IHL in Focus Featured at the 2024 European Humanitarian Forum

25 March 2024

Our new research project IHL in Focuslaunched at the beginning of the year – has been presented and discussed at the 2024 European Humanitarian Forum, a major yearly event convened by the European Union focusing on prominent humanitarian issues and challenges.

In his closing remarks, the European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič – in charge of European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid – welcomed the ‘new independent initiative IHL in Focus’, underlying the need for efficient monitoring and reporting of IHL infringements in a context where the rising defiance of IHL is putting at risk both people in need and humanitarian workers.

Responding to the Need for a Global Overview of the State of IHL

Our Director Professor Gloria Gaggioli intervened on the panel ‘(Dis)respecting International Humanitarian Law in today’s armed conflicts: monitoring and reporting’ and underscored the need for collecting credible data about violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) on a global scale and for offering an impartial and solid analysis of belligerents’ behaviour under IHL.

‘Our IHL in Focus project precisely aims at fulfilling these needs by providing tools to ensure a global overview of the state of IHL. Very concretely, our project will do so through the publication of a Global Annual Report on IHL violations that will analyse all situations of violence amounting to armed conflicts under international law to determine the existence of credible allegations of IHL violations’ underlines Gloria Gaggioli.

‘Coupled with spot reports on specific IHL themes and situations, this will provide states, international organizations, NGOs and academics with tools of IHL analysis that are independent, impartial and conducted according to the highest academic standards to support IHL advocacy and humanitarian diplomacy to increase respect with IHL’ she adds.

Revealing the Main Contours of the Global Annual Report

In her intervention, Professor Gaggioli detailed the main contours of the Global Annual Report, its methodology and the need to avoid double standards to ensure the universality, legitimacy and credibility of IHL-related initiatives.

‘The Global Annual Report will provide an overview of potential IHL violations committed by belligerent parties at the macro level. As such, we will not focus on individual criminal responsibility or investigate war crimes or other international crimes to attribute responsibility to specific individuals. The core objective of the project is to identify and signal credible allegations of IHL violations that states or commissions of inquiry could further investigate explains’ Gloria Gaggioli.

‘It is also important to understand that this project is not a naming and shaming exercise but a data-driven or evidence-based analytical exercise that will allow identifying trends of violations globally, in certain regions or by certain actors. Last but not least, the Global Annual Report will draw attention to violations occurring in armed conflicts that are not high on the international community's agenda. Indeed, avoiding double standards is our priority and an absolute necessity to ensure the universality, legitimacy and credibility of IHL-related initiatives’ she adds.

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