This educational tool aims solely to encourage practice-oriented teaching of the subject matter through a unique selection of documents and resources on international humanitarian law (IHL) in past and contemporary practice.
Neither the ICRC nor the authors can be identified with the opinions expressed in the Cases and Documents. Some cases even come to solutions that clearly violate IHL. They are nevertheless worthy of discussion, if only to raise a challenge to display more humanity in armed conflicts. Similarly, for some of the texts used in the case studies, the facts may not always be proven; nevertheless, they have been selected because they highlight interesting IHL issues and are thus published for didactic purposes. In the choice of the published cases and materials, however, we did not succeed in anything near an equitable geographic distribution. This reflects that some conflicts and some events give rise to more court cases, United Nations documents, NGO concerns, press articles and scholarly discussions than others; nonetheless IHL applies equally to the latter, which, in fact, may produce more victims and be characterized by more violations than the former. Even within one coherent set of cases (e.g.from the considerable case law of the two ad hoc International Tribunals) the authors – rather than selecting cases on the basis of their historical relevance or of political factors – have chosen cases and decisions that illustrate or discuss legal issues of particular importance for IHL. Similarly, several cases refer to past attitudes of governments. Those have sometimes fortunately changed in the meantime. The cases are nevertheless reproduced, not to judge upon the past, but because the underlying IHL issues are still relevant.
The criteria for inclusion of a document is not whether historical facts are accurately described, but whether it allows a discussion of a particular aspect of IHL. No description of alleged historical facts in a reproduced document can therefore be construed as an opinion of the ICRC or of the authors. All documents are reproduced either in an official English version, where it exists, or in our own translation into English.
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Commercial use or publication of all or part of documents, photos, film footage, audio records, logos and graphics is strictly prohibited without prior express authorization from the ICRC. Permission for use must be requested from the ICRC or, for agency or freelance photos (indicated in the photo credit) or third-party publications, from the agency, publication or individual concerned. Modifications to ICRC copyright material are not allowed. Be advised that a proof within context or pre-production sample is requested before final approval is given.
Personal and non-commercial use (e.g. academic use)
Documents may be copied on condition that copyright and source indications are also copied, no modifications are made and the document is copied entirely. Academic standards apply for citing and referencing sources.
Photos, video footage, audio records, logos and graphics may not be used or copied without prior express authorisation. Modifications to ICRC copyright material are not allowed. Permission for use must be requested from the ICRC or, for agency or freelance photos (indicated in the photo credit), from the agency or individual concerned.
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While great care has been taken to establish and acknowledge copyright and contact the copyright owners of publications and documents reproduced on this platform, the authors tender their apologies for any accidental infringement. They would be pleased to come to suitable arrangement with the rightful owner in each case.