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The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law

Third English Language Edition

Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier - Translated by Laura Brav and Camille Michel

Now in a comprehensively updated edition, this indispensable handbook analyzes how international humanitarian law has evolved in the face of these many new challenges. Central concerns include the war on terror, new forms of armed conflict and humanitarian action, the emergence of international criminal justice, and the reshaping of fundamental rules and consensus in a multipolar world. ThePractical Guide to Humanitarian Law provides the precise meaning and content for over 200 terms such as terrorism, refugee, genocide, armed conflict, protection, peacekeeping, torture, and private military companies—words that the media has introduced into everyday conversation, yet whose legal and political meanings are often obscure. The Guide definitively explains the terms, concepts, and rules of humanitarian law in accessible and reader-friendly alphabetical entries. Written from the perspective of victims and those who provide assistance to them, the Guide outlines the dangers, spells out the law, and points the way toward dealing with violations of the law.

Entries are complemented by analysis of the decisions of relevant courts; detailed bibliographic references; addresses, phone numbers, and Internet links to the organizations presented; a thematic index; and an up-to-date list of the status of ratification of more than thirty international conventions and treaties concerning humanitarian law, human rights, refugee law, and international criminal law. This unprecedented work is an invaluable reference for policy makers and opinion leaders, students, relief workers, and members of humanitarian organizations.

Published in cooperation with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 826Size: 7 1/2 x 10 1/4
978-1-4422-2112-3 • Hardback • December 2013 • $162.00 • (£105.00)
978-1-4422-2141-3 • Paperback • December 2013 • $92.00 • (£65.00)
978-1-4422-2113-0 • eBook • December 2013 • $89.99 • (£60.00)
Françoise Bouchet-Saulnier is the legal director of Médecins Sans Frontières.
Under the sponsorship of the international relief organization Doctors Without Borders, Bouchet-Saulnier has prepared a valuable guide to humanitarian law around the world. . . . This new edition contains nearly 180 topical entries arranged alphabetically. They are presented in an easy-to-use format with multiple subheadings and guides to further reading. The longest entries focus on compelling topics such as detention, genocide, international law, peacekeeping, prisoners of war, refugees, responsibility, and war crimes. . . . This book belongs in every law library. . . . Recommended. (Previous Edition Praise)

Sheds a refreshingly simple light on the intricacies of humanitarian law and the subtleties of such things as international relations, insofar as they bear upon the substantive legal issues. The Guide both fills an important gap and serves as a timely reminder that trees do in fact exist in the woods of humanitarian law. Students ought to find this book useful as a supplement to their academic texts; 'coal-face' humanitarian workers, including many lawyers, may find it to be very valuable by way of a brief encyclopedic reference; and academics [will find] a useful plain English quiver within their array of legalistic weapons. Bouchet-Saulnier is to be congratulated for this no-nonsense publication. (Previous Edition Praise)
International Peacekeeping

A valuable tool for defenders of human rights. (Previous Edition Praise)
The New Observer

A work with terms so clear and precise it resembles a concise legislation. (Previous Edition Praise)
Le Monde

Excellent—authoritative, succinct, comprehensive, and practical. The book will certainly be invaluable for NGO workers, journalists, peacekeepers, and others whose work brings them into contact with issues and situations which raise human rights issues, or who work in areas of repression and/or violent conflict. The work is not only full and detailed, it is set out with admirable clarity. For the combination of reliability and ease of use, it would be difficult to better this volume. (Previous Edition Praise)
Journal Of Humanitarian Assistance

Here is a reference work that will really serve. (Previous Edition Praise)

There is no need to be a legal expert to read this reference work and find it useful. It is a mine of information, not only for humanitarian personnel, but also for anyone who—through media reports—has been sensitized to the problems associated with humanitarian aid (ethnic cleansing, refugees, etc.). A book to be put in the hands of all future graduates in humanitarian affairs. (Previous Edition Praise)
Humanitarian Affairs Reivew

Anyone who works or lives in the world's zones of danger needs to have a practical knowledge of international humanitarian law. This guide is clear, accessible, and reliable. So it is invaluable. (Previous Edition Praise)
Michael Ignatieff, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University

Unique. . . . As violent conflagrations erupt in many parts of the world, this book provides a very useful guide to exceedingly difficult territory, including the specific organizations and institutions that deal with these harsh problems. The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law is clear and not technical, yet precise and well documented. Altogether, it is a valuable contribution to our ceaseless quest for a more compassionate humanity. (Previous Edition Praise)
David A. Hamburg M.D., president emeritus, Carnegie Corporation of New York