This research guide for the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC) provides information about helpful resources for the program's research.
Research Librarian Jennifer Allison, who is the Harvard Law Library's PILAC liaison, created and maintains this guide.
Check out these sections of the PILAC website to learn more about the program's work:
International Humanitarian Law (IHL) creates legal restrictions on waging warfare for the purpose of protecting non-participants. It is comprised of international treaties and customary law.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provides humanitarian protection of and assistance to people impacted by war and armed conflict. In addition to its work on the ground, the ICRC also provides resources for IHL research.
In scholarly literature, Jus ad Bellum and Jus in Bello are often discussed together. They may be discussed under broader philosophical, religious, or moral principles using the terms Just War Theory or Just War Doctrine (Jus Bellum Iustum). Sometimes these are discussed in combination with a third principle, Jus Post Bellum, which encompasses post-conflict legal norms.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, "The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols form the core of international humanitarian law, which regulates the conduct of armed conflict and seeks to limit its effects. They protect people not taking part in hostilities and those who are no longer doing so."
The text of each of the four Geneva Conventions and the three Additional Protocols, along with their commentaries, are available at https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/vwTreaties1949.xsp. Additional materials are listed below.
Harvard's HOLLIS library catalog is the best way to find research materials in Harvard's libraries.
Using HOLLIS effectively takes some practice and strategy. This section of the guide offers a suggested method for searching HOLLIS designed for the types of research projects that PILAC has undertaken over the past several years.
1. Getting Started: Understand What You're Searching
HOLLIS has two search modes:
If you type a term in the search box on the HOLLIS home page and press Enter, HOLLIS will do an Everything search by default.
2. Searching: Start Broad
You will have more control over your search if you use HOLLIS's Advanced Search option. Do this by clicking ADVANCED SEARCH at top of the home page. Start out by searching as broadly as possible for all of the materials that you might have access to that are related to PILAC's work, like this:
3. Narrowing Your Search: Adding Keywords
Now, you can get to work narrowing down those results so that they are more tailored to what you want. Here are some options for adding more search terms to the original query, based on the nature of the research that you are doing.
The rest of this guide provides information about and links to additional resources and materials that PILAC researchers have found helpful in the past.
The books listed below provide a general introduction to the law of war and armed conflict.
Some publishers offer series of works that discuss topics relevant to war, armed conflict, and international humanitarian law research. Click a series link below to view a list of the series titles in the Harvard Libraries collection.
Masters theses and PhD dissertations provide book-length information on topics of interest to PILAC and bibliographies of relevant research materials.
Harvard affiliates can click the journal titles below for information about print and electronic access to them. Journal website links are also provided; some include free content.
To find additional journals not listed in this guide, try searching these journal directories.
Includes online data aggregator services for armed conflict data.
Check out these resources for additional information about war and armed conflict datasets and using them for your research.
This section lists miscellaneous collections of digitized documents that may be useful for PILAC research projects.
Below is a list of scholars and academics who teach and research IHL and armed conflict law. Links to websites with biographical information and, when available, bibliographies are provided.
The documentary history of the preparation of an international agreement is generally known as its Travaux Préparatoires. The resources below can be helpful in finding these materials for international treaties and agreements.
The UN's Dag Hammarskjöld Library's online research guides are helpful for research involving UN documents and materials. Some of the more relevant of these guides to PILAC's research activities include the following:
The Stockton e-Portal is a research resource for armed conflict law. It is maintained by Sasha Radin, diector of research at the U.S. Naval War College Stockton Center for the Sutdy of International Law.
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