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 still under development and new entries continue to be regularly added.

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. Most importantly, states and international organizations involved in armed conflicts will have rights and duties that do not exist outside that context. In addition, 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.

Partners

RULAC is supported by students from the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex. In accordance with the RULAC methodology, a team of postgraduate students actively review contemporary situations of violence in order to determine whether they constitute an international armed conflict, a non-international armed conflict, a situation of occupation, or whether these situations fall short of the required legal threshold. The students are part of the LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. More information on the University of Essex Human Rights Centre is available on the website.

RESEARCHER

Picture of Sandra Krähenmann

Sandra Krähenmann

Research Fellow

Sandra Krähenmann's research focuses on the theory and practice of international law that applies in armed conflict and other situations of violence.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Guatemala, Quiche Department, Nebaj. A family member looks at a loved one's coffin. News

Séminaire: Projet de Traité sur les Crimes contre l'Humanité

May 2017

Pour la seconde année consécutive, Amnesty International et l’Académie ont accueilli le 6 mai 2017 à la Villa Moynier un séminaire consacré au projet de traité sur les crimes contre l’humanité, actuellement sur le métier de la Commission du droit international.

Read more

Map of the Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Online Portal with military occupations News

Nine Military Occupations Added to our RULAC Online Database

September 2017

We added nine military occupations to our Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC) online database. Visitors can discover them either by browsing the map or by browsing conflicts per types or regions.

Read more

Codes on a computer Event

Current Challenges in Cyber Operations

October 2017, 18:15-20:00

This panel will address current challenges related to cyber operations. Panelists will discuss some of the conclusions and implications of Tallinn 2, take stock of where we stand and what challenges remain.

Read more

Coverpage of the book ‘Out of the Shadows’ Geneva Academy Wednesday

Out of the Shadows: Recommendations to Advance Transparency in the Use of Lethal Force

September 2017, 18:00-19:30

This Geneva Academy Wednesday will evaluate 15 years of U.S. counterterrorism strikes, analyse recent developments, and assess the Trump Administration’s approach to the use of force, transparency, and accountability.

Read more

Afghanistan, Parwan detention facility Short Course

Preventing and Combating Terrorism

16 February - March 2018

This course discusses the extent to which states may  limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.

Read more

Syria, Old city of Aleppo. Destructed houses situated next to the frontline stand side by side alongside intact houses full of occupants just a few meters away from the frontline Short Course

The Classification of Armed Conflicts

11 January - February 2018

This course aims to study, in depth, an emblematic example of the complexity of international humanitarian law and the challenges it raises: the classification of armed conflicts.

Read more

UN Peacekeepers on Patrol in Abyei, Sudan. Zambian peacekeepers from the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) patrol streets lined with looted items awaiting collection in Abyei, the main town of the disputed Abyei area on the border of Sudan and newly Project

The Intersection between Transitional Justice, International Security and Responsibility to Protect

Started in February 2017

This project aims at mapping various existing accountability mechanisms, in the context of military interventions, through the lens of the requirements of a transitional justice process in order to identify possibilities and gaps.

Read more

Libya, Misrata, Tripoli Street. Combattants carefully move into a building. Project

Armed Non-State Actors and the Protection of Civilians

Completed in March 2010

This research project looked at the reactions to norms of more than 30 armed groups worldwide.

Read more