According to an ICRC definition of 1971, this term covers situations in which, although there is strictly speaking no armed conflict, there is serious or lasting internal confrontation which includes acts of violence, from spontaneous isolated acts of revolt to a struggle by groups in various stages of organization against the authorities in power.
These situations do not necessarily escalate into open struggle, but the authorities use large police forces, and even the armed forces, to restore order within the country.



below the threshold of IHL

    PII, 1/2



Suggested readings:
EIDE Asbjorn, ROSAS Allan & MERON Theodor, “Combating Lawlessness in Gray Zones Through Minimum Humanitarian Standards”, in AJIL, Vol. 89/1, 1995, pp. 215-223.
GASSER Hans-Peter, “A Measure of Humanity in Internal Disturbances and Tensions: Proposal for a Code of Conduct”, in IRRC, No. 262, January-February 1988, pp. 33-58.
MERON Theodor, “Draft Model Declaration on Internal Strife”, in IRRC, No. 262, January-February 1988, pp. 59-104.
MERON Theodor, Human Rights in Internal Strife: Their International Protection, Cambridge, Grotius, 1987, 349 pp.
MERON Theodor, “Towards a Humanitarian Declaration on Internal Strife”, in AJIL, Vol. 78/4, 1984, pp. 859-868.
MOMTAZ Djamchid, “The Minimum Humanitarian Rules Applicable in Periods of Internal Tension and Strife”, in IRRC, No. 324, September 1998, pp. 455-462.
VIGNY Jean-Daniel, “Standards fondamentaux d’humanité : quel avenir ?”, in IRRC, No. 840, December 2000, pp. 917-939.
Further readings:
FLECK Dieter, “Law Enforcement and the Conduct of Hostilities: Two Supplementing or Mutually Excluding Legal Paradigms?”, in Frieden in Freiheit = Peace in Liberty = Paix en liberté : Festschrift für Michael Bothe zum 70 Geburtstag, Baden-Baden, Nomos; Zürich, Dike, 2008, pp. 391-407.
HARROFF-TAVEL Marion, “Action Taken by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Situations of Internal Violence”, in IRRC, No. 294, May-June 1993, pp. 195-220.
GASSER Hans-Peter, “New Draft Declaration on Minimum Humanitarian Standards”, in IRRC, No. 282, May-June 1991, pp. 328-329.