The International Institute of Humanitarian Law, Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, San Remo, 1994

The San Remo Manual^ was prepared during the period 1988—94 by a group of legal and naval experts participating in their personal capacity in a series of Round Tables convened by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] The ICRC supported the project and played a major role throughout. Apart from co-organizing the meetings held in Geneva, it offered its advice to the Institute throughout the process, coordinated the drafting work, and helped contribute to the administrative and secretarial work. The ICRC also convened three meetings of the rapporteurs, whose reports were the basis of discussion in the annual meetings, in order to organize the drafting of the explanations to the manuals7

The purpose of the San Remo Manual was to draw up a statement of contemporary international law applicable to international armed conflicts at sea. Pursuant to the ICRC, the manual includes a few provisions that might be considered progressive developments in the law. However, most of its provisions are considered to state the law that is currently applicable, that is, as an expression of customary international law.38

There are no references to human rights norms and human rights do not seem to have been reflected in the Manual. It is mentioned in the introduction to the Manual that: ‘Although this Manual does not deal with human rights law as such, it should be noted that such law continues to apply, subject to any derogations made under applicable treaties.^9

  • [1] The Manual can be found here: .
  • [2] 36 The International Institute of Humanitarian Law is an independent, non-profit humanitarianorganization founded in 1970. The main purpose of the Institute is to promote IHL, particularlythrough training, organizing international seminars, and undertaking research.
  • [3] L. Doswald-Beck, ‘San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts atSea’, International Review of the Red Cross vol. 31 (Dec. 1995): 1.
  • [4] See the ICRCs description of the Manual here: .
  • [5] ICRC Description of the San Remo Manual, .
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