16 September 2019
Investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) by the parties to an armed conflict are not only crucial to securing respect for IHL, but also to preventing future violations and enabling redress for victims of past violations. Despite the unquestionable importance of investigations, there is a lack of detail with regard to the international law, principles and standards relevant to investigations in armed conflicts. This is further reflected in the disparate practice across States in the way investigations are carried out. These Guidelines aim to bring much needed clarity and support for the conduct of effective investigations into violations of IHL.
The Guidelines are the result of a five-year project, initiated in 2014 by the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and joined in 2017 by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The resulting publication is based on extensive research and is also informed by a series of expert workshops and engagement with stakeholders. The 16 Guidelines are each accompanied by a detailed commentary and provide guidance on the different aspects of investigations into violations of IHL, from the early stages of recording information and identifying the incidents that require investigation, through to the structural and procedural aspects of investigative bodies. The text presents a basis for the conduct of effective investigations, while taking into account the diverse legal and military systems that exist, as well as the legal and practical challenges that can arise.
These Guidelines are an essential tool not only for States aiming to conduct investigations of IHL violations in compliance with international law, but also for other bodies and individuals seeking a more detailed understanding of investigations in armed conflict.
The Guidelines will be launched in a series of events, notably one on 10 October in New York during the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.
Olivier Chamard / Geneva Academy
Our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights is one of the most innovative and intellectually challenging programmes in international humanitarian law and human rights offered in Europe today.
Marie-Charlotte Beaudry works as a Human Rights Officer/Women Protection Advisor at the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in Bangui. She tells us about the programme and what it brought to her career.
This event, co-organized with the ATLAS Network will feature prominent women in international law. Coming from different professional backgrounds, they will share their experience and advice through an interactive discussion.
This short course discusses the protection offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) and addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.
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.
Several ad hoc fact-finding and inquiry commissions have been established to assess some of the most serious situations of human rights and humanitarian law violations across the world. With such mechanisms gaining influence, the question arises of whether a minimum formal standard of proof (or degree of certainty) exists or is required when such bodies adjudicate on such serious matters.