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
Cédric Cotter Researcher, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland,

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Ellen Policinski Editor-in-Chief, International Review of the Red Cross, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland,

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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.

1 Introduction

One of the characteristics of the Red Cross is being at the same time ‘thought’ and ‘action’, and the Review must remain the reflection of this constant practical dualism.

Jean Pictet 1

2019 marked not only the 100th anniversary of the League of Red Cross Societies, later the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, but also the 150th anniversary of the International Review of the Red Cross, a journal that has deeply shaped the debate on humanitarian action and, perhaps even more so, international humanitarian law (ihl) 2 over the years.

The first edition of the journal was published in October of 1869. 3 In its first issues the journal acted as a means to report on the activities of National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (icrc). 4 Law was therefore not central to the early editions of the Review, rather:

The Central Committees may also use the Bulletin to communicate their ideas to each other, ask each other questions, and search for solutions to problems that preoccupy them. Each Committee will take responsibility for the communications it publishes. The contents may be divided in as many distinct articles as needed. 5

However, it is worth noting that the legal articles and law book and paper reviews that were featured in early editions of the journal tied in with the growing importance international law journals, a nascent trend in the late 1800s. 6

Following the pioneering work carried out by Geoffrey Best during the 1980s, 7 both historians and legal scholars have been more and more interested in the history of the development and application of ihl. Some of their contributions have even been published in the Review. In recent years, research has been carried out on the inception of ihl and its expansion during the 19th century 8 or during the First World War and its aftermath. 9 Thanks to the research conducted by historians such as Boyd Van Dijk or Giovanni Mantilla, the history of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the history of their application during decolonization wars is a flourishing and promising field in the history of law. Preliminary research on the 1977 Additional Protocols are also currently being carried out. 10 Furthermore, prominent lawyers have published syntheses on the history of ihl 11 while the Review itself dedicated a special anniversary edition gathering political, legal and cultural perspectives on its history. 12 Most of these publications use the Review as a primary or secondary source. But they have almost not analyzed the actual role of the Review in the making, diffusion and debates of/on ihl.

Looking at various points in history, it is clear that the Review has acted as a mirror, reflecting back the ihl debates of the day. Through the rich body of literature that forms the 150-year history of the Review, this article traces tends in the development of ihl, core to the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. This article is based on extensive research into the available icrc’s archives, 13 the contents of the Review since 1869, 14 as well as into the literature surrounding the history of the icrc and ihl. Since the icrc produces the Review and continues to be its most consistent contributor, it is easy to see trace some of its institutional positions in the journal, but it is also revelatory of trends in the international community regarding the formation, development and interpretation of ihl. Although the wealth of material available makes it impossible to be exhaustive, in this article we will take an in-depth look at the way ihl is spoken about in the journal to answer several revealing questions: Who was (and is) deemed to have the authority to speak about ihl in the Review? To whom? How has ihl been conceptualized over time? And how has the way ihl is spoken about evolved? Answering these questions helps reveal the various stages of the evolution of ihl as a body of law. We conclude by making some observations on the way that ihl has evolved over time, through the lens of the Review. By looking to the past as reflected in the Review, we can gain insights into how the law has evolved and glean lessons for those who seek to influence how wars are regulated in the present.

2 1869–1919: The First Years

In the beginning, there was the icrc and a few of its big personalities dominated the Review. The vast majority of contributors came from the National Societies that were forming as part of the nascent International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement or icrc authors. The icrc and the National Societies used the journal to spread news about humanitarian and legal initiatives, and National Societies appear to have been the main audience, although the target audience was much broader. 15 The initial volumes focused on medical issues but the law governing armed conflict was present as a topic of concern, with a particular focus on strengthening the 1864 Geneva Convention. As will be demonstrated below, this reflects the need to establish the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and transmit knowledge between and among the National Societies, as well as the icrc’s desire to set the tone and act as a coordinating body. The Movement was primarily focused on the humanitarian issue of the wounded and sick on the battlefield but beginning to explore other humanitarian issues. At the same time the icrc was defining and building the credibility of the branch of law that would become international humanitarian law.

The first years of the Review were deeply influenced by the organization’s second president, Gustave Moynier. Moynier was the main editor of the Bulletin for the first two years, and later remained a frequent contributor. The journal very much reflected his own personality, unfortunately including his racist and colonialist views. 16 Paul Des Gouttes, who held various positions as the icrc (editor in chief of the Review, secretary-general, member of the committee and vice-president), also played a big role in the Review’s editorial choices. Therefore, with some exceptions, the content of the journal was mainly fed by the icrc and by contributions from National Societies.

Even though the law was not the primary concern of the Review at that time – the majority of articles addressed medical issues it quickly became a recurrent theme. If until 1900 only 18 articles were labelled ‘Convention de Genève’, the issue of the law during armed conflict was in fact much more present. The journal also addressed the ongoing evolution of law. 17 It also – often unsuccessfully – proposed new legal developments. For example, in 1872, Moynier proposed the establishment of an international criminal court. 18 This proposal was revisited several times in the journal, with the Spanish National Society responding in support and a second article from Moynier fleshing out the idea. 19 Moreover, the Review did not limit itself to addressing contemporary legal issues. It also often reflected on the evolution of warfare, for instance on civil wars 20 or on new weapons and their implications for humanitarian action, especially the fate of wounded and for future developments in the law. 21

The necessity to strengthen the protections afforded by the original Geneva Convention quickly became apparent and was sustained by two related trends apparent in the journal’s contents: items showing that the laws of war have deep historical roots 22 and that they contain universal values. 23 We will see these trends appear again and again in the next sections of the present article. The aim of historically anchoring the norms encapsulated in the Geneva Convention was also supported by a limited, but real, mobilization of external experts endorsing the icrc’s views, 24 sometimes in transcripts of conferences given by scholars from various countries appeared in the journal. 25 The use of book and article reviews served the same purpose. Bibliographies by country were, of course, a way to inform about the development of legal analysis, but reviews published in the journal were also a way to legitimate legal positions by diffusing, and sometimes judging or praising, studies that were often in accordance with Moynier’s (and therefore the icrc’s) views. This continued later, as illustrated by a timely review of books dedicated to The Hague Conventions on prisoners of war in the middle of the First World War. 26 First attempts to operationalize the law via law of war manuals were also mentioned in the journal. 27

The Review also reflected the actual implementation, respect and violations of ihl in the field. Articles looked at the Geneva Convention in various conflicts such as the Franco-German war and, sometimes, even included written attacks from one belligerent to another, accusing the opposing party of ihl violations. 28 This trend grew during the First World War. 29 Many accusations of violations were passed through the icrc or/and were published in the Review, for instance in a section called ‘protestations’ (‘complaints’) and reproductions of correspondence received by the icrc. 30 Other articles coming from belligerents’ National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies fed a general atmosphere of mutual accusations. 31 They were addressing special issues such as the conduct of hostilities, 32 the fate of civilians, 33 the protection of the wounded and the provision of healthcare, 34 the protection of hospitals or hospital-ships, 35 and the respect of the emblem. 36

The icrc itself used the Review as a way to spread news humanitarian initiatives – for instance for the protection of prisoners of war, 37 civilian internees, 38 or cease-fire agreements to let medical teams take dead and wounded from the battlefield – some of which would eventually be transformed into new treaties. However, it also promoted respect for the law and shared its own analysis on how legal provisions should be applied. Three examples are particularly important. 39 First, according to Article 12 of the 1906 Geneva Convention, repatriation of medical personnel in the hands of the enemy should be done as soon as possible. This provision generated huge debates around its application. 40 The same happened with the protection of hospital-ships at a time of unrestricted submarine warfare. 41 Third, the icrc issued an appeal against the use of combat gas in 1918. 42 The icrc was deeply involved in all these debates and published its own legal readings in the Review, sometimes directly confronting with belligerents’ analysis.

3 1919–1939: A New Name and a New Scope

In the inter-war period, the journal evolved. Its name changed and, although the majority of the authors continued to be icrc staff and representatives of National Societies, the journal began to open up to external authors. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the humanitarian needs seen during the Great War, the focus of the contents began to broaden to include prisoners of war, protection of children and the wider civilian population and new weapons, especially chemical weapons. At the same time, establishing the credibility of international humanitarian law continued to be a concern. The icrc began to publish more official documentation, such as minutes from expert meetings and reports, and so on, establishing its expertise and its role as a convener of discussion on such topics. This also can be read a sign of a shift in target audience to include the experts involved in those discussions. As we will show in this section, the journal reveals this as a time where the icrc sought to develop the law and increase protections available for those hors de combat, although many of these efforts would not bear fruit until after the next World War.

In 1919, the journal became a monthly publication and a first section, the Revue Internationale de la Croix-Rouge (International Review of the Red Cross), was added ahead of the Bulletin, as it became apparent that the icrc required its own section to report on growing operations in the wake of a surge in its activities during First World War. 43 The Review and the Bulletin were published and distributed simultaneously until February 1955. This lead to a huge evolution in the journal in terms of authorship, although icrc representatives continued to provide a large amount of articles in this new format of the Review. Among the authors, Renée Marguerite Frick-Cramer, 44 Alfred Gautier, Lucien Cramer, Horace Micheli, Etienne Clouzot or K. de Watteville wrote contributions linked to their experience and expertise at the icrc. Paul Des Gouttes even signed more than 25 articles addressing a full range of issues. At the same time, more and more external authors started to appear in the Review. They were mainly experts from different academic fields – especially law and medicine – or with a military background, or sometimes both. Their inclusion would influence on the editorial line of the journal, which no longer exclusively represented the views of the icrc and the National Societies that at that time made up the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

This evolution was concomitant with the development of new themes in the Review. Internment of prisoners of war was an important theme. 45 During the years following the First World War, millions of prisoners of war were still waiting for repatriation, and the icrc and other stakeholders were heavily influenced by this phenomenon. Again, in this the content of the journal reflected the preoccupations of the time. Some articles were very factual, describing the conditions of internment in certain camps or analyzing those conditions from a general perspective. 46 Others focused on the challenges of repatriation. 47 Many can be seen as a synthesis of the war and postwar experiences. Some of these contributions were signed by icrc officials, reflecting the organization’s experience and a kind of lessons learned. 48 Contributions not only analyzed humanitarian problems and relief activities; some were preparing the ground for future legal innovations. In 1925, Frick-Cramer presented a plan for a new convention protecting prisoners of war. 49 As reflected in the Review, the experience of wwi clearly had an influence on those negotiating and drafting the 1929 Geneva Convention. 50 This Convention was eventually signed 4 years later, in 1929. 51 Articles on prisoners of war from this period illustrate an interesting feature of the Review. They mix humanitarian action, reflection and the law. In the years that followed, a few contributions were still addressing the concrete consequences of internment in parallel with others that were interpreting the 1929 Convention. This ultimately led to examination of Articles 29 and 30 of this Convention and proposals to make the treaty evolve. 52

Around the same time, more and more articles were dedicated to the question of children affected by crises. 53 They reflect the role of the icrc in the creation of the Save the Children Fund: Central Union as well as the development of rights for children under international law more generally. 54 However, these articles did not directly address the laws of war.

