Now in a comprehensively updated edition, this indispensable handbook analyzes how international humanitarian law has evolved in the face of immense new challenges to international peace and human security. Central concerns include the war on terror, new forms of armed conflict and humanitarian action, the emergence of international criminal justice, and the reshaping of fundamental rules and consensus in a multipolar world. The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law provides the precise meaning and content for over 200 terms such as terrorism, refugee, genocide, armed conflict, protection, peacekeeping, torture, and private military companies—words that the media has introduced into everyday conversation, yet whose legal and political meanings are often obscure. The Guide definitively explains the terms, concepts, and rules of humanitarian law in accessible and reader-friendly alphabetical entries. Written from the perspective of victims and those who provide assistance to them, the Guide outlines the dangers, spells out the law, and points the way toward dealing with violations of the law.
Entries are complemented by analysis of the decisions of relevant courts; detailed bibliographic references; addresses, phone numbers, and Internet links to the organizations presented; a thematic index; and an up-to-date list of the status of ratification of more than thirty international conventions and treaties concerning humanitarian law, human rights, refugee law, and international criminal law. This unprecedented work is an invaluable reference for policy makers and opinion leaders, students, relief workers, and members of humanitarian organizations.
Published in cooperation with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières.
Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier is the legal director of Médecins Sans Frontières.