12 August 2019
The Geneva Conventions turn 70 today. As an academic institution, we work every day to uphold knowledge of and respect for international humanitarian law (IHL) and thus protect people affected by armed conflicts.
In the heart of international Geneva, at Villa Moynier – which was the property of Gustave Moynier, one of the founders and the first President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – we train young people, experts and practitioners, inform policy via cutting-edge legal research and policy studies, and organize events and expert meeting to discuss topical IHL issues and challenges.
While 70 years have passed, the Geneva Conventions still constitute the cornerstone of our work on IHL.
In this opinion piece, our Director, Professor Marco Sassòli, notably recalls the role of the Geneva Academy in disseminating the basic messages of the Geneva Conventions and in clarifying their meaning in contemporary circumstances. He also addresses the current lack of an implementation mechanism that would enhance respect for IHL.
Every year, we train via our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict around 60 young people and 25 practitioners in IHL and the protection afforded by the Geneva Conventions to people affected by armed conflicts.
Our research examines IHL issues that are under-explored or need clarification and thus advances the understanding and stimulates debate in the academic community and in policy-making institutions and government. Our findings regularly inform policy recommendations and support practitioners working on IHL and humanitarian action and diplomacy.
Today, the ICRC published an anniversary highlight with examples we elaborated that illustrate the impact of the Geneva Conventions since their adoption. These examples form part of the ICRC online casebook to which our LLM students and our Director, Professor Marco Sassòli, regularly contribute.
Our collaboration with the ICRC goes well beyond this online casebook and includes collaborations around our research, events, training courses for academics and Geneva-based diplomats, as well as internships for our LLM students.
We regularly convene expert meetings, seminars, conferences and events which provide a critical and scholarly forum for experts and practitioners to discuss and debate topical IHL issues and challenges.
Our experts are also regularly invited to provide advice to governments, international organizations and international courts and tribunals on key IHL topics.
Our Strategic Adviser on IHL, Dr Annyssa Bellal, has for instance been invited to brief tomorrow the UN Security Council in New York on the Geneva Conventions.
As every year and in the framework of the IHL core course given by Professor Marco Sassòli, 16 students of our LLM in IHL and Human Rights pleaded on the 2014 armed conflict in and around Gaza.
This annual conference co-organized with the University of Essex provides a space for experts and practitioners, diplomats, academics, young scholars and civil society representatives to discuss contemporary legal issues in armed conflict.
After having followed this online short course, participants will know who the protected persons and goods are and what rules of IHL can be used for their protection in an international armed conflict. An overview of the rules applicable in non-international armed conflicts will also be given.
UN Photo/Manuel Elias
This online short course provides an introduction to the regime of sanctions under international law and their effectiveness in addressing contemporary forms of conflict. It addresses the questions related to state responsibility, the pacific settlement of international disputes and the role of the International Court of Justice.
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.
This project addresses the human rights implications stemming from the development of neurotechnology for commercial, non-therapeutic ends, and is based on a partnership between the Geneva Academy, the Geneva University Neurocentre and the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.