In line with icrc goals, 55 the Review also started to advocate for the protection of civilian populations under international law in a series of articles published between 1929 and 1944. 56 They also proposed practical measures civilians could implement to protect themselves from attack. 57 These practical measures were perhaps proposed at that time because the Geneva Conventions did not yet protect civilian populations. At the fifteenth International Conference of the Red Cross in Tokyo, a Resolution was adopted proposing a Convention to protect civilians in enemy hands, an idea that can be traced back in the Review as far as 1923. 58 A diplomatic conference was planned for 1940 but was eventually cancelled because of the outbreak of the Second World War. Civilians would have to wait for legal protection against the effects of war.

As reflected in the Review, these developments could be seen as complementing those focused on the effects of new weapons 59 or tactics such as aerial bombing. This involved non-icrc experts who were working on the consequences of air warfare on civilians and medical infrastructure 60 based on the experience of the Spanish civil war, but with few mentions of what was happening in the colonies. Respect for the law during the Italo Ethiopian war was addressed several times in the Review, but with a biased view. 61 The push to better protect civilians culminated in 1939 with an (obviously unsuccessful) appeal of the president of the United-States to limit air bombing to military objectives. 62

However, the most eloquent example of how new means of warfare were featured in the journal is probably that of chemical warfare. The February 1918 public appeal against the use of chemical weapons was published in the Review in April 63 and was followed by replies from belligerents. 64 These were the first of a series of contributions advocating against this new way of waging war and that was generating an intense debate in various countries. 65 A technical report by H. Staudinger – the professor who warned the icrc against a hypothetical German chemical offensive beginning of 1918 – and several other articles prepared the ground for the 1925 Geneva Protocol. 66 The icrc continued to address the issue of chemical warfare in the Review with articles authored by Lucien Cramer in 1925, 1928 and 1930 and by external authors until the outbreak of the Second World War. 67 1929 marked a climax in this campaign. Even though the Geneva Protocol entered into force in 1928, few States had ratified it. As Rome was hosting the second international commission of experts for the protection of civilians against chemical weapons, the icrc decided to use this momentum and published many contributions related to these weapons. 68 This move, comprised of a bibliography, practical and technical as well as legal articles, was emblematic. By publishing selected speeches or presentations from the commission members, the icrc used the moral and academic expertise of an international panel of professors and practitioners to strengthen its own views and goals, revealing an important political role of the journal in amplifying voices in an ongoing discussion. 69 In that vein, the Review also benefited from regular contributions by Louis Demolis, professor of chemistry at the University of Geneva. 70 In 1926, he became technical adviser to the icrc and published articles related to chemical warfare and the protection of civilian populations, allegedly contributing to the icrc’s role as a ‘pioneer of passive defense in the world’. 71

Alongside the development of these new themes, the Review continued publishing more official documentation such as minutes from expert meetings, reports from commissions, analysis of the Geneva Convention(s) on the battlefield, official declarations and, although few, debates related to the laws of war. 72 As of 1934, the Review also started gathering publications related to the implementation of the Geneva Conventions, reflecting the ways States were integrating ihl or establishing National Societies within their domestic framework that formed the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. In 1939, while the icrc commemorated the 75th anniversary of the 1864 Geneva Convention in its journal 73 as the world was collapsing into a cataclysm that would deeply change the face of ihl and humanitarian action.

4 1939–1960: A New Era for International Humanitarian Law

The big headline from the period between 1939–1960 is of course the four 1949 Geneva Conventions, but there are other (perhaps less flashy) developments that should also be noted. Authorship in the Review continued to expand during this time, but although the journal was willing to host more external contributors its clear particular authors were selected because their views were sympathetic to icrc positions. The contents heavily featured the 1949 Geneva Conventions: their negotiation, the legal protections they should contain and eventually the texts of the treaties themselves. Almost immediately, icrc jurists began to publish articles explaining how these new treaties should be interpreted. The contents were still very focused on the icrc and the Movement but there were now clearly other target audiences, showing the icrc’s strategy to use the journal as a tool of influence. The icrc was clearly focused on developing the law, disseminating the 1949 Geneva Conventions and on promoting its interpretation of the law.

During the Second World War, the Review continued to publish on Red Cross activities, relief work, missions by delegates, and violations of the Geneva Conventions. However, there was almost no mention of the concentration camps and atrocities being committed by the Nazis, despite the frequent publication of reports of visits to other places of detention for both civilians and captured soldiers – including photographs. 74

At the end of the hostilities, ihl endeavored a major evolution. After the Movement’s International Conference and expert meetings in Stockholm, 75 the Swiss government convoked a diplomatic conference resulting in the signature of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. 76 The Review widely reflected the debates and discussions that were taking place at the time in Stockholm and Geneva. Circulars, meeting programs, lists of experts or representatives, minutes, speeches, reports, resolutions and the texts of the Conventions were all published in the Review. 77 The inception of the Conventions can partially be traced through these contributions, although not all the political intrigues of the more contentious debates appear explicitly in the journal, which were perhaps better left to behind-the-scenes negotiations. 78

These documents were followed few years later by the presentation of the commentaries to the 1949 Geneva Conventions elaborated under the leadership of Jean Pictet. This unique gathering of so many types of content is a valuable resource center and reference tool, useful for lawyers, legislators, diplomats, senior military officials, scholars, national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, humanitarians more broadly and, nowadays, historians. This also reflects the target audiences of the Review, then and now. According to an internal letter, the journal was targeting armed forces, diplomats, governments – especially foreign affairs and health ministries, international organizations – including the United Nations and specialized agencies, National Societies of the Red Cross or Red Crescent, some non-governmental organizations, Swiss media or journalists present in Switzerland, associations of former combatants and icrc collaborators. 79


In the years that followed the 1949 diplomatic conference, the icrc continued publishing contributions signed by its employees, especially lawyers such as Roger Gallopin, Claude Pilloud, Jean de Preux, Oscar M. Uhler, Frédéric Siordet or René-Jean Wilhelm. Henri Coursier, also part of the legal team, published on very diverse issues: the Lieber code, refugees, slavery, torture, the historical roots of ihl, etc. 80 icrc lawyers were mainly commenting on the new Conventions, providing analysis and the icrc’s point of view. Some of them were directly involved in the drafting of the conventions and others wrote the commentaries published during the 50’s, adding weight to their authority. Jean Pictet, probably the icrc’s most famous lawyer, published 45 articles before 1960 addressing many issues, from the interpretation of the law to the fundamental principles of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. This complemented the Pictet Commentaries in promoting the icrc’s interpretation of ihl and cementing the icrc’s role as the guardian of ihl. 81

Alongside this work linked to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the Review continued addressing the protection of civilians 82 and the latest developments on weapons, combining technical and legal expertise. Despite some reluctance from the icrc, the editor in chief at that time, Jean-Georges Lossier, pushed Pictet for contributions on nuclear weapons. For Lossier, even very theoretical articles on nuclear warfare would be better than a silence that could misinterpreted by readers. 83

At the same time, the Review’s pool of authors continued to expand. The icrc archives show that both the legal team and the Review’s editor in chief were willing to have more external contributions: ‘It is certain, however, that we could have collaborations with French speaking or foreign personalities from various backgrounds, renowned specialists in both international law and humanitarian thought’. 84 This prospect was first oriented towards Swiss citizens like law professors Paul Guggenheim or Jean Graven, who were asked to contribute with a list of themes related to the laws of war. 85 One could easily guess that by commissioning articles to Swiss scholars, the Review was expecting legal views close to the icrc’s own.

The willingness to prove that ihl and the Movement were carrying universal values also influenced the list of authors. Even though this trend was not new, it became an important theme during the 1950s. Articles labelled ‘humanitarisme’ explored law and charity with focus on issues or geographical areas such as the just war theory, Rousseau, France, India, Iran, Middle-East, the Far East or Islam. 86 To achieve this goal, the Review mobilized the icrc’s network and the diplomatic community in Switzerland. 87 This means that the editor in chief was able to check the compatibility of hypothetical authors’ views with those of the icrc before commissioning an article. In the invitations to contribute to the journal, the aim was clear: ‘great humanitarian concerns have never been indifferent to Islam, and Koran is affirmative enough on this to justify the action of the Red Cross and Red Crescent everywhere’ , 88 ‘if this is so, principles of the Geneva Conventions would be humanity’s heritage; the need for a closer understanding between the Red Cross and the Red Crescent for the defense of a common ideal would then emerge from this similarity of altruistic tendencies and sentiments’. 89

The Review as a place for dissemination and influence did not limit itself to emphasizing the universality of ihl. During the 1950s, some armed forces started to seriously consider military medical personnel as combatants. They would, under this view, lose the protections granted to personnel exclusively performing medical functions by the Geneva Conventions. Alarmed by this potential threat, the icrc decided to counter-attack by publishing a series of articles written by ‘eminent personalities’ from military medicine. 90 This was one way the icrc leveraged its network via the Review to ensure that ihl protections were not undermined by contrary State practice.

