IRRC No. 897/898

Book review - International law and armed conflict: Fundamental principles and contemporary challenges in the law of war

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Many will readily agree with Jean Pictet that in-depth knowledge of international humanitarian law (IHL) – also often referred to as the law of armed conflict (LOAC) or the laws of war – is necessary for lawyers, members of the armed forces, humanitarian practitioners and others involved in or working on issues related to armed conflicts. Few will generally advocate for a broad, non-targeted dissemination among the public at large. And yet, some degree of understanding of the basic rules and principles applicable in situations of armed conflict may also be valuable for anyone interested in world politics and international affairs. What is the nature of the conflict in Afghanistan today, and why does that matter? Is the Islamic State an organized armed group? How does the law protect the civilian population in Syria or in the Central African Republic? Are chemical weapons prohibited, and if so, how? These are only some of the questions that any well-informed citizen may ask on a daily basis, and IHL provides the answers to all of them.

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