On Friday 4 June 2021, our former Teaching Assistant Alessandra Spadaro was awarded her PhD summa cum laude (avec félicitations du jury) from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies after defending her thesis before Professor Andrew Clapham (her supervisor), Professor Paola Gaeta, and Professor Sandesh Sivakumaran (from Cambridge University).
While most of the existing scholarship focuses only on security detention or internment by armed groups in non-international armed conflicts, Alessandra Spadaro’s thesis – titled ‘In the Hands of the Rebels: Detention by Armed Groups at the Limits of International Law’ – also studies the detentions of armed group members by their own group and criminal detentions for crimes related to the conflict as well as common crimes.
In her thesis, Alessandra Spadaro studies which international law standards must be respected in order to protect individuals from arbitrary deprivations of liberty and how to interpret and apply them, vis-à-vis armed groups. Her findings are distilled into ten basic principles that should guide any form of detention by armed groups and that are simultaneously realistic for armed groups to comply with and sufficiently protective from the perspective of the detained individuals.
‘I hope to publish my thesis as a monograph soon and to continue studying how armed groups and other non-state actors can comply with international law rules aimed at the protection of individuals and their fundamental rights, including in situations of armed conflict’ says Alessandra Spadaro.
Olivier Chamard/Geneva Academy>
Alessandra Spadaro worked as a Teaching Assistant at the Geneva Academy from February 2018 to February 2021, with a short break in 2019 when she spent a semester conducting research at Harvard Law School.
She assisted international criminal law (ICL) courses in our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and taught bi-weekly tutorials to our LLM students on ICL. Alessandra also assisted courses on international humanitarian law, international human rights law and ICL in our Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict.
‘I am very grateful to Professors Robert Roth, Marco Sassòli and Gloria Gaggioli, under whose directorships I served, for giving me the opportunity to work at the Geneva Academy, which allowed me to fund my PhD and offered a great environment to grow as a researcher and teacher’ underlines Alessandra Spadaro.
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This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, 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.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, 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.
Oliver Peters / Pixabay
The ‘Counter-Terror Pro LegEm’ project combines legal analysis with social science research to (1) examine the effectiveness of counterterrorism measures and their effects on human rights and (2) analyse the structure of terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda or the Islamic State and see whether they qualify as ‘organized armed groups’ for the purpose of international humanitarian law.
This project aims at compiling and analysing the practice and interpretation of selected international humanitarian law and human rights norms by armed non-state actors (ANSAs). It has a pragmatic double objective: first, to offer a comparative analysis of IHL and human rights norms from the perspective of ANSAs, and second, to inform strategies of humanitarian engagement with ANSAs, in particular the content of a possible ‘Model Code of Conduct’.