This part of the database contains the practice underlying the 161 rules of customary international humanitarian law (IHL) identified in the ICRC’s study on customary IHL, originally published by Cambridge University Press in 2005.

It is updated on a regular basis, with the most recently incorporated material marked in green .

The rules can be found in part 1. Rules.

The practice part can be accessed in three ways:

This part of the database is only available in English.

Translations into English are, unless otherwise indicated, unofficial. The authoritative version of any document translated for the database is the original version, available on the ICRC library website or upon request.

Although aiming to be as comprehensive as possible in its presentation of practice, the database does not claim to be exhaustive, nor to be without mistakes. Please do not hesitate to use the database’s feedback button to point out missing information or errors.

Content of the 2005 study and the updates of the database’s practice part:

  • The printed version of the study, published in 2005, includes international material and national practice up to the end of 2002, all of which has been incorporated in this online database.
  • Since the publication of this online database, international material and national practice have been updated as follows:
    • International practice from the United Nations and from international and mixed judicial and quasi-judicial bodies was updated until the end of 2007 in August 2010.
    • National practice of 80 countries was updated until the end of 2007 in 2011 and 2012 [1].
    • National practice was updated up till the end of 2010 for a first set of 3 countries [2] in August 2013, for a second set of 14 countries [3] in March 2014, for a third set of 7 countries [4]in April 2014, for a fourth set of 11 countries [7] in June 2014.
      In July 2014, national practice was updated for a set of 9 countries [8].
      In November 2014, national practice was updated for a further set of 5 countries[10].
      In June 2016, national practice was updated for a further set of 5 countries [11].
      In August 2016, national practice was updated for a further set of 5 countries [12].
      In December 2016, national practice was updated for a further set of 2 countries [14].
      In December 2017, national practice was updated for a further set of 2 countries [15].
      In March 2018, national practice was updated for a further set of 5 countries [16].
      In May 2018, national practice was updated for a further set of 4 countries [17].
      In July 2018, national practice was updated for a further set of 2 countries [18].
      In December 2018, national practice was updated for a further set of 2 countries [19].
      In July 2019, national practice was updated for another country [20].
      In December 2019, national practice was updated for another country [21].
    • International practice from international and mixed judicial and quasi-judicial bodies was updated until the end of 2010 for 2 such bodies in August 2013 [5], for 3 such bodies in April 2014 [6] and for 2 tribunals in July 2014 [9]. In August 2016, international practice from 2 international courts was updated until the end of 2013[13].


Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Spain, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Viet Nam and Yemen.
Liberia, Norway, Sierra Leone.
Azerbaijan, Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji, France, Germany, Kenya, Mozambique, Morocco, Pakistan, Rwanda, Ukraine, Uganda, United Kingdom, Yemen.
Armenia, Brazil, Cuba, El Salvador, Georgia, Nepal and New Zealand.
Ethiopia-Eritrea Claims Commission and Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court.
Afghanistan, Australia, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Israel, Mexico, Russian Federation, Spain, Venezuela and Viet Nam.
Bangladesh, Guinea, Ireland, Malaysia, Nigeria, Peru, Sri Lanka, United States of America, Zimbabwe.
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
Denmark (2008-2010), Djibouti (until 2012), Poland (2008-2010), Somalia (2008-2011), Tajikistan (2008-2010).
Chad (2011), Côte d’Ivoire (2011), Cuba (2011), Russian Federation (2011-2012), Viet Nam (2011).
Afghanistan (2011-2012), Chad (2012-2014), Tajikistan (2011-2013), Uzbekistan (2008-2013), Zimbabwe (2011-2014).
International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court.
Canada (2008-2013), India (2008-2013).
Democratic Republic of the Congo (2008–2010), Switzerland (2008–2013).
Chad (2015-2016), Georgia (2011-2014), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (2008-2011), Senegal (2008-2013), Spain (2011).
Iraq 2008-2012, Sierra Leone 2011-2012, Thailand 2008-2011, Zimbabwe 2015.
Côte d’Ivoire 2012-2013, Venezuela 2011-2012.
Fiji 2011-2017, Guinea 2012-2014.
South Africa 2008-2013.
Djibouti 2013-2017.