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A History of Violence

The Development of International Humanitarian Law Reflected in the International Review of the Red Cross

In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies
Authors:
Cédric Cotter Researcher, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland, cedcotter@icrc.org

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Ellen PolicinskiEditor-in-Chief, International Review of the Red Cross, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland, epolicinski@icrc.org

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The International Review of the Red Cross, an academic journal produced by the International Committee of the Red Cross (icrc) and published by Cambridge University Press, traces its origins back more than 150 years. Throughout its existence, the publication has featured international humanitarian law (ihl) prominently. Because of this, it is possible to trace how the icrc was communicating publicly about ihl since 1869, allowing researchers to draw conclusions about how that body of law has evolved. In this article, the authors divide the history of the Review into five time periods, looking at trends over time as ihl was established as a body of law, was expanded to address trends in the ways war was waged, was disseminated and promoted to the international community, and how it is interpreted in light of current conflicts. Based on the way the law has been represented in the Review, the authors draw conclusions about the evolution of the law itself over time, and lessons this may provide for those who seek to influence the future development of the law regulating armed conflict.

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