International humanitarian law (IHL) is one of the oldest areas of international law and can be found in every culture and community across the centuries.2 International humanitarian law can be defined as a branch of international law that limits the use of violence in armed conflict by protecting those who do not or no longer directly participate in hostilities.3 International humanitarian law also limits the methods and means of warfare, meaning it places restrictions upon weapons and tactics that may be used in the fighting.4 Furthermore, the IHL regime restricts the amount of force used to what is necessary to achieve the military aim.5 From both a practical and a theoretical point of view, no discussion on issues relating to the protection of civilians can avoid reflecting upon IHL This chapter aims to explore the role of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in IHL; it then briefly exposes the reader to the broader debate within the humanitarian sector on mechanisms to increase the protection of civilians and finally undertakes a case study of the important study by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on finding a definition for ‘direct participation in hostilities’. It concludes that whilst there continue to be challenges with ensuring the current IHL system

1 The authors would like to sincerely thank Mr William Taylor for his research and assistance with this chapter. All views are those of the authors and do not represent the Australian Red Cross in any way.