Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC)

Started in May 2007

A Unique Online Portal

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.

RULAC provides information about:

  • The definition and categories of armed conflict under IHL
  • The legal framework governing armed conflicts
  • Whether a situation of armed violence is an armed conflict pursuant to IHL criteria
  • Parties to these armed conflicts
  • Applicable IHL

Scope

RULAC is currently monitoring more than 80 armed conflicts involving at least 55 states and more than 70 armed non-State actors.

An Independent and Impartial Assessment

While there are many different definitions of armed conflict used for different purposes, the question of whether or not a situation of armed violence amounts to an armed conflict under IHL can have far-reaching consequences in the international legal system. For instance, states and international organizations involved in armed conflicts will have rights and duties that do not exist outside that context. Similarly, war crimes can only be committed in connection with an armed conflict, the law of neutrality may be triggered and arms control treaty regimes may be affected.

The classification of situations of armed violence is fraught with difficulties. Many states deny that they are involved in armed conflicts, arguing instead that they are engaged in counter-terrorism operations. Others apply IHL to situations that do not amount to an armed conflict. Moreover, contemporary armed conflicts are increasingly complex due to the multitude of state and non-state parties involved.

RULAC provides an independent and impartial assessment based on open source information of whether or not a concrete situation of armed violence amounts to an armed conflict. It thus strives to promote a more coherent approach classifying conflicts, and, ultimately, to foster implementation of the applicable legal framework, a key element for accountability and the protection of victims.

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Donbass, destruction before a building News

Our Experts and Resources on Ukraine

23 February 2024

Discover our resources and what our experts say about the situation in Ukraine, with regular updates to include new events, articles and comments!

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A street in Guayaquil News

Is There a Non-International Armed Conflict in Ecuador?

2 February 2024

Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa started the new year by declaring that there is an ‘internal armed conflict’ against a series of criminal groups operating in the country. Our Research Fellow Dr Eugénie Duss, in charge of RULAC, answers our questions about whether the situation in Ecuador amounts to a non-international armed conflict.

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Map of the Rulac online portal pointing on Israel/Palestine News

RULAC: Update of our Entry on the Military Occupation of Palestine by Israel

27 November 2023

Our Research Fellow Dr Eugénie Duss answers our questions related to this update that follows the attacks carried out by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel’s subsequent Iron Sword operation.

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RESEARCHERS

Portrait of Eugenie Duss

Eugénie Duss

Research Fellow

Eugénie Duss is a Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy

Past Events

2023 Current Issues in Armed Conflict Conference

26 October 2023

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2021 Current Issues in Armed Conflict Conference

19 November 2021, 14:00-17:30

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Crowd Control photo News

Counterterrorism in Europe: Ambiguous Security Gains for Significant Impacts on Rights

26 September 2023

Our new Working Paper invites readers to embark on a critical journey, shedding light on the intricate dynamics between security and human rights and calls for us to consider the effectiveness of counterterrorism policies as a matter of human rights law, demonstrating the benefits of this approach in improving the rationality of the decision-making process.

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Armed Somali men stand guard over-looking Lido Beach 06 August 2012, in the Kaaraan Districtl in the Somali capital Mogadishu. News

New Paper Calls for Entire New Approach to Deal with Young People Associated with Non-State Armed Groups

4 September 2023

Our new Research Paper presents a comprehensive examination of the realities faced by 'Youth Associated with Non-State Armed Groups'.

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Event

Launch – International Humanitarian Law Rules, Controversies, and Solutions to Problems Arising in Warfare, 2nd Edition

28 March 2024, 12:30-14:00

In this launch event, key experts will comment and dialogue with Professor Sassòli on specific aspects of the book, including naval warfare and the law of neutrality, sources of IHL, IHL and human rights, as well as the classification of armed conflict

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Afghanistan, Parwan detention facility. Inside a room where detainees of the prison, separated by an acrylic glass, are allowed to meet with their families a couple of times per year with the help of the ICRC employees who facilitate the programme. Short Course

Preventing and Combating Terrorism

25 April - 17 May 2024

This online short course discusses the extent to which states may limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter-terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.

Read more

Screenshot of the RULAC webpage Project

Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC)

Started in May 2007

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.

Read more

A session of the UN Human Rights Council Project

IHL Expert Pool

Started in January 2022

The IHL-EP works to strengthen the capacity of human rights mechanisms to incorporate IHL into their work in an efficacious and comprehensive manner. By so doing, it aims to address the normative and practical challenges that human rights bodies encounter when dealing with cases in which IHL applies.

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Cover Page of Research Brief Publication

Environmental Human Rights as a Tool in Early Warning and Conflict Prevention The Role of the Human Rights Council

published on January 2024

Erica Harper, Baïna Ubushieva

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Cover page of the publication Publication

Delivering the Right to Peace: Towards a Reinforced Role of the Human Rights Council in the UN's Peace and Security Framework

published on October 2023

Erica Harper, Adam Day

Read more