The journal also served as a networking tool. Some book and article reviews were published for networking reasons, for instance to keep contact through the iron curtain. 91 However, this does not mean that the journal became a place for a totally open debate at this point. Sources indicate grievances between the Review and the icrc’s legal team caused by sensitive publications. 92 Perhaps for this reason, diverging opinions were not fully represented. Archival documents confirm the status of the Review within the icrc at that time:

Our Review is a serious, high-level publication, the official mouthpiece of the icrc, which must be able to refer to the articles and news published in it when approaching this or that government, Red Cross or international organization. Therefore, we should not consider it an instrument of propaganda and should not allow our information service to publish less serious news or sensational stories presented in a format to attract the general public. 93

5 1960–2004: Continuity in a Changing World

The journal continued to open up as time went on. Although external authors now regularly appeared, there were still many icrc authors, not only established icrc lawyers and policy makers, but also increasingly more junior voices from within. The topics addressed during this period were mainly overwhelmingly legal ones, with more articles singing the praises of ihl than those addressing potential limitations. It continued to be important to emphasize the long-standing credibility of the law, even in the face of questions as to the relationship between ihl and human rights law. Similar to contents surrounding the drafting and adoption of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the journal’s contents in the lead-up to the drafting of the 1977 Additional Protocols demonstrated that the journal was being used as a forum for reflection as well as a tool of influence and persuasion on sensitive issues. The readership still included the Movement, but during this time the target audience appears to have shifted to an external one, as the icrc promoted its vision of how the law should develop and be interpreted.

In April 1961, the International Review of the Red Cross was born as a separate, fully-fledged English language publication having been, until that point, a selection of articles translated from French. 94 From July of that year the journal was published in French and English versions. The evolution was not a revolution, and the content of the journal did not suddenly change. The list of authors shows that ihl representatives continued to play a very important role in the diffusion and analysis of ihl. The Review published 30 more articles by Jean Pictet and several contributions from Jean de Preux or Frédéric Siordet. 95 It also introduced legal contributions from future stars of the institution: François Bugnion, Marion Harroff-Tavel, Jacques Moreillon, María Teresa Dutli, Yves Sandoz, Marco Sassòli, Michel Veuthey, Jelena Pejic, etc. 96 This can be interpreted as demonstrating that up-and-comers used the journal to test new ideas, and that this later paid off. At the same time he proportion of authors not affiliated with the icrc writing on the law also continued to increase. They addressed varied legal issues such as chemical weapons, 97 legal advisers in armed forces, 98 the 1969 Vienna Convention and ihl, 99 the European Convention on Human Rights, 100 law and reprisals, 101 the protection of wounded or sanitary transport, 102 etc.

As François Bugnion points out, the adoption of the 1977 Protocols additional to the Geneva Conventions, based on drafts prepared by the icrc, was a significant milestone in the development of the law after nearly ten years of negotiations. 103 During the negotiations of these two important texts ‘the Review not only provided detailed accounts of the preparatory meetings and the sessions of the Diplomatic Conferences … but also endeavored to make a contribution by publishing pertinent studies, especially on new or sensitive issues’. 104 Between 1975 and 1987, 73 articles were dedicated to Additional Protocol 1, 32 to Additional Protocol 2, and 213 more contributions were generally dedicated to both of them. They were announcements of formal processes – States parties, adhesion of new States – or focusing on specific issues addressed by these treaties: weapons, children, the sick and wounded, etc. The Review also took part in the campaign to persuade States to adopt and ratify the Additional Protocols. 105 In other words, the work carried out by the Review was the same as during the inception, drafting and implementation of the 1949 Conventions.

The icrc actively decided to engage in a campaign to raise awareness of the Movement and its Fundamental Principles, for which ‘the role of the Review was to be the primary messenger for what had become a humanitarian call to arms.’ 106 Simultaneously the Review continued to be used as a tool of influence and persuasion in the icrc’s promotion of international humanitarian law, by clarifying how the law should be interpreted 107 and providing guidance for those who would conduct their own ihl trainings. 108 Weapons continued to be largely addressed in the journal: classical, biological, chemical, incendiary, and nuclear weapons, as well as weapons causing unnecessary suffering, indiscriminate weapons or new means of warfare. 109 The protection of cultural heritage also raised more attention. 110 Among the new themes present in the journal, worth mentioning are guerilla tactics and ihl, 111 the environment, 112 human rights, 113 and peace. 114 Engagement in the Review on these topics is particularly interesting in light of the icrc’s increasing comfortability with ‘advocacy’, which was up to then almost a dirty word within the organization. This newfound willingness to publicly advocate for more protective legal norms was mainly, but not exclusively, in the area of weapons law. 115


The icrc was increasingly incorporating human rights law other bodies of law into its work, and this was also seen in the Review. 116 The reflection on whether and how human rights law in particular might apply in armed conflict may have been at least partially externally driven by the discourse of the international community, 117 but overall debates on and critiques of ihl remained limited and driven by the icrc’s own legal views and aims. Articles highlighting the limits of the law 118 were fewer than the ones praising the efficiency of the Geneva Conventions. 119 This is not to say that the icrc was pushing a rosy view of ihl. Indeed, in a speech given on the occasion of his 70th birthday, the revered Jean Pictet cautioned, ‘nothing is more dangerous than “unbridled humanitarianism” acting from the best intentions but remote from reality, the very picture of “wishful thinking”’. 120

Articles marking significant anniversaries of legal developments and historical perspectives contributed to this trend and continued the long tradition of contributions legitimizing ihl through highlighting its universalism and historical roots. 121 Other articles pursued ihl dissemination with a broader geographic scope. 122

6 2004–2019: A Platform for Discussion and Debate

As former editor in chief Hans-Peter Gasser has noted, ‘the Review cannot stay locked away in an ivory tower – it must address the realities of the day.’ 123 Currently, external authorship is the norm in the Review, although there is always at least one article in each edition with icrc staff authorship, usually several and the journal continues to feature icrc reports. The topics addressed still skew largely legal, but multidisciplinary articles have begun to reappear. Overall, the journal’s aim has shifted to one of engagement with diverging legal views, although the icrc still presents its analysis and interpretations of the law. The target audiences, as stated in the Review’s guidelines for authors ‘include governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, humanitarian practitioners, academics, the media and all those interested in humanitarian issues.’ 124 This reflects a broader shift in the ihl world, where expertise has become more diffuse and debates focus not on whether the law exists but rather which branch of international law applies and how. 125

In 2004, the Review changed its set up and became an academic publication. Was it a turning point of its long history? This question is open for future historians. We can, however, already point to some indicators of where the journal is headed.

Today, the Review is no longer an ‘instrument of propaganda’ or the ‘mouthpiece of the icrc’, but rather a peer-reviewed, academic journal. Although it is still produced by the icrc, it is published by Cambridge University Press and has an Editorial Board made up of experts from outside the icrc. 126 This is aimed at providing a degree of academic independence, the thinking being that knowledge of ihl has grown to a sufficient level that sophisticated discussions and debates are now the best method of engaging with the specialized audiences the journal continues to target. The transition from mouthpiece of the icrc to academic independence did not, however, happen overnight. It took time as the journal entered into its partnership with Cambridge University Press, engaged its external editorial board and solidified peer review and other editorial processes in line with the practices of other academic journals. 127 These measures were undertaken to ensure the independent, academic nature of the journal, as well as to assist an editorial team with a primarily legal background in addressing topics from a multidisciplinary standpoint, as the editorial board brought a broad range of backgrounds and expertise to the journal. 128 It has also entailed a shift in how the icrc sees the Review as a platform for discussion and debate.

To quote the aim and scope detailed in the inside cover of each edition,

Established in 1869, the International Review of the Red Cross is a periodical published by the icrc and Cambridge University Press. Its aim is to promote reflection on humanitarian law, policy and action in armed conflict and other situations of collective armed violence. A specialized journal in humanitarian law, it endeavours to promote knowledge, critical analysis and development of the law, and contribute to the prevention of violations of rules protecting fundamental rights and values. The Review offers a forum for discussion on contemporary humanitarian action as well as analysis of the causes and characteristics of conflicts so as to give a clearer insight into the humanitarian problems they generate. Finally, the Review, informs its readership on questions pertaining to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and in particular on the activities and policies of the icrc.

The journal has continued to examine contemporary challenges to ihl and over time has increasingly injected opposing viewpoints. One example can be found in the response to critiques of the icrc Customary International Humanitarian Law Study. 129 In this case the Review had published a response 130 but again did not feature the critiques directly. A more recent example is the interpretation of ‘direct participation in hostilities’ that would cause civilians to lose their immunity from attack under Article 51(3) of Additional Protocol I and Article 13(2) of Additional Protocol ii to the Geneva Conventions. The journal featured an entire edition dedicated to ‘Direct participation in hostilities’ in 2008, part of the icrc’s exploration of this topic. 131 When the icrc subsequently published its Interpretive Guidance on Direct Participation in Hostilities under International Humanitarian Law, 132 it was met with criticism. Interestingly, another journal, rather than the Review, featured an edition devoted to critiques of the Interpretive Guidance and the response by icrc legal adviser Nils Melzer. 133 These examples can be taken as evidence that the journal was perhaps not yet ready to feature articles directly challenging the icrc’s position, but also that the icrc as an institution was actively and publicly engaging in academic debate surrounding its interpretation of ihl. It also demonstrates that ihl academia had grown and spread, with scholars outside the icrc presenting sophisticated arguments for and against various interpretations of the law, where previously debates were more likely to be centered around whether legal norms did or should exist. Acceptance of the law had grown, now it was its interpretation that was at stake.

There have since been debates commissioned by the Review, to present both (or several) sides of an issue within the journal on topics where there is not yet a consensus among the international community, nor in some instances within the icrc. 134 Unlike previous ‘debates’, these genuinely featured opposing viewpoints, demonstrating an appetite for more open discussion. Articles have been published either directly challenging 135 or proposing alternatives to icrc positions. 136 This can be read as a further opening up to opposing viewpoints, although it’s too soon to definitively say whether this will be the dominant trend of the current period of the Review’s long history.

