Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC)

Started in May 2007

A Unique Online Portal

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.

RULAC provides information about:

  • The definition and categories of armed conflict under IHL
  • The legal framework governing armed conflicts
  • Whether a situation of armed violence is an armed conflict pursuant to IHL criteria
  • Parties to these armed conflicts
  • Applicable IHL

Scope

RULAC is currently monitoring more than 39 armed conflicts involving at least 53 states.

An Independent and Impartial Assessment

While there are many different definitions of armed conflict used for different purposes, the question of whether or not a situation of armed violence amounts to an armed conflict under IHL can have far-reaching consequences in the international legal system. For instance, states and international organizations involved in armed conflicts will have rights and duties that do not exist outside that context. Similarly, war crimes can only be committed in connection with an armed conflict, the law of neutrality may be triggered and arms control treaty regimes may be affected.

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.

RULAC provides an independent and impartial assessment based on open source information of whether or not a concrete situation of armed violence amounts to an armed conflict. It thus 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.

RESEARCHERS

Chiara Redaelli

Research Fellow

Chiara Redaelli's areas of expertise include international humanitarian law, jus ad bellum, and international human rights law.

NEWS AND EVENTS

Armed Islamist fighters race near the Mauritania-Mali border News

Burkina Faso is the Theater of Several Non-International Armed Conflicts against Jihadist Groups

October 2020

Our RULAC online portal provides a detailed analysis of these conflicts, including information about parties, classification and applicable international law.

Read more >

Kutum, North Darfur: Members of the Sudanese army patrol Kutum market News

Does the Recent Peace Agreement Put an End to the Non-International Armed Conflicts in Sudan?

September 2020

Our RULAC online portal provides a detailed analysis and legal classification of the various non-international armed conflicts that are taking place in Sudan. In this interview, our Research Fellow Dr Chiara Redaelli explains why the recent peace agreement does not put an end to them.

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Map of the RULAC online portal showing Ukraine News

Armed Conflicts in Ukraine: Updates on our RULAC Online Portal

July 2020

Our Rule of Law in Armed Conflict (RULAC) online portal monitors the three armed conflicts that are currently taking place in Ukraine. Each conflict has been updated to include recent developments, which do not affect our current classification.

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Destroyed building in Gaza, 2014 News

LLM Students Successfully Plead Online on the Gaza 2014 Conflict

April 2020

In the framework of the IHL course of our LLM in IHL and Human Rights, students pleaded online during the entire day of 25 April for Israel and for Palestine arguing that the side they represent has respected IHL while the adverse side has violated IHL.

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News

Our Director, Professors and Alumni Involved in an Online Regional Summer School on International Humanitarian Law

July 2020

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Delegation in Armenia and the American University of Armenia are organizing for the third year a Regional Summer School on international humanitarian law (IHL). Scheduled to take place in Yerevan from 7-11 July 2020, it will take place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Mali,  Gao region, Ansongo cercle, Fafa. ICRC dissemination session about international humanitarian law for the army of Mali. Event

Thinking out of the (Tool)Box: Promoting Implementation of and Respect for International Humanitarian Law

November 2020, 18:00-19:30

This online IHL Talk aims at shining light on the various ways of promoting respect for and implementation of international humanitarian law.

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Computer code Event

Launch Event: Joint Initiative on the Digitalization of Conflict

October 2020, 10:00-12:00

This panel discussion marks the Launch of our New Research Initiative, carried out jointly by our Swiss IHL Chair Robin Geiß and the ICRC.

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Yemen,  Sana'a, Faj Attan district. Destruction. Short Course

From Use of Force to Responsibility to Protect

16 April - May 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, provides an overview of the evolution of the rules governing the use of force in international law, focusing on military intervention on humanitarian grounds and the creation of the United Nations collective security system. It then addresses the concept of the responsibility to protect.

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A wide view of the UN Security Council Short Course

Sanctions in Public International Law

19 February - March 2021

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, provides an introduction to the regime of sanctions under international law and their effectiveness in addressing contemporary forms of conflict. It addresses the questions related to state responsibility, the pacific settlement of international disputes and the role of the International Court of Justice.

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Screenshot of the RULAC webpage Project

Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC)

Started in May 2007

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.

Read more

Cover page of the Annual Report 2019 Publication

Annual Report 2019

published on May 2020

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Cover of the publication Publication

From Words to Deeds: A Study of Armed Non-State Actors’ Practice and Interpretations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Norms

published on December 2019

Annyssa Bellal, Pascal Bongard, Ezequiel Heffes

Read more