LLM Students Develop Practical Cases for the ICRC on How IHL Applies in Armed Conflict

View of the ICRC Headquarters View of the ICRC Headquarters

21 July 2020

Two students enrolled in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights – Marishet Mohammed Hamza from Ethiopia and Virginia Raffaeli from Italy – developed for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) online casebook How does Law Protect in War? 26 practical cases that show how international humanitarian law (IHL) applies in contemporary armed conflicts.

This online casebook provides more than 300 case studies from around the work that discuss a variety of IHL topics and show how IHL applies. Our Director Professor Marco Sassòli is one of the authors, along with our alumna Anne Quintin, Julia Grignon and Antoine Bouvier.

An Integral Part of the LLM

This work – supervised by Marco Sassòli and Pavle Kilibarda, Teaching Assistant at the Geneva Academy – forms an integral part of the LLM that allows students to pursue internships with leading actors in the field of IHL and human rights during the second semester.

‘This internship – offered every year to two LLM students – allows them to look at contemporary cases and reflect on IHL challenges and applications in armed conflicts. It is also the occasion for them to summarize complex cases for an audience that includes students, teachers and practitioners around the world and to ask questions from an IHL perspective’ explains Marco Sassòli.

As for other internships carried our students this year, this work proved to be particularly challenging due to the COVID-19 crisis as students could only meet each other and their supervisors in person once at the beginning of the internship.

‘This being said, our students managed to overcome this challenge and managed to submit a very good work in time’ says Marco Sassòli.

Looking at Contemporary Contexts

The cases developed by our two students look at contemporary contexts such as Afghanistan, Cameroon, Colombia, Libya, Mexico, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria, the US and Yemen.

They address questions like the classification of situations in IHL; the beginning and the resumption of an armed conflict; airstrikes on drug-processing facilities, on migration detention facilities and on refugee camps; war crimes; the treatment of persons with disabilities; or the status and obligations of armed groups.

‘The cases provided to the ICRC are of high quality. They will be now submitted at the ICRC to an internal validation process evaluating whether the cases used, though drawn from public sources, may be prejudicial to the humanitarian dialogue of the ICRC with the States concerned’ underlines Marco Sassòli.

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