Interministerial Commission for Humanitarian Law


The CIDH/ICHR, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, plays an advisory role in the implementation of international law on armed conflict in Belgium.

Role and purpose

  • Identify and examine international measures for the implementation of international humanitarian law.
  • Put forward proposals to take these measures.
  • Ensure these proposals are monitored and coordinate them.
  • At own initiative or upon request, advise the Government on the application and development of international humanitarian law.

International humanitarian law

This branch of international law, which is still know as law of armed conflict or law of war, is a body of regulations aiming, on the one hand, to protect persons who, in wartime, do not take part in hostilities (civilians) or who no longer take part in hostilities (for example wounded soldiers or prisoners of war), and civil property on the other.

This law also regulates combat methods and means to prevent, reduce or even prohibit the use of weapons or combat methods which indiscriminately cause harm both to combatants and civilians, or which cause suffering beyond strict military need.

Organisation and make-up

The commission is placed under the umbrella of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, which runs the commission secretariat and, in collaboration with the ministries represented in the commission, provides it with various means of action (study days, publications, external representation, etc.)

The commission assembles representatives of the Federal Ministers which are principally concerned by the implementation of international humanitarian law. The Regions and Communities, as well as the three components of the Belgian Red Cross as an auxiliary to the public authorities (recognised by the statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, to which Belgium subscribes) are all permanently invited to take part in the commission’s works.