On 29 and 30 June 2017 the Geneva Academy, in collaboration with the University of Essex, held the first Conference on Current Issues in Armed Conflicts. The Conference gathered students, practitioners and diplomats. Its main objective was to offer the possibility to discuss the legal and policy issues that have arisen in the past and current year in relation to armed conflicts situations. Its content was modelled after the 2016 War Report.
Professor Marco Sassòli (University of Geneva) opened the conference with a keynote speech on the challenges related to the implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL). It was followed by a discussion led by Dr Krisztina Huszti-Orban and Jelena Aparac on the issue of consent as an element to address to qualify a situation as an international or a non-international armed conflict.
On the evening of 29 of June, a Special Panel on Libya, organized as an IHL Talk in collaboration with the Geneva Centre on Security Policy (GCSP), gathered Elham Saudi, Director of the NGO Lawyers for Justice in Libya and Jean-Paul Rouiller, an expert on terrorism. Panelists discussed the political and legal situation in the country, including the presence of numerous armed groups and different entities claiming governance functions.
The next day, Cornelius Wouters from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Professor Geoff Gilbert (University of Essex) addressed the latest developments in refugee law, notably the UNHCR guidelines on the implementation of the Refugee Convention. Professor Sabine Michalowski (University of Essex), Catalina Diaz, (Director of the Transitional Justice Unit, Colombian Ministry of Justice) and Dr Annyssa Bellal discussed in the following panel the recent peace agreement between the armed group FARC and Colombia which ended the 60 year long conflict , focussing on transitional justice with regard to private companies and armed groups.
The afternoon of the second day addressed the latest developments in international criminal law. Dr Guido Acquaviva (Deputy Register, Kosovo Special Chambers) offered to the audience an analysis of the most noteworthy case law of the main international criminal courts and tribunals, while Dr Sharon Weill (Swiss National Science Foundation) addressed the delicate and complex issue of the trial of ‘foreign fighters’ in France.
The Conference ended with a panel on the protection of civilians. David Tuck (International Committee of the Red Cross) and Eric Mongelard (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) discussed how IHL and human rights law address the increasing impact of current armed conflicts on the civilian population, in particular how the respect of the various rules on conduct of hostilities and of economic, social and cultural rights could be improved in light of the recent long sieges of cities (such as in Syria and Iraq).
In 2017, 55 situations of armed violence amounted to armed conflicts according to the definitions under international humanitarian law and international criminal law. The vast majority were non-international armed conflicts, as in preceding years. The analysis highlights two salient features: the multiplication of armed non-state actors and unprecedented casualties linked to armed gang violence.
Giles Duley will travel to five case study states – Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palestine, Ukraine and Vietnam – to document and tell the stories of persons with disabilities during and following armed conflict.
This public lecture by Philippe Sands QC, Professor of Law, University College London, will close the public symposium on ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Seventy: Historical and Juridical Perspectives’.
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.
This short course will focus on five particular categories of challenges of international criminal justice: legal or normative, investigative and evidential, political, the defence, and the legacy.
Medical Aid for Palestinians / Ezz Al Zanoon
This project aims to ensure better protection of and assistance for persons with disabilities in situations of armed conflict or its aftermath by identifying legal obligations to protect and assist persons with disabilities during conflict, and the policies and practices required to put these obligations into effect.
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’.