Our new publication Gang Violence in Colombia, Mexico and El Salvador analyses three case studies of countries – Colombia, Mexico and El Salvador – that have stood out for their elevated rate of violence, violent homicides and criminal activities linked to confrontations between state forces and armed gangs or between armed gangs themselves.
‘These countries are severely scourged by the expansion of the phenomena of urban gangs, gang violence and organized crime’ underlines Dr Annyssa Bellal, Strategic Adviser on International Humanitarian Law at the Geneva Academy. ‘Violence is unprecedented not only in terms of number of casualties, but also in the form it takes. In such settings, the civilian population has been and still is subject to extortion, confinement, forced displacement, gender-based violence and recruitment of minors’ she adds.
For each country, the authors – Ana Balcazar Moreno, Ximena Mercedes Galvez Lima, Julie Lambin and Lina Rodriguez – provide an overview of the violence in the country and impact on the civilian population; an overview of the main gangs involved in the violence, their tactics, structure and levels of organization; and an analysis of the states’ responses.
‘What is really striking is that the number of civilian casualties linked to gangs’ violence and states’ responses to this violence might exceed those of major current armed conflicts’ stresses Annyssa Bellal. ‘While this article does not discuss the qualification of these violent situations under international law, it highlights the heavy weaponry used by armed gangs, the fact that some of them control sizeable territory and have the ability to conduct military operations, as well as the frequent involvement of the military in the repression’ she adds.
This publication will form part, along with other analysis of conflict situations, of the War Report 2017 which will be published at the beginning of 2018.
Olivier Chamard / Geneva Academy
Gloria Gaggioli has been appointed Swiss National Fund (SNF) Professor at the Law Faculty of the University of Geneva where she will lead a four-year research project on ‘Preventing and Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism: Towards an Empirico-Legal Approach’.
The President of the UN Human Rights Council appointed Professor Andrew Clapham to serve as a member of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan charged with monitoring and assessing the human rights situation in the country.
Un Photo/Violaine Martin
This panel will focus on the practicalities of how international humanitarian law is used and the role it plays in the work of the UN human rights machinery.
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 focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.
Launched in 2016, this project aimed to identify whether, to what extent and under what circumstances armed non-state actors incur obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights (HR) law.
UN Photo/Stuart Price
This project aims at mapping various existing accountability mechanisms, in the context of military interventions, through the lens of the requirements of a transitional justice process in order to identify possibilities and gaps.