“IHL in action: Respect for the law on the battlefield” is a collection of real case studies documenting compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL) in modern warfare. Based on publically available information, these cases have been assessed by academics as demonstrating positive application of IHL. Read more


Jordan, Repatriation of Artefacts to Iraq



Explore the case Jordan, Repatriation of Artefacts to Iraq, where Jordan took measures to seize and safeguard, and later repatriated the cultural property stolen in Iraq and illegally transported across the border during the 2003 armed conflict. Interestingly, you will learn that this case of respect for IHL rules protecting cultural property might have been driven in part by a wish to improve the relations between both countries involved. In the aftermath of the repatriation, the border between the two nations was officially reopened. 



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The aim of this database is solely to encourage practice-oriented thinking on compliance with international humanitarian law (IHL) and the elements that underpin it, by providing a selection of documents and resources on past and current practice in this domain. The opinions expressed in the cases included on this website are not to be taken as those of the ICRC or of the authors. No description of facts in any document reproduced on this website can be construed as the opinion of the ICRC or of the authors. Where cases illustrate examples of respect for IHL, under no circumstances must this be perceived as minimizing any violations that may have occurred in the same conflict situations. Neither can it be perceived as legitimizing the behaviour of any belligerents. Several cases demonstrate how behaviour changed over time and therefore also refer to the violations that precipitated the need for such change. Their inclusion is not to be taken as an endorsement of any past violations; they are reproduced merely to show how practice can evolve over time and that respect for and violations of IHL often occur in the same context. While utmost care has been taken to cross-reference sources to ensure their accuracy, it is often difficult to obtain undisputed confirmation of instances in which IHL has been observed correctly. This is largely because such instances are not as widely reported as those in which the law is violated. Similarly, some conflict situations generate more interest – from the media, NGOs, legal and academic circles, etc. – than others, and this is necessarily reflected in the distribution of cases included in the database. While it may seem unequal, rest assured that the authors did everything possible to ensure fair representation of contexts and conflict parties. In selecting cases, the authors also chose to reproduce documents that illustrate or discuss legal and non-legal elements that may contribute to respect for IHL. All reproduced documents are either the official English version, where one exists, or a version translated into English by the ICRC.