The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law

« Calling things by the wrong name adds to the affliction of the world. » Albert Camus.


Peace describes the state of society when disputes are not solved through the threat or use of armed force and when public order is respected. Peace is sometimes defined as the absence of war. This does not mean that tensions and conflicts do not exist but that they may be solved through pacific means, through the UN or regional organizations, or by having recourse to arbitration or to the good offices of mediators. The UN Charter establishes a mechanism for collective security whose aim is the peaceful settlement of disputes.

In times of peace, both domestic and international law are applicable as foreseen, including international conventions for the protection of human rights. Humanitarian law is not applicable in such times.

Cease-fireCollective securityHuman rightsInternal disturbances and tensionsPeacekeepingPublic orderSecurity Council of the UNUnited NationsWar

For Additional Information: Boutros-Ghali, Boutros. An Agenda for Peace . New York: United Nations, 1992.

———. Supplement to an Agenda for Peace . New York: United Nations, 1995.

Dutli, Maria Teresa. “Implementation of International Humanitarian Law—Activities of Qualified Personnel in Peacetime.” International Review of the Red Cross 292 (January–February 1993): 5–11.