This growing willingness of the international community more broadly to engage in debate is demonstrated in the growth of journals dedicated to ihl and humanitarian action. 137 This is not to mention the number of books published annually on the subject. Now a multiplicity of academic publications are dedicated to promoting and interpreting this body of law, and the appetite for ihl-related discussions appears to be greater than ever before. This body of scholarship has become important to the formation, interpretation and application of ihl, and may even be part of how international law is made going forward. 138

Despite frequent claims that the law is not respected, one can extrapolate form the interest in publishing on the topic that many continue to believe that it is in fact effective, at least in part. In fact, there appears to be widespread belief in the power of law to govern warfare.

7 Conclusion

This article, even although far from exhaustive, is sufficient to highlight few trends in the first 150 years of history of the Review.

First, if the amount of ihl-related content has grown over the years, the journal has always been addressing legal issues. The dualism of the Movement’s mandate, pensée (thought) and action (action), has always been reflected in the journal, since 1869. This demonstrates that the law was central to the development of the Movement and of humanitarian action more broadly as we know them today.

Second, the evolution of themes in the Review illustrates the evolution of debates on warfare and how to best regulate it. The apparition of articles on children as of 1919, on chemical warfare during the 1920s, on civil wars and civilians during the 1940s, on nuclear weapons during the 1950s, on decolonization wars during the 1960s and 1970s reflect the main humanitarian concerns arising over the past 150 years. The perpetual debate on weapons, their use, effect and legal consequences is another indication that the journal reflected the concerns of those who sought to regulate warfare. This also means that many issues currently addressed in the Review are in fact not new at all. When looking at the issues published during the past 10 years, one would notice that themes like the ‘Evolution of warfare’, ‘Generating respect for the law’, ‘New technologies and war’, ‘The human cost of nuclear weapons’, ‘Detention: Addressing the human cost’ or ‘Principles guiding humanitarian action’ are deeply rooted in the Review’s history.

Third, the icrc has used the Review as an important tool for the development and the dissemination of the law, as a way for the institution to share its views and influence both legal analysis and respect for the law. For several decades, the Review has been instrumental in raising awareness of and informing sophisticated audiences about ihl. Beyond its role in the Movement, the Review was one tactic in the icrc’s effort to forestall violations of ihl and get its message through to a network of influential people in universities, governments and the military. The influencing role of the Review goes far beyond ihl, encompassing policies and practices that further the same goals. The Review was and certainly still is a tool of influence for the icrc. 139

Last but not least, the Review can be used as a cypher to trace the development of ihl. As recalled by former editor in chief Jacques Meurant, ‘at each successive stage, the Review has kept a record of developments in the law, while at the same time helping to clarify, explain and spread knowledge of its provisions’. 140 Looking at the topics addressed in the Review reveals not only the deep roots of these discussions and how they have evolved over time, but also the seeds of future legal instruments. Notably the pre-1949 efforts to ensure legal protection of civilians disseminated in the journal laid important groundwork for the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The ihl ‘circle of life’ in the Review could be synthetized as follows. Articles or accounts from the field present humanitarian problems and concrete measures. A legal idea is proposed and generates a discussion or, at least, develops this legal idea. It culminates with a new treaty and a large reporting of its inception. Once the treaty has been signed, series of articles promote, in parallel, its diffusion, some clues for its application and, more important, provide the icrc’s analysis and interpretation of the law. Finally, as other actors become well-versed in the law, they join in the discussion and sometimes even spark debate about the proper interpretation and application of the legal norm.

With the increasing openness of the journal as a platform for discussion and debate, it may be possible for future historians to trace broader positions of the international community as well as that of the icrc or the Movement. As compared to past time periods, ihl discussion and debate in the Review today is more open in terms of authorship and point of view. The sheer number of views being expressed both in the Review and in other literature dedicated to ihl means that a lot of ink is being spilled on the topic. This shows that lawyers, academics, policy makers and others remain invested in discussing and debating the law, and despite fears that it is becoming less relevant over time it is in fact still not only widely accepted but also expected to be at least partially effective during armed conflict.

Disclaimer and Acknowledgement

The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the International Committee of the Red Cross. A previous draft of this article was presented as a paper at a conference on ‘Histories of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement since 1919’ in Geneva, 12–14 June 2019.


‘Une des caractéristiques de la Croix-Rouge est d’être à la fois « pensée » et « action » et la Revue doit demeurer le reflet de ce dualisme pratique permanent.’ (All translations are those of the authors). Note from Jean Pictet to MM. Chenevière, Siordet and Olgiati. 20 September 1956; Attached report from Mr Lossier on the Review, 1956 President’s Council ‘Review: Reflections on Improving Publication’, icrc Archives bag 064 003.


Although used in this piece to describe the body of international law applicable during armed conflict, ihl is in fact an anachronistic term that can only be traced back as far as the 1950s. For more information on the origins of the term, see Page Wilson, ‘The Myth of International Humanitarian Law’ (2017) 93 Intl Aff 563.


For the sake of clarity, we refer to the journal that is the subject of this publication as ‘the Review’ throughout, although it has changed names several times. In fact, when it was first published in 1869 it was called the Bulletin International des Sociétés de Secours aux Militaires Blessés (abbreviated in the subsequent footnotes to bissmb). In 1886, it was renamed Bulletin International des Sociétés de la Croix-Rouge (biscr). In 1919, the main title became Revue Internationale de la Croix-Rouge (ricr), a double publication with the Bulletin until mid-1955, when the Bulletin section was replaced with a section titled ‘News of National Societies’.


For the sake of brevity, the national relief societies that later became the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies we know today are referred to in this article as ‘National Societies’.


‘Publication d’un bulletin international’ (1869) 1(1) bissmb 4.


See Ignacio de la Rasilla, ‘A Very Short History of International Law Journals (1869–2018)’ (2018) 29 ejil 137.


Geoffrey Best, Humanity in Warfare: The Modern History of the International Law of Armed Conflicts (Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1980).


Among many publications: James Crossland, War, Law and Humanity: The Campaign to Control Warfare, 1853–1914 (Bloomsbury 2018); Véronique Harouel, Genève – Paris, 1863–1918: Le droit humanitaire en construction [Geneva – Paris, 1863–1918: International Humanitarian Law in Construction] (Société Henry Dunant 2003); Jean H Quataert, ‘War-making and Restraint by Law: The Formative Years, 1864–1914’ in Roger Chickering, Dennis Showalter and Hans Van de Ven (eds), The Cambridge History of War, Volume iv: War and the Modern World (cup 2012); Daniel Marc Segesser, ‘Forgotten, but Nevertheless Relevant! Gustave Moynier’s Attempts to Punish Violations of the Laws of War 1870–1916’ in Mats Deland, Mark Klamberg and Paul Wrange (eds), International Humanitarian Law and Justice: Historical and Sociological Perspectives (Routledge 2018).


Lindsey Cameron, ‘The icrc in the First World War: Unwavering Belief in the Power of Law?’ (2016) 900 irrc 1099–1120; Annie Deperchin, ‘The Laws of War’ in Jay Winter (ed), The Cambridge History of the First World War vol 1 (Cambridge University Press 2013) 615–638; David Deroussin (ed), La Grande Guerre et son droit [The Great War and Its Law] (lgdj 2018); Isabel V Hull, A Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making International Law during the First World War (Cornell University Press 2014); Jean H Quataert, ‘International Law and the Laws of War’, 1914–1918-online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War (2014) <>; see also Neville Wylie and Lindsey Cameron, ‘The Impact of World War i on the Law Governing the Treatment of Prisoners of War and the Making of a Humanitarian Subject’ (2019) 29 ejil 1327.


François Bugnion, ‘Adoption of the Additional Protocols of 8 June 1977: A Milestone in the Development of International Humanitarian Law’ (2017) 99 irrc 785; see also the research of Eleanor Davey.


Lindsey Cameron, ‘Conventions de Genève: cent cinquante ans de codification du droit de la guerre’ [‘The Geneva Conventions: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Codification of the Laws of War’] in Guerre et paix [War and Peace] (Gallimard 2019); Samuel Moyn, ‘Ce que dit le droit’ [‘What the Law Says’] in Bruno Cabanes (ed), Une histoire de la guerre du xix e siècle à nos jours [A History of War from the 19th Century to Today] (Seuil 2018).


Ellen Policinski, ‘The International Review of the Red Cross at 150: What’s Changed and What Remains the Same’ (Humanitarian Law & Policy, 31 October 2019) <>.


Documents and correspondence produced by and for the Review have not been constantly well archived throughout history.


Accessible via <>.


‘Les officiers, les soldats, le personnel sanitaire, les populations voisines ou éloignées du théâtre de la guerre, forment autant de catégories de personnes auxquelles devraient s’adresser les hommes de plume, pour leur exposer, à chacune dans le langage qui les convient, ce fonds d’idées et de sentiments humanitaires qu’il est si urgent de faire pénétrer dans les esprits et dans les cœurs.’ [‘Officers, soldiers, medical personnel, neighboring populations as well as those far from the theater of war are all categories of people who men of letters should address to expose them, each in their own language, to the basic ideas and humanitarian sentiments that it is so urgent to push into minds and hearts.’] Gustave Moynier, ‘Etude sur la convention de Genève’ (1869) 1 bissmb 9, 9–10.


See, eg, ‘La Croix-Rouge chez les nègres’ [‘The Red Cross and the Negros [sic]’] (1880) 41 bissmb 5. It is impossible to be exhaustive in the citations for this article, but the authors have attempted to provide representative examples of the journal’s contents.


E Odier, ‘Les plus récents progrès relatifs aux lois de la guerre’ [‘The Most Recent Developments in the Laws of War’] (1894) 25 biscr 166; ‘Les progrès du droit de la guerre (d’après M. le professeur Carl Gareis)’ [‘The Development of the Law of War (According to Professor Carl Gareis)’ (1897) 110 biscr 112.


