Front cover

International Humanitarian Law and Non-State Actors - Debates, Law and Practice

December 2019 Editor: Ezequiel Heffes LLM, Geneva Call, Geneva, Switzerland
Editor: Marcos D. Kotlik LLM, Observatory of International Humanitarian Law, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Editor: Manuel J. Ventura LLM, Office of the Prosecutor, International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals; School of Law, Western Sydney University; Peace and Justice Initiative



  • Published: December 2019
  • Pages: xiii + 451 pp., 1 ill.
  • Publisher: T.M.C. ASSER PRESS
  • Distributor: Springer

This book challenges the traditional approach to international law by concentrating on international humanitarian law and placing the focus beyond States: it reflects on current legal, policy and practical issues that concern non-State actors in and around situations of armed conflict.

With the emergence of the nation-State, international law was almost entirely focused on inter-State relations, thus excluding - for the most part - non-State entities. In the modern era, such a focus needs to be adjusted, in order to encompass the various types of functions and interactions that those entities perform throughout numerous international decision-making processes.

The contributions that comprise this volume are oriented towards a broad readership audience in the academic and professional fields related to international humanitarian law, international criminal law, international human rights law and general public international law.

Ezequiel Heffes, LLM, is a Thematic Legal Adviser in the Policy and Legal Unit at Geneva Call in Geneva, Switzerland, Marcos D. Kotlik, LLM, is Academic Coordinator at the Observatory of International Humanitarian Law of the University of Buenos Aires, School of Law and was a Judicial Fellow at the International Court of Justice between 2018-2019, and Manuel J. Ventura, LLM (Hons), is an Associate Legal Officer in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, an Adjunct Fellow at the School of Law at Western Sydney University, and a Director of The Peace and Justice Initiative.

Specific to this book:

  • The only book focussing on non-State actors within the context of international humanitarian law
  • Includes chapters by both practitioners and scholars, thus combining theoretical discussions with the real-life challenges presented by non-State actors in international humanitarian law
  • Proposes a new way of thinking about non-State actors in and around armed conflicts, focussing on their various functions and interactions

With a foreword by Andrew Clapham, Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

Excerpt from a review:

There seems to have been a shift in the state-centric vision of international relations, following the increasing role of non-state actors (NSAs) on the international scene, particularly in the context of armed conflicts. Ezequiel Heffes, Marcos Kotlik and Manuel Ventura, editors of International Humanitarian Law and Non-State Actors, present through this collection of contributions an overview of legal issues arising from this new reality. The editors draw on their personal experience to explain how NSAs contribute to the development of international humanitarian law (IHL) and to suggest that in order to promote respect for IHL by all parties involved in an armed conflict, this new role should be given due consideration from a legal standpoint.
- Arnold, R. (2020). International Humanitarian Law and Non-State Actors: A Contradiction of Terms?: Review Essay of International Humanitarian Law and Non-State Actors (edited by Ezequiel Heffes, Marcos D Kotlik and Manuel J Ventura, 2020). Israel Law Review, 53(3), 409-430.

The full review is available here: doi:10.1017/S0021223720000163

Available for download

Front matter incl. toc
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