Rules of IHL Applicable to the Conduct of Military Operations in Urban Areas

International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative
May 2004
Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research

Urban warfare constitutes one of the most serious threats to the security and integrity of civilians in times of war. It represents, consequently, one of the most challenging areas of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in practice. This note reviews the rules of IHL applicable to the conduct of hostilities in urban environments, and identifies key legal provisions desgned to enhance the protection of civilians in these areas.