Philippe Sands, Professor of Law at University College London and practising barrister at Matrix Chambers, was invited by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and the Geneva Academy for a public conference to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Genocide Convention.
The lecture closed a scientific symposium co-organized by the Department of International History of the Graduate Institute and the Geneva Academy, which brought together jurists and historians to debate and confront critical approaches and views on the UDHR.
Building upon his research on two prominent founders of contemporary international law (Hersch Lauterpacht and Raphael Lemkin) and his own family’s experience, Philippe Sands explained how, starting from the Nuremberg Trials of 1945-1946, international law has developed by protecting at the same time the individual (according to Lauterpacht's vision) and the group, with the success of Lemkin's endeavour towards a convention on the prevention and prohibition of genocide.
‘The ideas and endeavours of Lauterpacht and Lemkin influenced politics, history, culture, my life and yours’, said Professor Sands. ‘The concepts of ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide’ have entered our world, although many are under the impression that they have existed since time immemorial. They have not: both are the product of creative and inventive minds, two men driven by their own experiences forged on the anvil of a single city.’
This public lecture by Professor Philippe Sands, which closed the public symposium on ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Seventy: Historical and Juridical Perspectives’, examined, from the Nuremberg Trials until now, the development of international law.
Our expert seminar, co-organized with the Government of Switzerland, the Permanent Mission of Bolivia to the United Nations in Geneva, and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, discussed the implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.
Our new publication examines how the right to life is affected by law enforcement agencies’ use of force and identifies how the HRC could further promote respect for international standards governing policing.
Truth Commissions are by now an integral part of the transitional justice vocabulary and practice. The 2019 Spring School will provide a comprehensive, multidimensional and practical examination of this transitional justice mechanism, shedding light on both its aims and the practical challenges it has met or is likely to meet.
This short course analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.
This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.
Sandra Pointet / Geneva Academy
The digital age offers unique opportunities to strengthen human rights implementation and monitoring and has transformed the means through which human rights are exercised. Equally, the digital age poses unique challenges in ensuring that states and businesses respect and protect our rights in the digital forum. The full extent of the human rights implications of the digital age remain unknown.