Gustave Moynier, ‘Note sur la création d’une institution judiciaire internationale propre a prévenir et a réprimer les infractions à la Convention de Genève’ [‘Note on the Establishment of an International Judicial Institution Dedicated to Preventing and Suppressing Violations of the Geneva Convention’] (1872) 11 bissmb 122; see also Segesser (n 8).


‘Institution judiciaire internationale’ [‘International Judicial Institution’] (1872) 12 bissmb 203; Moynier (n 18).


‘La charité dans les guerres civiles’ [‘Charity in Civil War’] (1870) 1 bissmb 175.


‘Opinion de Sir T. Longmore sur les guerres de l’avenir’ [‘Opinion of Sir T. Longmore on the Wars of the Future’] (1892) 23 biscr 105; ‘Les champs de bataille de l’avenir’ [‘The Battlefields of the Future’] (1892) 23 biscr 75; ‘Un discours de M. le professeur Dr Billroth sur les guerres de l’avenir’ [‘A Lecture of Professor Dr. Billroth on the Wars of the Future’] (1892) 23 biscr 27; ‘Concours sur la Convention de Genève’ [Competition on the Geneva Convention] (1875) 6 bissmb 125.


‘Le Convenant de Sempach: premier pacte avant-coureur de la Convention de Genève’ [‘The Sempach Covenant: The First Forerunner of the Geneva Convention’] (1918) 49 biscr 454.


Paul Oltramare, ‘Les lois de la guerre chez les anciens Hindous’ [‘The Laws of War of the Ancient Hindus’] (1881) 12 bissmb 61.


On the relations between the icrc, the Review and the academia, see Etienne Kuster, ‘Promoting the Teaching of ihl in Universities: Overview, Successes, and Challenges of the icrc’s Approach’ in Dražan Djukić and Niccolò Pons (eds), The Companion to International Humanitarian Law (Brill 2018); reprinted (2018) 9 jihls 61.


‘Concours sur la Convention de Genève’ [‘Competition on the Geneva Convention’] (1875) 6 bissmb 125; ‘Les décisions juridiques de la conférence de Rome’ [‘The Legal Decisions of the Rome Conference’] (1894) 25 biscr 97.


‘A. Mechelynck. — La Convention de La Haye (Bibliographie)’ [‘A. Mechelynck.—The Hague Convention (Bibliography)’] (1916) 47 biscr 438; ‘Le régime des prisonniers en France et en Allemagne en regard des Conventions internationales’ [‘The Diet of Prisoners in France and Germany with Regard to International Conventions’] (1917) 48 biscr 94.


‘Manuel de législation militaire’ [‘Military Legislation Manual’] (1884) 14 bissmb 236; ‘P. Fauchille et N. Politis. — Manuel de la Croix-Rouge’ [‘P. Fauchille and N. Politis—Red Cross Manual’] (1908) 39 biscr 37; ‘Les lois de la guerre sur terre: Manuel publié par l’Institut de droit international’ [‘The Laws of Land Warfare: Manual Published by the Institute of International Law’] (1881) 12 biscr 29.


See, eg, ‘La convention pendant la guerre serbo-bulgare’ [‘The Convention during the Serbo-Bulgarian War’] (1886) 17 bissmb 225; Gustave Moynier, ‘La Convention de Genève pendant la guerre franco-allemande’ [‘The Geneva Convention during the Franco-­German War’] (1873) 4 bissmb 104; ‘Violations de la Convention de Genève’ [‘Violations of the Geneva Convention’] (1871) 2 bissmb 206.


See Cameron (n 9) 1099.


Cédric Cotter, (S’)Aider pour survivre. Action humanitaire et neutralité suisse pendant la Première Guerre mondiale [Aiding each other to Survive. Humanitarian Action and Swiss Neutrality during the First World War] (Georg Editeur 2017) 42–47; see, eg, 29 September 1915 complaint from the Vienna Red Cross, against the bombing of the Göritz hospital, attributed to Italian forces: ‘La guerre européenne’ [‘The European War’] (1915) 46 biscr 437, 455; Response of the Chief of Staff of the Italian army dated 3 November 1915: ‘La guerre européenne’ [‘The European War’] (1916) 47 biscr 16, 23; Letter from the German Red Cross to the icrc dated 1 February 1916 on the capture of the German ship Ophelia by the British Navy: ‘La guerre européenne’ [‘The European War’] (1916) 47 biscr 158, 165; Letter from the Serbian Red Cross denying allegations from the Bulgarian Red Cross: ‘La grande guerre’ [‘The Great War’] (1917) 48 biscr 256, 267; Correspondence between the German Red Cross and the French Red Cross in the spring of 1918: ‘La grande guerre’ [‘The Great War’] (1918) 49 biscr 320, 327–331.


See, eg, Montenegrin Red Cross accusations that prisoners were being ill-treated in ­Austro-Hungary: ‘La guerre européenne’ [‘The European War’] (1915) 46 biscr 21, and the accompanying response from the Austrian and Spanish National Societies: ‘Réponse du Comité central de Vienne à notre 163e circulaire concernant l’égalité de traitement des prisonniers’ [‘Response of the Vienna Central Committee to our 163rd Circular on the Equality of Treatment of Prisoners’] (1915) 46 biscr 203 and 225. Cited in Annette Becker, ‘From the Bulletin International des Sociétés de la Croix Rouge to the International Review of the Red Cross: The Great War as a revelator’ (2018) 100 irrc 97.


‘La conduit de la guerre en Belgique’ [‘The Conduct of Warfare in Belgium’] (1916) 47 biscr 219; ‘Réponse au livre allemand sur la conduite de la guerre en Belgique’ [‘Response to the German Book on the Conduct of Warfare in Belgium’] (1916) 47 biscr 435; ‘La violation du droit des gens de la part de l’Angleterre et de la France par l’emploi de troupe de couleur sur le théâtre de la guerre en Europe’ [‘The Violation of the Law of Peoples by England and France with the Use of a Colored Troop in the European Theater of War’] (1916) 47 biscr 85.


‘Note du Gouvernement français sur les traitements infligés par les autorités allemandes aux populations du Nord de la France’ [‘Note from the French Government on the Treatment Inflicted by German Authorities on Populations in the North of France’] (1916) 47 biscr 445.


‘Accusations de violation de la Convention de Genève’ [‘Accusations of Violations of the Geneva Convention’] (1916) 47 biscr 355.


‘Mémoire du Gouvernement allemand sur l’abus de navires-hôpitaux’ [‘Mémoire from the German Government on the Abuse of Hospital Ships’] (1917) 48 biscr 186.


‘Abus de la Croix-Rouge’ [‘Abuse of the Red Cross’] (1917) 36 biscr 80.


Ad D’Espine, Edouard Naville and G Ador, ‘Le comité international de la Croix-Rouge aux belligérants: Appel en faveur du rapatriement des Prisonniers de guerre’ [‘The ­International Committee of the Red Cross to Belligerents: Call for the Repatriation of Prisoners of War’] (1917) 46 biscr 203.


For these 3 examples, see Cotter (n 30) 50–62.


Ibid 54–50.


‘Torpillage des navires-hôpitaux: Note du Comité International de la Croix-Rouge au Gouvernement allemand’ [‘The Torpedoing of Hospital Ships: Note from the International Committee of the Red Cross to the German Government’] (1917) 48 biscr 140; ‘Le torpillage des navires-hôpitaux: Etude de droit et de fait’ [‘The Torpedoing of Hospital Ships: Study of Law and Fact’] (1917) 48 biscr 223.


‘Appel contre l’emploi des gaz vénéneux’ [‘Appeal against the Use of Poisonous Gas’] (1918) 49 biscr 185.


See Paul Des Gouttes, Etienne Clouzot and K de Watteville, ‘Revue Internationale de la Croix-Rouge et Bulletin International des Sociétés de la Croix Rouge’ (1919) 1 ricr 1.


The first woman to join the Committee in 1918, after occupying an important role in the wwi agency.


Neville Wylie and Lindsey Cameron, ‘The Impact of World War i on the Law Governing the Treatment of Prisoners of War and the Making of a Humanitarian Subject’ (2019) 29 ejil 1327; Hazuki Tate, ‘Hospitaliser, interner et rapatrier: la Suisse et les prisonniers de guerre’ (2014) 159 Relations internationales 39; Hazuki Tate, ‘Rapatrier les prisonniers de guerre: la politique des alliés et l’action du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge (1918–1929)’ (DPhil thesis, École des hautes études en sciences sociales 2015).


Elsa Brandstroem, ‘La détresse des prisonniers de guerre en Sibérie’ [‘The suffering of Prisoners of War in Siberia’] (1920) 2 ricr 937; H. Cuénod, ‘L’internement en Italie des prisonniers du « Heimai-Maru »’ [‘The Internment of “Hemai-Maru” Prisoners in Italy’] (1921) 3 ricr 1094; Charles Burckhardt and Georgees Burnier, ‘Visite des camps de prisonniers helléniques en Anatolie’ [‘Visit of Greek Prisoners in Anatolia’] (1923) 5 ricr 881; Lucien Cramer, ‘La visite des prisons du Monténégro’ [‘Visit of Prisons in Montenegro’] (1925) 7 ricr 385.


Renée Marguerite Frick-Cramer, ‘Rapatriement des prisonniers de guerre centraux en Russie et en Sibérie et des prisonniers de guerre russes en Allemagne’ [‘Repatriation of Central Powers Prisoners of War in Russia and Serbia, and of Russian Prisoners of War in Germany’] (1920) 2 ricr 526.


Lucien Cramer, ‘L’achèvement du rapatriement général des prisonniers de guerre par le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge’ [‘The Completion of General Repatriation of Prisoners of War by the International Committee of the Red Cross’] (1922) 4 ricr 383.


Renée Marguerite Frick-Cramer, ‘A propos des projets de conventions internationales réglant le sort des prisonniers’ [‘About the Plans for International Conventions to Regulate the Fate of Prisoners’] (1925) 7 ricr 73; see also Boyd van Dijk, ‘Marguerite Frick-Cramer’ in Immi Tallgren (ed), Portraits of Women in International Law: New Names and Forgotten Faces? (cup 2021) (forthcoming).


