Welcome to the Customary IHL Database

This database is an online version of the ICRC’s study on customary international humanitarian law (IHL), originally published by Cambridge University Press in 2005.
The 2005 study consists of two volumes: volume I (rules) and volume II (practice).
The database makes the rules and the practice underlying them accessible online. Its practice part is regularly updated. The rules remain the same as in 2005.
For more information, please visit the ICRC website’s customary law section.

1. Rules

This part of the database contains the 161 rules of customary IHL identified in the 2005 study. While comprehensive, the study does not purport to be an exhaustive assessment of customary IHL.
This part of the database is available in


See Rules

2. Practice

This part of the database contains the practice underlying the rules identified in 2005. It is updated on a regular basis. Materials for updates are collected by ICRC delegations, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and other partners around the world.
They are incorporated into the database by a joint British Red Cross-ICRC research team based at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge.
International materials updated in August 2016 were incorporated by a research team at the International Criminal and Humanitarian Law Clinic, Laval University. This part of the database is only available in English.

See Practice

Partners and awards

Partner organization since 2007
Jus gentium research award
Academic Partner