Our 2023 Annual Report

8 July 2024

The publication of the Geneva Academy 2023 Annual Report comes at a time when numerous conflicts persist worldwide, and the public trust in the promised protection of international humanitarian law and international human rights law is waning. In this climate the report demonstrates how through our principal activities of education, research, knowledge dissemination, and fostering connections and collaboration, we are able to uphold our shared values and reaffirm the importance of fulfilling international legal obligations.

In the foreword Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy, notes, ‘Seeing our esteemed faculty and committed colleagues fills me with confidence that together we can uphold the continued relevance of the international legal frameworks we specialize in. With the support of our parent institutions – the University of Geneva and the Geneva Graduate Institute – as well as the growing list of essential donors and invaluable partners, we are actively addressing this challenge of our times.’

Some 2023 Highlights

Below are a sample of the highlights of our 2023 Annual Report, which detail our key achievements and output through the year in our master’s programmes, executive education, research, Geneva Human Rights Platform and participation in key processes and discussions on international humanitarian law, human rights and transitional justice.

Our Experts and Resources on Israel and Palestine

The ongoing crisis in the Middle East has intensified with the Al-Aqsa Flood attack by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, followed by Israel's Iron Sword operation. Since this surge in violence, our experts, faculty, research, and events have focused on illuminating the legal issues and challenges associated with this conflict. Articles and interviews featuring expert views are regularly updated on a dedicated page on the Geneva Academy website, complementing a similar page covering the war in Ukraine.

Dr Clotilde Pégorier Joins the Geneva Academy as the New Head of Education

In April, Dr Clotilde Pégorier became our new Head of Education, overseeing our three master's programs, executive education, and heading our Student Office. With previous experience as a law lecturer at the University of Essex, where she co-directed an international double degree programme, Dr Pégorier brings valuable expertise in directing and managing master's programmes. Her background also includes substantial knowledge in international criminal law, human rights, transitional justice, and interdisciplinary studies at the intersection of law and the arts.

New Research on Neurotechnology and Human Rights

Our novel research project explores the intersection of neurotechnology and human rights and examines the implications arising from the commercial, non-therapeutic use of neurotechnology. Conducted in collaboration with the University of Geneva Neurocentre and the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, it is a key component of our broader focus on digitalization and new technologies.

Third-Party Intervention in the European Court of Human Rights in the Case Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia

We are intervening as a third party in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia along with 26 governments. Our third-party intervention reflects on salience of this case and focuses on major IHL questions that the Court will need to address. These encompass the extraterritorial application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in an international armed conflict, the relationship between the ECHR and international legal norms governing recourse to armed force between states (jus ad bellum), and the interplay between the ECHR and IHL.

Geneva Human Rights Platform Conference moves to New York UN Headquarters

Following four editions in Geneva, this year's annual flagship event of our Geneva Human Rights Platform took place in New York. It focused, via a series of panel discussions, on the need to bridge the gap between Geneva-based human rights mechanisms and the UN headquarters and explored concrete avenues to do so notably in relation to UN accountability mechanisms and the protection of children during armed conflicts.

Travelling to the Pacific for the Last UN Treaty Bodies Follow-Up Review Pilot

Following the UN human rights treaty body (TB) follow-up reviews in Sierra Leone and Grenada, a third and concluding Geneva Human Rights Platform pilot review occurred in December in Fiji with the participation of three Pacific Small Island Developing States: Fiji, Tonga, and Vanuatu. The objective of these pilots was to assess a novel follow-up format to TB recommendations at the national or regional levels, aiming to make the system more pertinent, responsive, and closely connected to rights holders and duty bearers. Co-organized in collaboration with the Pacific Community and the Commonwealth Secretariat, and with the backing of the Government of Fiji, this final trial concentrated on the implementation of the latest recommendations from the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Unpacking the Potential of Digital Human Rights Tracking Tools and Databases

Targeted research, exchanges among experts and a dedicated directory – all launched in 2023 – aim at unpacking and developing the potential of new digital human rights tracking tools and databases to ensure human rights implementation at the national level. By identifying good practices, addressing questions of accessibility or interoperability, this initiative of our Geneva Human Rights Platform aims at accompanying the development of these tools and unpacking their potential for human rights monitoring and implementation.

2023 in Figures

37 staff

37 professors and lecturers

1 Chairs

3 master’s programmes

115 students from 53 countries

29 scholarships

More than 1,300 alumni

25 training and short courses attended by more than 300 participants

11 research projects around 4 priority areas

14 publications

10 initiatives of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

More than 80 events

More than 60 partnerships

Volker Turk with Geneva Academy banner

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