The Int. Law Observer Blog is continuously looking for enthusiastic master student(s) or Ph.D. candidate(s) willing to assist with editorial work on the Blog. Interested? Find out more here.

Home » Academia, International Humanitarian Law, Literature, Publications, References, Relevant Literature, University

International Humanitarian Law textbooks: From 2011 onwards

Submitted by on 26/05/2017 – 11:32 amNo Comment

* Prepared by Henriette (Jet) Jakobien Liesker, Research Assistant, Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo.

This is a list of IHL textbooks published since 2011 onwards, which can be of use to IHL teachers looking for teaching resources for their courses. A lot of materials are available for free from the ICRC website at ‘Learning and Teaching IHL‘, ‘How Does Law Protect in War‘, and the ICRC IHL textbook (note the free download option).


 Francisco Forrest Martin et al., International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law:

Treaties, Cases, and Analysis, Cambridge University Press, 2011.

International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law: Treaties, Cases, and Analysis introduces the reader to the international legal instruments and case law governing the substantive and procedural dimensions of international human rights and humanitarian law, including economic, social, and cultural rights. The book, which was originally published in 2006, also discusses the history and organizational structure of human rights and humanitarian law enforcement mechanisms. A chapter is devoted a chapter to the issues surrounding the incorporation of international law into U.S. law, including principles of constitutional and statutory interpretation, conflict rules, and the self-execution doctrine. Questions and comments sections provide critical analyses of issues raised in the materials. The last chapter addresses theoretical issues facing contemporary international human rights and humanitarian law and its enforcement.

Daniel Thürer, International Humanitarian Law: Theory, Practice, Context, Brill, 2011.

This book is about international humanitarian law or – as it is also called – the “law of armed conflict” or “law of war”. It emerged from a series of lectures delivered at The Hague Academy of International Law. The author deals with war and the means by which international law attempts to contain and, as it were, “humanize” organized violence. But the ambitions of the author go beyond the battlefield. The book explores the many complex ways in which law functions to regulate warfare, in theory and practice. The author looks into treaties and other sources of international law, but he also tries to step outside the boundaries of “black-letter law” to deal broadly with such matters as the influence of culture in shaping the norms on war, the institutions that develop those norms and work for their universal acceptance, the networks of humanitarian actors in this area and the legal procedures in which the law of war and its various institutions are embedded. The book demonstrates that even wars are, in various ways, conducted in “the shadow of the law”.


Jan Wouters and Philip de Man (eds.), Humanitarian and Security Law: A Compendium of International and European Instruments, Intersentia, 2012.

This book is a comprehensive and easily accessible compilation of the most important legal instruments that pertain to armed conflicts and security threats and which are of use and interest to practitioners and researchers working in the areas of international and European humanitarian and security law. It is the first compendium that methodically compiles all relevant instruments both at the international and the European level.


 Jonathan Crowe and Kylie Weston-Scheuber, Principles of International Humanitarian Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013.

This book provides a clear and concise explanation of the central principles of international humanitarian law (or the law of armed conflict) while situating them in a broader philosophical, ethical and legal context. The authors consider a range of wider issues relevant to international humanitarian law, including its ethical foundations, relationship to other bodies of international law and contemporary modes of enforcement. This helps to develop a richer context for understanding the law of war and a sound basis for examining the changing nature of contemporary armed conflict. The book also discusses important recent decisions by international courts and tribunals, tracks the historical development of humanitarian principles in warfare and considers the legal position of states, individuals and non-state groups.

 Dieter Fleck (ed.), The Handbook of International Humanitarian Law, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press, 2013.

This fully updated third edition of The Handbook of International Humanitarian Law sets out an international manual of humanitarian law accompanied by case analysis and extensive explanatory commentary by a team of distinguished and internationally renowned experts. The commentary both deepens reflection on such innovations, and critically reconsiders views expressed in earlier editions to provide a contemporary analysis of this changing field. Renowned international lawyers offer a broad spectrum of legal opinions, restating the law in this area, which is applicable worldwide. Particular attention is paid to problems of application of the law in recent military campaigns, which are assessed and interpreted in a practice-oriented manner. Based on best-practice rules of global importance, this book gives invaluable guidance to practitioners and scholars of this important body of law.

