Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms

Completed in December 2021

Beyond the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), international humanitarian law (IHL) lacks mechanisms to effectively ensure its own compliance. Such structural flaw of its system prompted a general recourse to the better-equipped human rights machinery, even if the opportuneness of this tendency has long been – and remains – debated in both intergovernmental and scholarly forums.

If some human rights mechanisms provide unique opportunities for victims affected by armed conflict (such as individual complaints before universal and regional treaty bodies), others remain criticized for being inherently political, too slow to deal with violations, or disconnected from the realities of conflict, thus antagonizing important military stakeholders.

This research project – carried out by Emilie Max – examined how IHL could be more systematically, appropriately, and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the UN Charter, as well as from universal and regional treaties.

NEWS

Emilie Max at her desk at the Geneva Academy News

Meet our Researchers: Émilie Max

20 January 2020

Émilie Max is one of our researchers. She tells us about her background, the research projects she works on and why she decided to work in this field.

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A session of the UN Human Rights Committtee at Palais Wilson News

New Paper Discusses IHL Implementation through Human Rights Mechanisms

31 October 2019

After a reminder on mechanisms established by the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their additional Protocols of 1977, the paper summarily frames the relationship between IHL and international human rights law and assess the competence and practice of political mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well as of universal and regional treaty-based mechanisms.

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OUTPUT

Towards an IHL Expert Pool

The research piloted the creation of an IHL expert pool at the service of universal and/or regional treaty-based human rights mechanisms to be hosted at the Geneva Academy. Experts participating in this pool would share their knowledge and experiences in order to provide advice/guidance notably to UN treaty bodies  – notably through amicus curiae, public positions and comments of drafts – depending on the avenues foreseen in the relevant human rights treaties.

Framing the Issue and Identifying Lessons Learned

The Working Paper Implementing International Humanitarian Law through Human Rights Mechanisms: Opportunity or Utopia? identifies lessons learned from the practice of human rights mechanisms in order to assist stakeholders – especially States – in potentially adopting a coherent and systematized positioning vis-à-vis the implementation of IHL by such mechanisms

Publications

Cover of the publication

Implementing International Humanitarian Law Through Human Rights Mechanisms: Opportunity Or Utopia?

October 2019

Émilie Max

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Past Events

The role of human rights mechanisms in implementing international humanitarian law

13-14 November 2019

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Portrait of Charlotte Voley News

MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: What our Alumni Say

17 January 2022

Charlotte Volet works as a Programme Officer at Lawyers Without Borders Canada in Québec City, where she contributes to the operationalization of projects in Honduras and Colombia.

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Webpage of the Emerging Voices Edition of the International Review of the Red Cross News

Ten Alumni Featured in the New Edition of the International Review of the Red Cross on Emerging Voices

16 December 2021

Ten alumni – six from our LLM in IHL and Human Rights and two from our MAS in Transitional Justice – published an article in the new edition of the International Review of the Red Cross that features emerging voices in the field of humanitarian law, policy and action.

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Soldier holding a rifle Event

The Wagner Group: Options for Justice

9 June 2022, 18:00-19:30

This IHL Talk aims at clarifying the relevant frameworks of responsibility for the crimes committed by the Wagner troops.

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Wheat field Event

UNDROP in the Future EU Seed Marketing Reform: The Perspective of Italy

6 June 2022, 14:00-15:30

This online bilingual workshop, held in English and Italian, aims to raise awareness about the upcoming changes to the European Union (EU) seed marketing legislation and what this reform means in the Italian context.

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A general view of participants during of the 33nd ordinary session of the Human Rights Council. Training

The Universal Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights System: Raising the Bar on Accountability

7-11 November 2022

This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.

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Plastic pollution on an Italian shore Project

Towards a Better Protection of the Right to a Healthy Environment

Started in January 2022

This research aims at mainstreaming the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and the protection it affords in the work of the UN Human Rights Council, its Special Procedures and Universal Periodic Review, as well as in the work of the UN General Assembly and UN treaty bodies.

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Panel Discussion: Project

Treaty Body Members’ Platform

Started in January 2014

The Treaty Body Members’ Platform connects experts in UN treaty bodies with each other as well as with Geneva-based practitioners, academics and diplomats to share expertise, exchange views on topical questions and develop synergies.

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Cover of the publication Publication

Regulating business conduct in the technology sector gaps and ways forward in applying the UNGPs

published on April 2022

Ana Beduschi, Isabel Ebert

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