Islam & International Humanitarian Law

With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the SU Humanities Center, the Islam and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) project examines from multiple perspectives the role of Islam and Shari’a plays in IHL and how these perspectives contribute to the regulation of international conflicts, civil wars, asymmetric warfare, and human rights. Information on the project’s international workshops, published research, and network of scholars and practitioners can be found at the online portal Islam, Law, and War.

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In Memoriam 

INSCT mourns the loss of one of its closest collaborators and a great friend. M. Cherif Bassiouni’s wisdom and compassion will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. To read the Chicago Sun-Times obituary for Cherif, click here.


Islam & IHL Dashboard  Islam, Law, & War (Project Portal)

Islam & IHL is an effort to direct global attention toward bridging the gap between Islamic law and the laws of armed conflict, in pursuit of a reformed, comprehensive, and modern humanitarian law. Analysis arising from this project engages a larger community of practitioners and scholars in understanding the relationship between IHL and Islamic law for internationally viable approaches to present-day asymmetric warfare challenges, including:

Islam and IHL Workshop
Islam & IHL Workshop, Syracuse University, April 2009.
  • Attacks by non-state entities against sovereign state
  • Transnational conflicts
  • Human shielding (“perfidy” under Article 147 of the Geneva Convention IV)
  • Shielding soldiers among civilian populations
  • Deliberate and direct targeting of civilians
  • Forced displacement and the creation of refugees
  • Mistreatment of detained persons
  • Failure of belligerents to respect and prevent IHL violations
  • The fate of disempowered states in conflict settings
  • Lack of standardized approaches to IHL

We are committed to building an international network of scholars, legal analysts, policymakers, and humanitarian practitioners to enhance the ongoing global dialogue concerning reform of the laws of war.

Project Publications


NBOL_Book Banks, W. “Toward an Adaptive International Humanitarian Law: New Norms for New Battlefields.” In New Battlefields/Old Laws: Critical Debates on Asymmetric Warfare. Ed. William C. Banks. New York: Columbia UP, 2011.Zoli, C. “Humanizing Irregular Warfare: Framing Compliance for Nonstate Armed Groups at the Intersection of Security and Legal Analyses.” In New Battlefields/Old Laws: Critical Debates on Asymmetric Warfare. Ed. William C. Banks. New York: Columbia UP, 2011.
Counterinsurgency_Law_Book Banks, W. “Shaping a Global Legal Framework for Counterinsurgency: Placing Postmodern War in Context.” In Counterinsurgency Law: New Directions in Asymmetric Warfare. Ed. William Banks. New York: Oxford UP, 2013.
Bassiouni_Book Bassiouni, M.C. The Shari’a and Islamic Criminal Justice in Time of War and Peace. New York: Cambridge UP, 2013.

Articles, Working Papers, & Presentations

Islam & IHL Workshop

April 17, 2009 | Syracuse University

Workshop Overview & Topics
Essays & Abstracts
Bibliography & Research Essays
Related University Centers & Institutes

Project Sponsors


Support for this initiative is generously provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, in conjunction with the Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor.

Project Partners

USIP Logo The US Institute of Peace’s (USIP) Rule of Law Center, which develops strategies for policymakers and practitioners to promote the rule of law in fragile and post-conflict societies.
ISISC_Logo International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences (ISISC), a not-for-profit foundation that has been a major contributor to the development of more effective criminal justice systems worldwide, and in the strengthening of respect for human rights and the Rule of Law. ISISC focuses on education, training and research in the fields of international and comparative criminal justice and human rights.
harvard-shield Harvard University’s International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative (IHLRI), a central resource for the reaffirmation and development of international humanitarian law based at the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Contact Contact
Corri Zoli, Director of Research | 315.443.4523