Robert Kolb and Gloria Gaggioli (eds.), Research Handbook on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013.

This fascinating Handbook explores the interplay between international human rights law and international humanitarian law, offering expert analysis on the increasingly complex issues surrounding their application in armed conflicts across the world. Contributors to this volume provide a comprehensive treatment of the ongoing relationship between human rights law and humanitarian law, from the historical background and origins of the two bodies of law to their various applications today. Divided into four parts – Historical Background, Common Issues, The Need for a Combined Approach, and Monitoring Mechanisms – the Handbook presents a rich and varied spectrum of original research and thought from some of the brightest minds in the field.


Andrew Clapham and Paola Gaeta (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Law in Armed Conflict, Oxford University Press, 2014.

Which human rights violations or war crimes allegations result in exclusion from the refugee regime? What human rights protections apply to someone declared an unlawful combatant? Which human rights obligations apply to the actions of armed forces acting abroad? Over the past ten years the content and application of international law in armed conflict has changed dramatically. An authoritative and comprehensive study of the role of international law in armed conflicts, this Oxford Handbook engages in a broad analysis of international humanitarian law, human rights law, refugee law, international criminal law, environmental law, and the law on the use of force. With an international group of expert contributors, this book has a global, multi-disciplinary perspective on the place of law in war.

 Robert Kolb, Advanced Introduction to International Humanitarian Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014.

This innovative book provides a thought-provoking introduction to international humanitarian law (IHL). Robert Kolb explores the field through questions – which are at times challenging and controversial – in order to get to the very essence of the subject and give a fresh perspective. The result is an exposition both of the law as it stands, through its written and unwritten rules, and also of the uncertainties, gaps, controversies and practical problems which have arisen. IHL is revealed as a living tool, an ever-adapting means to an ever-remaining need of protection during times of armed conflict.


Emily Crawford and Alison Pert, International Humanitarian Law, Cambridge University Press, 2015.

This clear and concise textbook provides an accessible and up-to-date examination of international humanitarian law. With the aid of detailed examples, extracts from relevant cases, and useful discussion questions, students are expertly guided through the text. A recommended reading list is included in every chapter to support deeper engagement with the material. Emerging trends in theory and practice are also explored, allowing readers to build on their knowledge and grapple with some of the biggest challenges facing the law of armed conflict in the twenty-first century.


 Gary D. Solis, The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Newly revised and expanded, The Law of Armed Conflict, 2nd edition introduces law students and undergraduates to the law of war in an age of terrorism. What law of armed conflict (LOAC), or its civilian counterpart, international humanitarian law (IHL), applies in a particular armed conflict? Are terrorists legally bound by that law? What constitutes a war crime? What (or who) is a lawful target and how are targeting decisions made? What are ‘rules of engagement’ and who formulates them? How can an autonomous weapon system be bound by the law of armed conflict? Why were the Guantánamo military commissions a failure? This book takes students through these LOACIHL questions and more, employing real-world examples and legal opinions from the US and abroad. From Nuremberg to 9/11, from courts-martial to the US Supreme Court, from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first, the law of war is explained, interpreted, and applied.


John Cerone (ed.), International Humanitarian Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2017.

This volume brings together traditional and contemporary articles by leading scholars in international humanitarian law. It incorporates key papers published between 1625 and 2012 that investigate the major themes of the field including the development of international humanitarian law, human rights law, international criminal law, gender-related violence in armed conflict, the changing nature of occupation and cyber war. With an original introduction by the editor this insightful collection will prove an essential reference point for students, researchers and policymakers.

Last 5 posts by Professor Gentian Zyberi