Saturday, 14 August 2010

On-line Database on Customary International Humanitarian Law

To mark the 12 August anniversary of the adoption of the Geneva Conventions, in 1949, the International Committee of the Red Cross has launched a new on-line database of the organization's major study of customary international humanitarian law. The project was developed in association with the British Red Cross, and by a team that included one of our PhD graduates, Anthony Cullen.

The database is designed to be used as a legal reference in international and non-international armed conflicts, including by courts, tribunals and international organizations. The new customary international humanitarian law database features 50 per cent more content than the original published study. A printed version would run to more than 8,000 pages. Divided into two parts, the first includes 161 rules which the original study assessed to be of customary nature. The second part contains the practice on which the conclusions in part one are based. The database offers practitioners and academics easy access to the rules of customary international humanitarian law identified in the ICRC study and gives them the opportunity to investigate underlying practice by means of three search parameters: subject matter, type of practice and country.
The database also contains new international materials, in particular international case law and United Nations material up until the end of 2007. As the formation of customary international humanitarian law is an ongoing process, regular updates, including of national practice, will be provided.
Thanks to Nathan Derejko.


Anonymous said...

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All the best,
Julian Gilbert
International War Crimes Report.

Gary said...

A persuasive case can be made that the Government of India is guilty of a pattern of violations of customary international humanitarian law by not cooperating fully with US Government requests for assistance recovering the remains of hundreds of US WWII aviators still lying in the mountains of Northeast India.

Swiss international law scholar Anna Petrig cites these rules of customary humanitarian law governing the remains of war dead, in her 2009 article “The War Dead and their Gravesites” in the International Review of the Red Cross:

“The rules specifically dealing with mortal remains and gravesites are the following: – Rule 112.Whenever circumstances permit, and particularly after an engagement, each party to the conflict must,without delay, take all possible measures to search for, collect and evacuate the dead without adverse distinction. [International and Non-International Armed Conflicts]– Rule 113. Each party to the conflict must take all possible measures to prevent the dead from being despoiled. Mutilation of dead bodies is prohibited. [International and Non-International Armed Conflicts]– Rule 114. Parties to the conflict must endeavour to facilitate the return of the remains of the deceased upon request of the party to which they belong or upon the request of their next of kin. They must return their personal effects to them.[International Armed Conflicts]– Rule 115. The dead must be disposed of in a respectful manner and their graves respected and properly maintained. [International and Non-International Armed Conflicts] – Rule 116. With a view to the identification of the dead, each party to the conflict must record all available information prior to disposal and mark the location of the graves. [International and Non-International Armed Conflicts].”