See Neville Wylie and Lindsey Cameron, ‘The Impact of World War i on the Law Governing the Treatment of Prisoners of War and the Making of a Humanitarian Subject’ (2019) 29 ejil 1327.


Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (signed 27 July 1929, entered into force 19 June 1931) 118 lnts 343.


Paul Des Gouttes, ‘Projet de révision de la Convention de Genève du 27 juillet 1929 présenté aux Sociétés nationales de la Croix-Rouge par le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge’ [‘Proposed Revision of the 27 July 1929 Geneva Convention Presented to National Red Cross Societies by the International Committee of the Red Cross’] (1937) 19 ricr 645; Opinion of Professor J. Basdevant on the revision of Article 30 of the 1929 Geneva ­Convention in F Donker-Curtius, ‘Commentaire accompagnant les propositions de la Croix-Rouge néerlandaise relatives à la révision de l’article 30 de la Convention de Genève du 27 juillet 1929’ [‘Commentary Accompanying the Dutch Red Cross Propositions for the Revision of Article 30 of the 17 July 1929 Geneva Convention’] (1938) 20 ricr 485, 503.


Alfred Gautier, ‘Protection de l’enfance et Croix-Rouge’ [‘Protection of Children and the Red Cross’] (1919) 1 ricr 625.


Joëlle Droux, ‘Life during Wartime: The Save the Children International Union and the Dilemmas of Warfare Relief, 1919–1947’ in Johannes Paulmann (ed), Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid in the Twentieth Century (oup 2016) 185–206.


See, eg, Boyd van Dijk, ‘Human Rights in War: On the Entangled Foundations of the 1949 Geneva Conventions’ (2018) 112 ajil 553, 558–566.


The series had different titles: ‘Mesures de défense passive’ [‘Passive Defensive Measures’], ‘La défense passive des populations civiles’ [‘The Passive Defense of Civilian Populations’] or ‘La protection des populations civiles’ [‘The Protection of Civilian Populations’]; see Ben Holmes, ‘The International Review of the Red Cross and the Protection of Civilians, c. 1919–1939’ (2018) 100 irrc 115.


‘Défense aérienne et protection des civils’ [‘Aerial Defense and Civilian Protection’] (1932) 14 ricr 160, cited in Holmes (n 56).


‘Résolutions et voeux adoptés par la xve Conférence Internationale de la Croix-Rouge Tokio, 20–29 octobre 1934’ [‘Resolutions and Pledges Adopted by the xv International Conference of the Red Cross, Tokyo, 20–29 October 1934’] (1934) 16 ricr 881, 899–900; Frederic Ferrière, ‘Projet d’une Convention internationale réglant la situation des civils tombés à la guerre au pouvoir de l’ennemi’ [‘Plan for an International Convention to Regulate the Situation of Civilians Fallen into the Hands of the Enemy in War’] (1923) 5 ricr 560; Paul des Gouttes, ‘Projet de convention concernant la condition et la protection des civils de nationalité ennemie qui se trouvent sur le territoire d’un belligérant ou sur un territoire occupé par lui’ [Draft Convention on the Condition and Protection of Enemy Civilians on the Territory of a Belligerent or Occupied Territory] (1934) 188 ricr 649.


H Staudinger, ‘La technique moderne et la guerre’ [‘Modern Techniques of War’] (1919) 1 ricr 508.


W Alter, ‘Les hôpitaux et les dangers de la guerre aérienne’ [Hospitals and the Dangers of Aerial Warfare] (1936) 18 ricr 257; Roger Gallopin, ‘La protection des civils en temps de guerre et la notion d’objectif militaire’ [‘The Protection of Civilians in Times of War and the Concept of Military Objectives’] (1939) 21 ricr 545.


Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon, ‘Between Sovereignty and Race: The Bombardment of Hospitals in the Italo-Ethiopian War and the Colonial Imprint of International Law’ (2019) 8 State Crime 104.


Franklin D Roosevelt, ‘Limitation des bombardements aux objectifs militaires: appel du président des Etats-Unis’ [‘Limiting Bombardment to Military Objectives: Appeal from the President of the United States’] (1939) 21 ricr 984.


‘Appel contre l’emploi des gaz vénéneux’ [‘Appeal againt the Use of Poisonous Gas’] (1918) 49 biscr 185.


‘Réponses à notre appel contre l’emploi des gaz vénéneux’ [‘Responses to our Appeal against the Use of Poisonous Gas’] (1918) 49 biscr 312; ‘Réponse de l’Allemagne à notre appel contre l’emploi des gaz vénéneux’ [‘German Response to our Appeal against the Use of Poisonous Gas’] (1918) 49 biscr 461.


Maartje Abbenhuis and Leo Van Bergen, ‘Man-Monkey, Monkey-Man: Neutrality and the Discussions about the ‘Inhumanity’ of Poison gas in the Netherlands and International Committee of the Red Cross’ (2012) 3 First World War Studies 1.


Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare (1925) 94 lnts 65.


K de Drachenfels, ‘La guerre chimique’ [‘Chemical Warfare’] (1927) 9 ricr 1; K de Drachenfels, ‘La Croix-Rouge et la guerre chimique’ [‘The Red Cross and Chemical Warfare’] (1927) 9 ricr 812; Dame Beryl Olivier, ‘Organisation d’un service de secours en cas d’attaque par les gaz. Soins aux gazés. Postes de secours. Abris collectifs. Equipes de désinfection’ [‘Creation of an Emergency Service for Gas Attacks. Care of Victims. Emergency Stations. Collective Shelters. Disinfection Teams’] (1937) 19 ricr 495; Dr Sudre, ‘Organisation générale d’un service de secours en cas d’attaque par les gaz. Soins à donner aux gazés. Postes de secours. Abris collectifs. Equipes de désinfection’ [‘General Organization of an Emergency Service for Gas Attacks. Care to Give to Victims. Emergency Stations. Collective Shelters. Disinfection Teams’] (1937) 221 ricr 470.


Colonel Fierz, ‘L’utilisation d’édifices privés pour la protection de la population civile contre l’action de la guerre chimique’ [‘The Use of Private Buildings for the Protection of the Civilian Population from the Effects of Chemical Warfare’] (1929) 11 ricr 304; Dr Hanslian, ‘L’appareil de protection contre les gaz à l’usage de la population civile’ [‘Protection Device against Gas for the Civilian Population’] (1929) 11 ricr 440; Zénon Martynowicz, ‘Propagande pour l’organisation de la défense contre les gaz’ [‘Advocacy for the Organisation of Defense Against Gas’] (1929) 11 ricr 478; ‘Annexe: Plan schématique d’organisation de la propagande dans la population civile, pour la défense contre la guerre chimique en Pologne’ [‘Annex: Schematic Plans for the Advocacy among the Civilian Population to Defend against Chemical Gas in Poland’] (1929) 11 ricr 486; Colonel Pouderoux, ‘L’abri collectif contre l’aérochimie’ [‘Collective Shelter from Aerial Gas’] (1929) 11 ricr 411; Georg Ruth, ‘Frais de la protection de la population d’une ville d’un million d’habitants contre les bombes brisantes, lourdes, gaz et incendies’ [C’ost of Protection of the Civilian Population in a City of One Million Inhabitants against Splintering, Heavy, Gas and Incendiary Bombs’] (1929) 11 ricr 435; Dr Sieur, ‘Des instructions à donner aux populations civiles par conférences, affiches, tracts et films, sur les moyens de se protéger contre la guerre chimique’ [‘Instructions to Give Civilian Populations by Conferences, Posters, Tracts and Films on the Means of Protecting Oneself against Chemical Warfare’] (1929) 11 ricr 349.


Among the authors, General Sieur was medical doctor and inspector in the French army, Professor de Block was a major and medical doctor in the Belgian army, Colonel Pouderoux was a commander of the Paris fire brigade and Prof Hanslian an academic from Berlin.


See, eg, Louis Demolis, ‘La répression de la guerre chimique d’après la Croix-Rouge allemande’ [‘The Supression of Chemical Warfare According to the German Red Cross’] (1929) 11 ricr 151; Louis Demolis, ‘Protection contre le danger aéro-chimique et le role des infirmières et secourists’ [‘Protection from the Aerial-Chemical Danger and the Nurses and Emergency Workers’] (1932) 14 ricr 766.


cicr pour Prof Louis Demolis, à l’occasion de son départ après 28 ans’ [‘icrc for Professor Louis Demolis on the Occasion of his Departure after 28 Years’] 30 December 1954, icrc Archives bag 064 002.


Opinion of Professor J Basdevant on the revision of Article 30 of the 1929 Geneva Convention in F Donker-Curtius, ‘Commentaire accompagnant les propositions de la Croix-Rouge néerlandaise relatives à la révision de l’article 30 de la Convention de Genève du 27 juillet 1929’ [‘Commentary Accompanying the Dutch Red Cross Propositions for the Revision of Article 30 of the 17 July 1929 Geneva Convention’] (1938) 20 ricr 485, 503; Iake Hammarskjöld, ‘Revision de l’article 30 de la Convention de Genève’ [‘Revision of Article 30 of the Geneva Convention’] (1938) 20 ricr 428; Max Huber, ‘La Croix-Rouge et l’évolution récente du droit international’ [‘The Red Cross and the Recent Evolution of International Law’] (1929) 11 ricr 8.


See ‘75e Anniversaire de la Convention de Genève 22 août 1864’ [‘75th Anniversary of the Geneva Convention of 22 August 1864’] (1939) 21 ricr 631.


