Also published in International law studies, Vol. 87, 2011, p. 463-480
Asymmetric warfare is far from being unprecedented and the law of armed conflict has either been adapted to forms of asymmetric warfare or it has remained unmodified despite asymmetries. However it has become increasingly difficult to cope with certain forms of asymmetric warfare. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to develop strategies that enable States and their armed forces to adequately respond to asymmetric warfare. The present paper focuses on situations of armed conflict - either of an international or of a non-international character - and not on situations that do not qualify as an armed conflict although armed forces are engaged in military operations against "asymmetric actors". While the law of armed conflict will not be applicable to such situations this does not mean that public international law is silent on that matter.