The norms of international humanitarian law (IHL) on the conduct of hostilities regulate how parties to a conflict may use force, in particular when targeting persons and objects, and limit the weapons and methods to be used in warfare. Changes to how both States and non-State armed groups operate in armed conflicts – such as combat increasingly taking place in densely populated urban settings and the use of drones – raise new questions about how the law on the conduct of hostilities is respected and operationalized to enhance the protection of civilians (PoC).
This workshop provides an analysis of IHL norms governing targeting and the means and methods of warfare. It also examines specific contemporary issues such as the legal protection of medical facilities and personnel, the use of highly explosive weapons in urban areas, measures taken to minimize civilian casualties in targeting systems and procedures, and the documentation of alleged violations of the law on the conduct of hostilities. It further explores various examples of engagement with military actors in relation to measures aimed at protecting civilians such as deconfliction mechanisms and their relevance under IHL norms.
The workshop is also meant to offer an in-depth understanding of the legal and practical issues related to the conduct of hostilities in order to enhance humanitarian practitioners’ and legal professionals’ capacity to respond to concerns for the protection of civilians during armed conflict.