See, eg, ‘Extraits de rapports sur des visites de camps de prisonniers de guerre’ [‘Extracts of Reports of Visits to Prisoner of War Camps’] (1945) 27 ricr 188; ‘Ravitaillement de prisonniers de guerre et d’internés civils en Allemagne’ [‘Provisions for Prisoners of War and Civilian Internees in Germany’] (1945) 27 ricr 371; ‘Camps de prisonniers de guerre et d’internés civils en Allemagne’ [‘Prisoner of War and Civilian Internee Camps in Germany’] (1945) 27 ricr 768.


xvii e Conférence internationale de la Croix-Rouge: Stockholm, août 1948 Résolutions’ [‘xvii International Conference of the Red Cross: Stockholm, August 1948 Resolutions’] (1948) 30 ricr 747.


F Sidoret, ‘La Conférence diplomatique de Genève’ [‘The Geneva Diplomatic Conference’] (1949) 31 ricr 554; see also Jean Pictet, ‘De la Second Guerre mondiale à la Conférence diplomatique de 1949’ [‘From the Second World War to the Diplomatic Conferene of 1949’] (1999) 81 ricr 205.


See, eg, ‘La Conférence Diplomatique de Genève’ [‘The Geneva Diplomatic Conference’] (1949) 31 ricr 243; ‘La Conférence Diplomatique de Genève’ [‘The Geneva Diplomatic Conference’] (1949) 31 ricr 325; ‘La Conférence diplomatique de Genève’ [‘The Geneva Diplomatic Conference’] (1949) 31 ricr 475; ‘Déclaration de M. Paul Ruegger à la Conférence diplomatique de Genève’ [‘Declaration of Paul Ruegger to the Geneva Diplomatic Conference’] (1949) 31 ricr 627.


One such notably contentious issue was the application of ihl to internal armed conflict, including colonial wars of liberation; see Giovanni Mantilla, ‘Forum Isolation: Social Opprobrium and the Origins of the International Law of Internal Conflict’ (2018) 72 International Organization 317; see also Boyd Van Dijk, ‘“The Great Humanitarian”: The Soviet Union, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Geneva Conventions of 1949’ (2019) 37 L & Hist Rev 209.


‘Note à Jean Pictet, diffusion de la Revue, par F. de Reynold’ [Note to Jean Pictet from F. de Reynold on the Circulation of the Review] 30 August 1956, icrc Archives bag 064 003.


See, eg, Roger Gallopin, ‘Action du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge en faveur des victims des guerres civiles et des troubles intérieurs’ [‘Activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross on Behalf of the Victims of Civil Wars and Internal Disturbances’] (1958) 40 ricr 664; Claude Pilloud, ‘Capture de biens ennemies: Butin de guerre et saisie de biens ennemies’ [‘Capture of Enemy Property: War Booty and the Seizure of Enemy Property’] (1950) 32 ricr 829; Jean de Preux, ‘Etudes sur la troisième Convention de Genève de 1949: Prisonniers de guerre’ [‘Studies on the Third Geneva Convention of 1949: Prisoners of War’] (1954) 36 ricr 25; Oscar M Uhler, ‘Les hôpitaux civils et leur personnel’ [‘Civilian Hospitals and Their Personnel’] (1953) 35 ricr 610; Frédéric Siordet, ‘Les Conventions de Genève de 1949: Le problème de contrôle’ [‘The Geneva Conventions of 1949: The Problem of Control’] (1952) 34 ricr 92; René-Jean Wilhelm, ‘Les Conventions de ­Genève et la guerre aérienne [‘The Geneva Conventions and Aerial Warfare’] (1952) 34 ricr 10.


Van Dijk sees the Pictet Commentaries in particular as a cynical tool: ‘The Commentary’s effacing of history provided the icrc with the political instruments to reclaim its role as legal expert and to revive the discipline’s future in the years after the destructive world wars.’ Boyd Van Dijk, ‘Human Rights in War: On the Entangled Foundations of the 1949 Geneva Conventions’ (2018) 112 ajil 553, 580.


Many articles on civilian protection, reports from expert meetings, role of the Red Cross, passive defense, etc; see, eg, Henri Coursier, ‘Les principes des Conventions de Genève’ [‘The Principles of the Geneva Conventions’] (1959) 41 ricr 487; Henri Coursier, ‘Etudes sur la formation du droit humanitaire: Les idées humanitaires de le droit romain’ [‘Studies on the Formation of Humanitarian Law: Humanitarian Ideals and Roman Law’] (1951) 33 ricr 370; Henri Coursier, ‘Francis Lieber et les Lois de la guerre’ [‘Francis Lieber and the Laws of War’] (1953) 35 ricr 377.


Such articles ‘would be preferable to silence that could be interpreted … as the fact that for the Red Cross, collective anxiety is no longer its anxiety and human hope is no longer its hope’: Lossier to Pictet, 26 April 1957, icrc Archives bag 064 002.


Lossier the Assembly, 24 May 1957, icrc Archives bag 064 002.


Jean Pictet to Paul Guggenheim, 12 February 1955; icrc to Jean Graven, 12 November 1958, icrc Archives bag 064 002.


See, eg, Mohamed Abdallah Draz, ‘Le droit international public et l’Islam’ [‘Public International Law and Islam’] (1952) 34 ricr 194; Louis Massignon, ‘Le respect de la personne humanitaire en Islam, et la priorité du Droit d’asile sur le devoir de juste guerre’ [‘The Respect of Humanitarian Person in Islam, and the Primacy of Asylum Law over the Duty of Dust War’] (1952) 34 ricr 448; Robert Derathé, ‘Jean-Jacques Rousseau et le progrès des idées humanitaires du xvie au xviiie siècle’ [‘Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Development of Humanitarian Ideals from the xvi to the xviii Century’] (1958) 40 ricr 523.


Lossier to David de Traz, 20 October 1955, icrc Archives bag 064 002.


Lossier to Nadjm Oud-Dine Bammate, Unesco, 20 July 1955, icrc Archives bag 064 002.


Idem Ogliati to Dr Nosretollah Nassiri, Iranian Embassy in Bern, 15 November 1954, icrc Archives bag 064 002.


Pictet to Radmilo Jovanovic, Belgrade, 23 March 1955, icrc Archives bag 064 006.


Notes pour Lossier, 28 August 1958, icrc Archives bag 064 006.


Lossier to Pictet, 12 October 1956, icrc Archives bag 064 002.


Authors’ translation. ‘Notre ‘Revue’ est une publication sérieuse, d’un niveau élevé; elle est l’organe officiel du cicr qui doit donc pouvoir se référer à ses articles et nouvelles lorsqu’il approche tel Gouvernement, telle Croix-Rouge, telle Organisation internationale. Ne la considérons donc pas trop comme un instrument de propagande et laissons à notre service d’information, le soin de publier des nouvelles moins austères, des histoires sensationnelles, présentées sous une forme plus affriolante pour le gros public.’ Note à Jean Pictet, diffusion de la Revue, par F. de Reynold, 30 août 1956, icrc Archives bag 064 003; ‘Revue: Conseil de la présidence 1956, réflexions sur l’amélioration de la publication’ [‘Review: 1956 President’s Council, Reflections of the Improvement of this Publication’] (1956) icrc Archives bag 064 003.


A Spanish language edition of the Review was introduced in 1976, followed by Arabic, Russian and Chinese editions in 1988, 1994 and 1997 respectively, each regularly publishing a selection of articles translated into the appropriate language. Other language translations were done on an ad hoc basis. For instance, some volumes have been translated into Turkish or Farsi, and one article has been translated into more than 40 languages; see Jean-Marie Henckaerts, ‘Study on Customary International Humanitarian Law: A Contribution to the Understanding and Respect for the Rule of Law in Armed Conflict’ (2005) 87 irrc 176.


See, eg, Jean Pictet, ‘Les principes fondamentaux de la Croix-Rouge’ [‘The Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross’] (1980) 62 irrc 193; Jean Pictet, ‘La formation du droit international humanitaire’ [‘The Creation of International Humanitarian Law’] (1994) 76 irrc 567; Jean de Preux, ‘Les Protocols additionnels aux Conventions de Genève’ [‘The Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions’] (1987) 69 irrc 256; Frédéric Siordet, ‘Diffusion des Conventions de Genève’ [‘Dissemination of the Geneva Conventions’] (1965) 47 irrc 57.


François Bugnion, ‘The Red Cross and Red Crescent Emblems’ (1989) 29 irrc 408; Marion Harroff-Tavel, ‘Neutrality and Impartiality: The Importance of these Principles for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the Difficulties Involved in Applying them’ (1989) 29 irrc 563; Jacques Moreillon, ‘The Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross, Peace and Human Rights’ (1980) 20 irrc 171; María Teresa Dutli, ‘Captured Child Combatants’ (1990) 30 irrc 421; Yves Sandoz, ‘The Application of Humanitarian Law by the Armed Forces of the United Nations Organization’ (1978) 18 irrc 274; Marco Sassòli, ‘The National Information Bureau in Aid of the Victims of Armed Conflicts’ (1987) 27 irrc 6; Michel Veuthey, ‘The Red Cross and Non-International Armed Conflicts’ (1970) 10 irrc 411; Jelena Pejic, ‘Non-discrimination and Armed Conflict’ (2001) 83 irrc 183.


J Mirimanoff, ‘La Croix-Rouge et les armes biologiques et chimiques’ [‘The Red Cross and Biological and Chemical Weapons’] (1970) 52 irrc 339.


Dieter Fleck, ‘L’emploi de conseillers juridiques et de professeurs de droit dans les forces armées’ [‘The Use of Legal Advisers and Law Professors by Armed Forces’] (1973) 55 irrc 199.


José Daniel, ‘La Convention de Vienne de 1969 sur le droit des traités et le droit humanitaire’ [T’he 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and Humanitarian Law’] (1972) 54 irrc 401.


Karel Vasak, ‘La Convention européenne des Droits de l’Homme complément utile des Conventions de Genève’ [‘The European Human Rights Convention as a Useful Complement to the Geneva Conventions’] (1965) 47 irrc 365.


Fritz Kalshoven, ‘Droits de l’homme, droit des conflits armés et représailles’ [‘Human Rights, the Law of Armed Conflict and Reprisals’] (1971) 53 irrc 205.


