Human Rights Law and Armed Conflict

Chatham House research on human rights law and armed conflict includes international law and the classification of armed conflicts, and tackling war crimes.

Although the relationship between international human rights law and the law of armed conflict has been the subject of significant recent academic discussion, there remains a lack of comprehensive guidance in identifying the law applicable to specific situations faced by military forces.

Key areas of focus for our analysts include the need for greater transparency in modern armed conflicts which are increasingly undertaken in coalition, with states lending airbases, cooperating on drone operations and giving each other intelligence information, especially in counterterrorism operations.

Our analysts also tackle options for strengthening compliance with humanitarian law, as often it is not the absence of law that causes civilian casualties, destruction and displacement during armed conflict, but flagrant breaches of the most fundamental rules of international humanitarian law. 

A major programmatic focus of this work for Chatham House is carried out by the International Law Programme and its projects.

Explore Human Rights Law and Armed Conflict

Latest (61)
Research Event

Strategic Litigation for Social Justice: Lessons Learned

International Affairs

Taking ‘justness’ seriously in just war: who are the ‘miserable comforters’ now?

Research Event

Aiding and Assisting: Challenges in Armed Conflict and Counterterrorism

Research Event

China and the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes

People walk down a destroyed street in the city of Deir Ezzor in northeastern Syria, on 27 June 2013. Photo: Ahmad Aboud/AFP/Getty Images.
Research paper

Aiding and Assisting: Challenges in Armed Conflict and Counterterrorism

A Yemeni inspects the rubble of a destroyed funeral hall building. Photo by Getty Images.
Expert comment

States Must Make Sure Cooperation Does Not Become Complicity

Practitioners’ Guide to Human Rights Law in Armed Conflict
Book

Practitioners’ Guide to Human Rights Law in Armed Conflict

Members of the Iraqi police forces stand next to their vehicle in front of damaged buildings in Fallujah on 28 June 2016. Photo: HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI/AFP/Getty Images.
Chatham House Briefing

Promoting Compliance with International Humanitarian Law

Research Event

Legal Challenges to Engaging NSAGs for Humanitarian Action

A displaced Iraqi woman, who fled her home due to attacks by ISIS, sits holding prayer beads at the Harsham refugee camp in the autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq on 22 October 2014. Photo by Getty Images.
Research paper

Humanitarian Engagement with Non-state Armed Groups

A rebel fighter searches Syrian Arab Red Crescent members before they are sent to deliver food aid to Aleppo Central Prison, 11 May 2014. Photo: Ammar Abdullah/Reuters/Corbis.
Chatham House Briefing

Towards a Principled Approach to Engagement with Non-state Armed Groups for Humanitarian Purposes

A French gendarme van in front of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris on 19 November 2015. Photo by Getty Images.
Expert comment

Paris Attacks: France and the World Should Answer Terror with Liberty

Research Event

Humanitarian Engagement with Non-State Armed Groups

Members

From the Balkan Wars to ISIS: The Challenge of Safeguarding Manuscripts in Conflict Zones

International Affairs

Just war theory and private security companies

Research Event

Refuge from Inhumanity? War Refugees at the Intersection of IHL and Refugee Law

Sexual Violence in Conflict: What Use is the Law?
Research Event

Sexual Violence in Conflict: What Use is the Law?

Research Event

The Applicability and Application of International Humanitarian Law to Multinational Forces

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International Affairs

Territoriality, self-determination and Crimea after Badinter

Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan addresses the assembly on the opening day of the 22nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on 25 February 2013, Geneva, Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images.
Research paper

The Legal Classification of the Armed Conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya

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Research & Publications (32)

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