Event information

11 May 2023, 18:30-20:00
Register start 30 March 2023
Register end 11 May 2023


Flyer >

Duties to One's Own Population and Combatants in War: Is there an ‘Internal’ Jus in Bello?


Central African Republic,  Bangui. Soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Congo patrol the Multinational Force of Central African States - Central African Republic,  Bangui. Soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Congo patrol the Multinational Force of Central African States -

logo INTL LAW engl 2022 RGB color

International humanitarian law (IHL) is traditionally thought of as being about the ‘other’ side in the war, whether combatants or non-combatants. But what about the obligations to one’s own population?

In this talk – co-organized with the Geneva Graduate Institute Law Department –, Professor Frédéric Mégret will seek to excavate an understanding of IHL as partly about protecting one’s own population rather than minimizing harm to ‘other’ populations.

According to Professor Mégret, such an understanding makes more sense of some humanitarian prohibitions behind’ but also ‘close to’ the front line (e.g. not recruiting child soldiers; not placing military assets next to civilian installations). The judgment of the International Criminal Court convicting Ntaganda for sexual slavery against one's troops points to this emerging dimension from an international criminal law perspective. Still, its ramifications for our broader understanding of the regulation of war have barely been teased out. As it happens, the internal jus in bello is a quintessential but little-noticed area of convergence between international humanitarian and international human rights law ‘where it matters’.

Understanding and rehabilitating this dimension as a distinct species of thinking about wartime regulation can shine a light on genuine dilemmas of protection in a war that lawyers currently struggle to articulate, such as the duties one owes to safeguard the lives of one’s combatants versus the need to minimize harm to ‘other’ civilian populations.

About Frédéric Mégret

Frédéric Mégret is a Full Professor of Law and Dawson Scholar at the Faculty of Law at McGill University and the co-Director of its Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. He held the Canada Research Chair on the Law of Human Rights and Legal Pluralism from 2006 to 2015.

Before joining the University of McGill, Professor Mégret was an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto, a Boulton fellow at McGill University and a research associate at the European University Institute in Florence. He holds a PhD from the Université de Paris I and the (then) Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. His interests lie in the theoretical dimensions of international law, the laws of war, international criminal and transitional justice, and human rights.


Donbass, destruction before a building News

Our Experts and Resources on Ukraine

30 May 2023

Discover our resources and what our experts say about the situation in Ukraine, with regular updates to include new events, articles and comments!

Read more

Destroyed buildings in Yemen News

From the European Court of Human Rights to UN Human Rights Mechanisms: A Productive Start for the IHL Expert Pool

27 April 2023

Our new IHL Expert Pool began to position itself as a flexible tool that human rights mechanisms can rely on to increase their international humanitarian law (IHL) knowledge and to apply IHL in their work.

Read more

Peter Maurer Event

A Conversation with Peter Maurer

6 June 2023, 18:00-20:00

In a conversation with our Director Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Peter Maurer will share insights from his career as the former President of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Read more

Syria, Harasta, destroyed buildings Training

Advanced IHL Seminar for Academics and Policymakers

28 August - 1 September 2023

Organized by the Geneva Academy and the ICRC, the Advanced IHL seminar for academics and humanitarian policymakers aims to enhance the capacity of academics to teach and research IHL and contemporary issues arising during armed conflict, while also equipping policymakers with an in-depth understanding of ongoing legal debates and their relevance to decision-making.

Read more

A destroyed camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Khor Abeche, South Darfur, Project

Understanding the Relationship between Conflict, Security and the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment

Started in May 2023

This project will develop guidance to inform security, human rights and environmental debates on the linkages between environmental rights and conflict, and how their better management can serve as a tool in conflict prevention, resilience and early warning.

Read more

Screenshot of the RULAC webpage Project

Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts (RULAC)

Started in May 2007

The Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project (RULAC) is a unique online portal that identifies and classifies all situations of armed violence that amount to an armed conflict under international humanitarian law (IHL). It is primarily a legal reference source for a broad audience, including non-specialists, interested in issues surrounding the classification of armed conflicts under IHL.

Read more

Cover page of the research brief Publication

Climate Change in the Security Council: Obstacles, Opportunities, and Options

published on May 2023

Erica Harper, Adam Day

Read more

Cover page of the third-party intervention Publication

Third-Party Intervention: Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia

published on April 2023

Gloria Gaggioli, Francesco Romani

Read more