A New Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Online Portal

Homepage of the Rule of Law in Armed Conflict Portal Homepage of the Rule of Law in Armed Conflict Portal

We are launching an updated version of our Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC) portal, an online database that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). The updated version includes all conflicts that have emerged over the last five years and are still ongoing.

 New and Updated Armed Conflicts

This version entails new and updated armed conflicts, as well as a map allowing visitors to search armed conflicts and parties to these conflicts via multiple filters. ‘The map offers visitors a more intuitive approach: they can visualize where conflicts take place and where parties to these conflicts are’ underlines Sandra Krähenmann, Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy. ‘We clearly see, via the map, that while most armed conflicts are taking place in the Middle East and on the African continent, parties to these conflicts are from across the world’ she adds.

As a legal reference source for a broad audience, RULAC is regularly updated to integrate new armed conflicts and developments. Today, RULAC monitors more than 13 situations of armed conflicts: 2 military occupations, 2 situations of international armed conflicts and 9 situations of non-international armed conflicts. These conflicts are taking place in 9 countries: Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine and Yemen.

For each armed conflict, RULAC provides the factual and methodological basis for its classification, and identifies the parties and the applicable international law. The portal also includes sections on the definition and categories of armed conflict under IHL and the legal framework governing armed conflicts.

 Armed Conflict in Syria

An Independent and Impartial Assessment

While there are many different definitions of armed conflict used for different purposes, the question whether a situation of armed violence amounts to an armed conflict under IHL has important consequences. States involved in armed conflicts have rights and duties that do not exist in times of peace.

The classification of situations of armed violence is fraught with difficulties. Many states deny that they are involved in armed conflicts, arguing instead that they are engaged in counter-terrorism operations. Others apply IHL to situations that do not amount to an armed conflict. Moreover, contemporary armed conflicts are increasingly complex due to the multitude of state and non-state parties involved.

Based on open source information, RULAC provides an independent and impartial assessment that identifies situations of armed conflict under IHL. It is intended to assist other actors that may want to classify situations of armed violence for their purposes.

By making such information available to a broad, non-specialist audience, including by using visual tools, the RULAC project strives to promote a more coherent approach classifying conflicts, and, ultimately, to foster implementation of the applicable legal framework, a key element for accountability and the protection of victims.

Non International Armed Conflict in South Sudan


Coverpage of the 2016 Annual Report News

2016 Annual Report

12 June 2017

Our 2016 Annual Report is out! It provides an overview of our activities and achievements.

Read more

Map of the Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts online portal News

RULAC: Updates on the Armed Conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Syria, South Sudan, Turkey and Yemen

19 February 2018

Our Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC) online portal features updated entries on the armed conflicts taking place in Iraq, Libya, Syria, South Sudan, Turkey and Yemen. These integrate recent developments like the Turkish offensive in Afrin, Israel’s largest scale aerial attacks inside Syria, and the divisions and infightings in Yemen.

Read more

Gaza City, 2014. Palestinians check the remains of Al-Basha, a building that was destroyed by an Israeli air strike. Event

Public Pleadings by LLM Students on the Summer 2014 Gaza Conflict

1 June 2018, 09:00-16:00

In the framework of the LLM course on international humanitarian law (IHL), students will plead for Israel and Palestine arguing that the side they represent has respected IHL while the adverse side has violated IHL.

Read more

Syria, 2016, outhwestern Aleppo. The ICRC meets displaced families living in collective shelters. Geneva Academy Wednesdays

Extraterritorial Non-International Armed Conflicts: Classification and Applicable Law

4 April 2018, 18:30-20:00

This Geneva Academy Wednesday proposes to discuss these current issues on classification and applicable law under international humanitarian law.

Read more

East Timor, Dili, burnt houses Short Course

The Law of Non-International Armed Conflicts and Other Contested Issues

26 April - 24 May 2018

This course examines one of the main purpose of international humanitarian law (IHL), which is to mitigate human suffering caused by war. It enables a careful evaluation of the various IHL rules intended to help protect vulnerable persons, such as civilians and prisoners of war, as well as property during armed conflict.

Read more

A computer graphic simulation of a Future Protected Vehicle Project

Autonomous Weapon Systems under International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law

Completed in January 2015

This project examined the legal requirements that the use of autonomous weapon systems would need to comply with in a number of scenarios envisaged by proponents of increasing autonomy in weapon systems.

Read more

Putis, Peru. The clothes of missing child found in a mass grave close to the village at the exhibition organized for the relatives of victimes. The family will be able to identify their missing relatives. Project


Started in January 2014

This project, initiated in 2014 by the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law, Professor Noam Lubell, intends to identify, via expert meetings and research, a set of best practices that states should apply when they investigate or examine alleged violations or misconduct in situations of armed conflict.

Read more