberty = Paix en liberté, Festschrift für Michael Bothe zum 70 Geburtstag, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2008, pp. 567-578.   SCHMITT Michael N., “Human Shielding from the Attacker’s Perspective”, in BERUTO Gian Luca (ed.), The Conduct of Hostilities: Revisiting the Law of Armed Conflict: 100 Years After the 1907 Hague Conventions and 30 Years After the 1977 Additional Protocols: Current Problems of International Humanitarian Law, Sanremo, 6-8 September 2007: Proceedings, Milano, Nagard, 2008, pp. 93-102.   SCHMITT Michael N., “Human Shields in International Humanitarian Law”, IYHR, Vol. 38, 2008, pp. 17-58.   Further readings:   FISCHER Douglas H., “Human Shields, Homicides, and House Fires: How a Domestic Law Analogy Can Guide International Law Regarding Human Shield Tactics in Armed Conflict”, American University Law Review, Vol. 57, No. 2, 2007, pp. 479-521.   MELZER Nils, “Keeping the Balance between Military Necessity and Humanity: A Response to Four Critiques of the ICRC’s Interpretive Guidance on the Notion of Direct Participation in Hostilities”, Journal of International Law and Politics, Vol. 42, No. 3, 2010, pp. 831-916.   OTTO Roland, “Neighbours as Human Shields? The Israel Defense Forces’ ‘Early Warning Procedure’ and International Humanitarian Law”, in IRRC, No. 856, December 2004, pp. 771-786.   ROSEN Richard D., “Targeting Enemy Forces in the War on Terror: Preserving Civilian Immunity”, in Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 42, No. 3, May 2009, pp. 683-777.   SALAHI Reem, “Israel’s War Crimes: a First Hand Account of Israel’s Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Civilian Infrastructure”, Rutgers Law Record, Vol. 36, Fall 2009, pp. 201-223.