International Humanitarian Law: Legal Aspects of War

Humanitarian law sources and guides

Contemporary Materials in the Mabie Law Library

OSCAR, the Santa Clara libary catalog, lists materials in both the Mabie Law Library and Santa Clara's University Library. Check the LOCATION in each OSCAR record to find out in which of the two libaries the material is shelved.

To locate materials on the law of war/international humanitarian law, try using the following SUBJECT searches in OSCAR:

  • Law of War
  • Humanitarian Law
  • War (International Law)
  • War Victims -- Legal status, laws, etc.
  • Humanitarian Assistance

For additional subject terms, consider consulting the Library of Congress Subject Headings volumes, on the dictionary stand near the public access computers in the law library.

OSCAR is primarily composed of print titles, although there are links to the main pages of SCU database subscriptions and to some free internet resources. OneSearch -- SCU's Discovery System -- allows you to search SCU database subscriptions as well as print materials. In OneSearch, you will be able to find articles on your research topic, although not all of the articles available via LexisNexis and Westlaw.

In addition to OSCAR, use the Journals and Law Reviews databases in LexisNexis and Westlaw to research the law of war/international humanitarian law.

You can also research legal topics using one of the legal periodical indices, such as the Index to Legal Periodicals and the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals.

Because the United Nations is a good source of current information about the law of war, you may also want to search one of the indices devoted specifically to UN materials: UNBisnet, the United Nations Official Document System, General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions and Declarations, etc. The Mabie Law Library also subscribes to AccessUN, which lists many UN Documents and has some in full text, and to the Hein Online United Nations Law Collection.

Historical Materials Available in Print and Online

The Mabie Law Library includes many historical texts on the law of war. However, much of this historical material is also available on SCU databases:

Hugo Grotius, De Jure Belli ac Pacis (On the Law of War and Peace)
online  (18th C. Collections) and in print
Emer de Vattel, Le Droit des Gens (The Law of Nations)
online (The Making of Modern Law) and in print
Alberico Gentili, De Jure Belli Libri Tres (Three Books on the Law of War)
online (Hein Online) and in print

and for rules and practice, see
Customary International Humanitarian Law 
(Henckaerts and Doswald-Beck)
which is also available at the ICRC website

Journal Literature

Some serials are exclusively devoted to the Law of War, such as:

International Law of War Journal

International Review of the Red Cross

Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies

Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law

However, many articles on the law of war / international humanitarian law topics will be found in law reviews and legal journals. To search for the latter, use OneSearch, LexisNexis, Westlaw, the Index to Legal Periodicals and Books, the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals, etc. There are links to these legal indices from the Mabie Law Library webpage.

Also, consider searching the Legal Scholarship Network on SSRN which includes many recent articles, some of which have already been published in legal journals.

Heafey Law Library Research Team