Conduct of hostilities

The term refers to the means and methods of warfare employed by belligerents in armed conflicts. The IHL rules on conduct of hostilities aim to strike a balance between military necessity and humanity, seeking mainly to protect civilians from attacks and effects of hostilities, but equally to limit the suffering of combatants. Key principles of IHL governing the conduct of hostilities include: distinction, proportionality, precautions and prohibition of superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering.

See DistinctionProportionalityPrecautions in attackMeans of warfareMethods of warfareMilitary objectivesCivilian objectsFightersDirect participation in hostilitiesNaval warfareLaw enforcementSuperfluous injury;

OUTLINE

DOCUMENTS

CASES

United States/United Kingdom, Report on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, NATO Intervention

Georgia/Russia, Human Rights Watch’s Report on the Conflict in South Ossetia

Georgia/Russia, Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in South Ossetia

Israel/Gaza, Operation Cast Lead

ICRC, IHL and the Challenges of Contemporary Armed Conflicts

Afghanistan, Code of Conduct for the Mujahideen

Nigeria, Operational Code of Conduct

The Environment and International Humanitarian Law

Cambodia/Thailand, Border Conflict around the Temple of Preah Vihear

Mali, Destruction of World Cultural Heritage

Yemen, Obstructing Medical Care

South Sudan: Medical Care Under Fire

Syria, Code of Conduct of the Free Syrian Army

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health

ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Gotovina and Markač

Autonomous Weapon Systems

ECHR, Al-Skeini et al. v. UK

General Assembly, The use of drones in counter-terrorism operations

U.S., Lethal Operations against Al-Qa’ida Leaders

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

Libya, NATO Intervention 2011

ICRC, International Humanitarian Law and the challenges of contemporary armed conflicts in 2015 (Paras. 193)

Yemen, Potential Existence and Effects of Naval Blockade

Sri Lanka, Naval War against Tamil Tigers

Syria, Report by UN Commission of Inquiry (March 2017)

Afghanistan, Bombing of a Civilian Truck

Italy, Use of force against ambulances in Iraq

Syria, the Battle for Aleppo

Iraq/Syria/UK, Drone Operations against ISIS

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

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

Iraq, The Battle for Mosul

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

Syria, Syrian rebels treat captured Filipino soldiers as 'guests'

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

Central African Republic, Coup d'Etat

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

 BIBLIOGRAPHIC RESOURCES


ARRASSEN Mohamed, Conduite des hostilités, droit des conflits armés et désarmement, Brussels, Bruylant, 1986, 605 pp.
 
BAXTER Richard R., “The Duties of Combatants and the Conduct of Hostilities (The Law of the Hague)”, in International Dimensions of Humanitarian Law, Geneva, Henry-Dunant Institute/UNESCO, 1986, pp. 93-133.
 
DINSTEIN Yoram, “Jus in Bello Issues Arising in the Hostilities in Iraq in 2003”, in IYHR, Vol. 34, 2004, pp. 1-14.
 
DINSTEIN Yoram, The Conduct of Hostilities under the Law of International Armed Conflict, Cambridge, CUP, 2010, 320 pp.
 
EPSTEIN Melissa & BUTLER Richard, “The Customary Origins and Elements of Select Conduct of Hostilities Charges before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia: A Potential Model for Use by Military Commissions”, in Military Law Review, Vol. 179, 2004, pp. 68-127.
 
KALSHOVEN Frits & ZEGVELD Liesbeth, Constraints on the Waging of War, Geneva, ICRC, 2001, 223 pp.
 
SOLF Waldemar A., “Protection of Civilians Against the Effects of Hostilities under Customary International Law and under Protocol I”, in American University Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 1, 1986, pp. 107-135
 
“Declaration on the Rules of International Humanitarian Law Governing the Conduct of Hostilities in Non-International Armed Conflicts”, in IRRC, No. 278, September-October 1990, 5 pp.
 
“Rules of International Humanitarian Law Governing the Conduct of Hostilities in Non-International Armed Conflicts”, in IRRC, No. 278, September-October 1990, pp. 383-403.