Bosko Jakovljevic, ‘La protection des blessés et malades et le développement du droit international médical’ [‘The Protection of the Wounded and Sick and the Development of International Medical Law’] (1965) 47 irrc 109; E Evrard, ‘La protection juridique des transports aériens sanitaires en temps de guerre’ [‘Legal Protection of Aerial Medical Transports in Times of War’] (1966) 48 irrc 309.


Bugnion (n 10); see also ‘Extraits de L’acte Finale’ [‘Extracts of the Final Act’] (1977) 59 irrc 125.


Jacques Meurant, ‘The 125th anniversary of the International Review of the Red Cross: A faithful record. Part ii: Victories of the law’ (1995) 35 irrc 282, 288 citing, eg, Claude Pilloud, ‘La notion de conflit armé international: Nouvelles perspectives’ [‘The Concept of International Armed Conflict: Further Outlook’] (1975) 57 irrc 9.


Hans-Peter Gasser, ‘Steps Taken to Encourage States to Accept the 1977 Protocols’ (1987) 27 irrc 259.


Jacques Meurant, ‘Memoire of a Faithful Witness’ (2018) 907/908/909 irrc 11, 13.


See, eg, ‘Règles fondamentales du droit humanitaire applicables dans les conflits armés’ [‘Fundamental Rules of Humanitarian Law Applicable in Conflicts’] (1978) 60 irrc 247; Stanislaw Nahlik, ‘A Brief Outline of International Humanitarian Law’ (1984) 66 irrc 195; ‘Note technique sur les Protocoles du 8 juin 1977 additionnels aux Conventions de Genève’ [‘Technical Note on the Protocols of 8 June 1977 Additional to the Geneva Conventions’] (1984) 66 irrc 287; see also Jacques Meurant, ‘The 125th Anniversary of the International Review of the Red Cross: A faithful Record. Part ii: Victories of the Law’ (1995) 35 irrc 282.


See, eg René Kosirnik, ‘Dissemination in the Nineties’ (1992) 32 irrc 173; ‘Guidelines for the 90s’ (1992) 32 irrc 175; see also Jacques Meurant, ‘The 125th Anniversary of the International Review of the Red Cross: A faithful record. Part ii: Victories of the law’ (1995) 35 irrc 282.


See, eg, W Hays Parks, ‘The Protocol on Incendiary Weapons’ (1990) 30 irrc 535; Y S, ‘Conventional Weapons’ (1977) 17 irrc 92.


See, eg, ‘La protection de biens culturels en cas de conflit armé’ [‘Protection of Cultural Property in Armed Conflict’] (1962) 44 irrc 473.


See ‘La guérilla en Amérique du sud et le développement futur du droit de la guerre’ [‘The Guerilla in South America and the Future Development of the Law of War’] (1971) 53 irrc 448.


See ‘S.O.S. Environnement, Le Courrier, unesco, Paris, juillet 1971’ [‘Environmental S.O.S., The Courrier, unesco, Paris, July 1971’] (1971) 53 irrc 578.


See ‘Année internationale des droits de l’homme’ [‘International Year of Human Rights’] (1968) 50 irrc 138.


See Jovia Patrnogic, ‘La Croix-Rouge comme facteur de paix’ [‘The Red Cross as Peacemaker’] (1968) 50 irrc 245.


See, eg, Jean-Philippe Lavoyer and Louis Maresca, ‘The Role of the icrc in the Development of International Humanitarian Law’ (1999) 4 Intl Negotiation 504; Kathleen Lawand and Isabel Robinson, ‘Development of Treaties Limiting or Prohibiting the Use of Certain Weapons: The Role of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ in Robin Geiss, Andreas Zimmermann and Stefanie Haumer (eds), Humanizing the Laws of War: The Red Cross and the Development of International Humanitarian Law (cup 2017).


See, eg, Louise Doswald-Beck and Sylvain Vité, ‘International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law’ (1993) 75 irrc 293; see also Hans-Peter Gasser, ‘Adapting in the Spirit of Tradition’ (2018) 907/908/908 irrc 15.


See, eg, Amanda Alexander, ‘A Short History of International Humanitarian Law’ (2015) 26 ejil 109; Naz K Modirzadeh, ‘Folk International law: 9/11 Lawyering and the Transformation of the Law of Armed Conflict to Human Rights Policy and Human Rights Law to War Governance’ in Jens David Ohlin (ed), Theoretical Boundaries of Armed Conflict and Human Rights (cup 2016).


Claude Pilloud, ‘Les réserves aux Conventions de Genève de 1949’ [‘Reservations to the 1949 Geneva Conventions’] (1965) 47 irrc 315.


Ian Harding, ‘L’origine des Conventions de Genève et leur efficacité pour la protection des victimes de la guerre’ [‘The Origins of the Geneva Conventions and their Effectiveness for the Protection of War Victims’] (1973) 55 irrc 325.


‘Rien n’est plus dangereux que l’«humanitarisme échevelé », animé des meilleures intentions, mais détaché des réalités, image même du «wishful thinking».’ Jean Pictet, ‘La formation du droit international humanitaire’ [‘The Formation of International Humanitarian Law’] (1985) 67 irrc 3, 20.


Among many publications, see, eg, RR Baxter ‘Le premier effort moderne de codification du droit de la guerre – Francis Lieber et l’Ordonnance générale N°100’ [‘The First Modern Effort to Codify the Laws of War—Francis Lieber and General Order No. 100’] (1963) 45 irrc 155; giad Draper, ‘L’évolution du droit de la guerre: Influences du christianisme et de la chevalerie’ [‘The Evolution of the Laws of War: Influences from Christianity and Chivalry’] (1965) 47 irrc 1; ‘L’universalité des Conventions de Genève’ [‘The Universality of the Geneva Conventions’] (1966) 48 irrc 354; Henri Meyrowitz, ‘Réflexions à propos du centenaire de la Déclaration de Saint-Pétersbourg’ [‘Reflections on the Centenary of the Saint-Petersburg Declaration’] (1968) 50 irrc 541; Marcel A Naville ‘1869–1969: Le centenaire de notre publication’ [‘1869–1969: The Centenary of Our Publication’] (1969) 51 irrc 601.


See, eg, ‘Les Conventions de Genève en langues africaines’ [‘The Geneva Conventions in African Languages’] (1962) 44 irrc 184; ‘Les Conventions de Genève par l’image’ [‘The Geneva Conventions in Images’] (1957) 39 irrc 30; Max Huber ‘La convention de Genève et la Croix-Rouge’ [‘The Geneva Convention and the Red Cross’] (1939) 21 irrc 631; Pavle Gregoric ‘Plan d’action pour la diffusion des Conventions de Genève’ [‘Action Plan for the Dissemination of the Geneva Conventions’] (1965) 47 irrc 469.


Gasser (n 116) 16.


On recent evolutions in the general discourse related to international legal norms in armed conflict, see Modirzadeh (n 117).


See ‘Editorial Board of the International Review of the Red Cross’ <> accessed 25 January 2020.


See ‘A Brief History of the International Review of the Red Cross’ (2018) 907/908/909 irrc 23, 33.


Toni Pfanner, ‘Limiting the Effects of War in Volatile Times’ (2018) 907/908/909 irrc 19, 20.


Jean-Marie Henckaerts and Louise Doswald-Beck, Customary International Humanitarian Law, Volume i: Rules and Volume ii: Practice (cup 2005).


Jean-Marie Henckaerts, ‘Customary International Humanitarian Law: A Response to US Comments’ (2007) 89 irrc 473.


‘Direct Participation in Hostilities’ (2008) 90 irrc 819.


Nils Melzer, Interpretive Guidance on Direct Participation in Hostilities under International Humanitarian Law (icrc 2009).


‘Forum: The icrc Interpretive Guidance on Direct Participation in Hostilities Under International Humanitarian Law’ (2010) 42 nyu J Intl L & Pol 637.


See, eg, Marco Sassóli and Yuval Shany, ‘Debate: Should the Obligations of States and Armed Groups under International Humanitarian Law Really be Equal’ (2011) 93 irrc 425; René Provost, ‘Debate: The Move to Substantive Equality in International Humanitarian Law: A Rejoinder to Marco Sassóli and Yuval Shany’ (2011) 93 irrc 437.


See, eg, Rony Brauman, ‘Médecins Sans Frontières and the icrc: Matters of Principle’ (2012) 94 irrc 1523.


See, eg, Djemila Carron, ‘When is a Conflict International? Time for New Control Tests in ihl’ (2018) 98 irrc 1019.


See, eg, Disasters founded in 1960; Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies, founded 2010; African Yearbook on International Humanitarian Law, founded in 2015; Asia-Pacific Yearbook on International Humanitarian Law (recently renamed the Asia-Pacific Journal of International Humanitarian Law) founded in 2005; Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law founded in 1997; Anuario de Derecho Internacional Humanitario founded in 2020; to name only a few journals dedicated to ihl and not to mention the wealth of literature currently being produced by academic institutions, think tanks and States dedicated to the topic.


Notably, Sivakumaran posits that ‘it is the community of international humanitarian lawyers that makes international humanitarian law through a process of dialogic interaction.’ Sandesh Sivakumaran, ‘Making and Shaping the Law of Armed Conflict’ (2018) 71 Curr Leg Prob 119. Interestingly, even while maintaining that it is States that make law, Schmitt and Watts observe that ‘Scholars, commentators, advocates, judges, and even States’ own diplomats and legal advisors are by now accustomed to resorting to speculation to resolve ambiguity concerning any number of State views on ihl. Paradoxically, in the absence of State views, such speculation can become, over time, the law.’ Michael N Schmitt and Sean Watts, ‘State Opinio Juris and International Humanitarian Law Pluralism’ (2015) 91 Intl L Stud 171, 214.


See Daniel Palmieri, ‘To Inform or Govern? 150 Years of the International Review of the Red Cross 1869–2019’ (2018) 100 irrc 71.


Jacques Meurant, ‘The 125th Anniversary of the International Review of the Red Cross: A Faithful Record. Part ii: Victories of the Law’ (1995) 35 irrc 282, 286.

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